Tell me about pot-culture of Morus nigra

OK, folks. I’m a mulberry affectionado, and have 20+ years experience with grafting, growing, eating various selections like Illinois Everbearing, Stearns, Wellington, etc. My wife and daughters took a trip to Spain this summer, and became enamored with M.nigra… to the point that she’s adamant that I try growing some here in southern west-central KY - about 70 miles NW of Nashville, TN.
It’s long been my understanding that M.nigra will not work here. I’m open to suggestions of support of that position - or, conversely, that it may be possible to grow it here.
Regardless, she’s still probably going to require me order a couple (I’m presuming from Lucille Whitman)… but suspect that containerized growing is pretty much gonna be required… so, if anyone has any tips or recommendations on pot culture of M.nigra, I’m all ears.
Thanks in advance…


A very BIG pot? Put that sucker on wheelies?

Roll it into a garage for the winter? Give it the sunniest most open-air spot in summer.

Rumor is they don’t like cold… or humidity.

I’ve seen them growing in the deserts of Lemoore, Calif.

Good luck.

Geraldi dwarf is thought to be half nigra and half alba.

Same with Oscar standard.

People say they both taste good, but perhaps don’t reach the full flavor of a pure nigra.

Nevertheless, trying them might be worthwhile.

A few days ago I ordered a Noire of Spain from Hidden Springs Nursery in Cookeville,TN.If the plant really is a Morus Nigra,maybe they can grow in your area Lucky.
I presently have a Black Beauty from Peaceful Valley,in a half whiskey barrel,but only for about two years,so that’s not enough time to evaluate. Brady

can’t blame them! Nigra’s are the kfc’s of all berries-- finger-lickin’ good :grin:

agree with @Matt_in_Maryland and @Bradybb about half whiskey barrels and on wheels. To be brought in the garage for winter and wheeled out into the sunniest spot in spring/summer would be your best option.
unlike most other mulbs, nigra is a very slow -grower . And amount of soil seems not as important as the age of the stems. Nigras will be fruitful growing on a 3 gallon pot. May take several years of stem-seasoning, especially if starting with recently-grafted sticks.
even here in vegas where growing seasons are long, ours took 3 to 4 years.
one of only two mulbs we never prune(the other being gerardi).

I’m going with pot culture. Four different possible M Nigra in one 25 gal pot. One doesn’t need a big pot. I’ve fruited 4 nectarines in a 12 gal pot. A 5 gal pot would be big enough for a slow growing plant. Then up pot later if the fruit merits all the effort.

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what we’ve been doing here, as our dense caliche earth drains poorly

had some stars and jays in 15 gal pots, and they actually did better and lived longer than those planted in-ground. Roses are also happier potted here.

My potted black beauty is at least 5-6 years old. I have gotte fruit off it most years after the first. The quantity is very small 5-10 berries per year and the growth is painfully slow (it’s grown about 4-6 inches in all that time)

It’s in a 7.5 gal pot. It comes inside into my basement in an unheated room in my basement. It goes in dormant and comes out mostly the same way.


If I had the room I’d take a shot on the Oikos Tree Crops Morus nigra.

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i presume you meant 4-6 inches growth per year?

This is part of the description Oikos gives for their Nigra.“This is one of the fastest growing mulberries growing more that 3-5 ft. per year until fruiting begins.”
That seems awfully fast growth to me. Brady

No, sadly. 4-6 inches in all those years, total… Honestly that’s being generous.

I am 4+ hours from home for the holiday and just realized I haven’t moved this tree inside yet. Gotta move it inside right after the holiday.


that is intense!
i shouldn’t be whining then-- about the 4" growth our nigras ‘achieved’ this year. Yikes!

Any idea if this turned out to be a Morus Nigra?

Well,this is what the plant looks like right now,so hopefully,they sell the real thing.Brady.

Slow grower, Brady?

I’m in Raleigh NC (zone 7b) with hot and humid summers. In the ground I have Illinois Everbearing and Wellington along with some M. nigra seedlings that I grew. The M. nigra suffer from some sort of foliar disease but it doesn’t kill them. Some years are worse than others. Recently I bought some Dwarf Everbearing mullberry plants from two different sources. I assume they are both Morus nigra. One of them out performs the others and is a very fast grower, very prolific fruiter and extremely easy to root from cuttings. As long as the weather is hot the fruit is top quality flavor wise. I keep it in a large pot that gets sheltered in my greenhouse for the winter and I can eat berries starting in March and go every other month til first frost the following fall. I have planted cuttings from this “mother” plant out in the garden and so far they have done very well. Last summer was pretty hot and dry so I don’t know how well they’ll do in a summer with normal weather. My thoughts are that I will just keep a supply of cuttings on hand in case the in-the-ground plants go downhill. They grow fast (3-5 feet per year in the ground, 1-2 feet in a pot), fruit early, root quickly, etc. I’ll keep mama in a pot as backup. I’m so happy with their performance that I am thinking about removing all the other in the ground trees except the Illinois Everbearing to make room for more of these guys.

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I’ve had this one for a few weeks and the plant is dormant.If the growth characteristics are similar to Black Beauty,then that will more likely be moderately slow. Brady

Ahh. I thought you had it for a year now.

I spoke to them on the phone and the woman there said their Noire de Spain is a cross and is slower growing than the others, but she didn’t give me the impression that it was super slow like most Nigras are known for.

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Well, I called Lucille Whitman and had a conversation with her. She said she’d sell me M.nigra, but didn’t sound very hopeful that they’d fare well here - but recommended that I go ahead and put them in the ground (when they ship in late March), rather than in a pot, and treat them like a fig. In my case, that means… treat them like some of you folks would treat a fig… mine get no special care, and as a result, freeze back to the ground most years.

Dr. AJ Bullard long ago opined that M.nigra is a no-go in the Southeast, and try as I might, my wife is determined to have them, so I’ve dutifully ordered them, and will do my best to keep them going… I like a mulberry as much as any other critter… but I’m sure not a fan of high-maintenance stuff.