|Creeping Raspberry, Rubus hayata-koidzumii in a partially-to-mostly shady spot beneath a large crape myrtle tree. In shady areas, Creeping Raspberry seems to spread faster with less mounding.
UPDATE 4/9/14 - This may be evergreen in warmer climates, but in USDA zone 6/7, after a winter with a low temperature of -2 Fahrenheit, it seems to have died back to the roots and is only now emerging slowly as an herbaceous perennial. It may yet make a good perennial, but gardeners in the colder parts of zone 7 and anywhere in zone 6 should probably not expect Creeping Raspberry to serve as a reliably evergreen groundcover.
UPDATE 3/4/15 - This plant has since been shovel-pruned from Garden of Aaron. Click here to find out why.
Creeping Raspberry (a.k.a. Rubus hayata-koidzumii or formerly Rubus calycinoides)
- Evergreen foliage. Always a plus in a groundcover. Plus I'm head-over-heals for this particular foliage, which is charmingly scalloped and crinkly and fuzzy.
- Spreads at a good pace, by which I mean that I can actually see appreciable growth on a week-by-week basis, but growth is not so fast that I'd worry about keeping it in bounds later on. Plus it spreads by above-ground stolons, not below-ground rhizomes, which means it should be much easier to pull it up or chop it off if parts of the plant start spreading into unwanted areas.
- Tough! Grows in full sun or partial shade (haven't tried full shade). It is supposed to be very drought-tolerant. Handled the winter cold (hardy to zone 6), spring wet and summer heat without batting a (metaphorical) eyelid. I will say that the plant sort of hunkers down for the winter. I don't think it grew at all then (although it was just settling in) and the foliage acquires a ruddy reddish glow, which makes it even more appealing in my book.
- Benefits wildlife and people. Creeping Raspberry produces white flowers (I've seen one, but pinched it off so that the plant could concentrate on vegetative growth) that reportedly attract bees. Pollinated flowers turn into orange berries that are reportedly attractive to birds and also edible (and tasty) for people. The berries are small and sparse enough that most folks say you shouldn't expect to get bowls and bowls of fruit from a Creeping Raspberry patch, but I think I'd be thrilled to get any edible benefit from a groundcover. (In the Pacific Northwest, on the other hand, berry production may be abundant.) I've also read that it may be possible to use the leaves to make a mild tea.
- Reportedly very easy to propagate by detaching rooted stems / stolons.
- Not native to the Southeastern U.S. In fact, it's native to Taiwan. This may actually be the only plant I've come across in my gardening research that's specifically native to Taiwan and it makes me wonder what other gems they might be hiding there.
- Honestly, I can't think of anything else. It does not shine my shoes or make me breakfast.
- Why doesn't everybody plant this? I know that I'm planning to buy more and hopefully propagate / divide the ones I have once they get bigger. 5-stars!