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A Stark Bro's Exclusive!

A real gem. Vigorous, upright canes are thornless for easy-to-grow and easy-to-pick berries. Soft-textured, glossy blackberries melt in your mouth – best for eating fresh and using in your favorite recipes. Flavor is irresistibly sweet, with 11-12% soluble solids and a lower acidity than other blackberries, which all makes for a pleasurable eating experience. May produce yields of up to 11 – 15 lbs. of fruit per plant. A productive, thornless primocane blackberry variety! Introduced in 2017. First-year canes begin ripening in late August into September, while second-year canes bear heaviest crops in July. Continues to fruit until frost. Everbearing primocane. Self-pollinating. May be covered by USPP #31,690 or other patents. APF-205T cultivar


Bloom Color White
Fruit Color Black
Fruit Size Large
Pollination Self-Pollinating
Ripens/Harvest First Year Canes Late August, Second Year Canes July
Shade/Sun Full Sun
Soil Composition Loamy
Soil Moisture Well Drained
Soil pH Level 6.0 - 6.8
Taste Excellent, Sweet
Texture Soft, Smooth
Years to Bear 1 - 2
Zone Range 5 - 8

Zone Compatibility

This Variety's Zone Range 5 - 8
My Hardiness Zone ?
The USDA hardiness zones offer a guide to varieties that will grow well in certain climates. Each zone corresponds to the minimum winter temperatures experienced in a given area. Make sure that your hardiness zone lies within the zone compatability range of this variety before ordering.

Size & Spacing

Mature Size

When your plant matures, it will be approximately 4 - 5' tall x 3 - 4' wide.

Recommended Spacing

We recommend spacing these plants 3 - 4' apart to ensure room for growth.


This variety is self pollinating.

In many cases, you may still want to plant pollinating partners to increase the size of your crops, but with self-pollinating varieties doing so is optional. You'll get fruit with only one plant!

Tools & Supplies

Having the proper tools and supplies when growing your own can make the difference between a good harvest and a great harvest! Here's a list that our experts recommend for this variety.

Planting & Care

Learn all about how to grow blackberry plants in The Growing Guide. An entire section of our website dedicated to your growing success.

Shipping Information

Estimated Delivery Date

Arrives when it's time to plant

Your success is our priority. We work hard to make sure that your order arrives at the ideal time for planting in your location based on your local climate conditions.

Our Promise of Satisfaction

1 Year Warranty

Every order comes with our promise of satisfaction. If you aren't completely satisfied with your order, let us know within one year for a free one-time replacement or refund.


We've 'tagged' this item with specific keywords that help you find other products that share features or characteristics with this one. Select a tag below to view all the items that have that particular trait.

Questions & Answers

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Browse 18 questions Browse 18 questions and 68 answers
Why did you choose this?
Stark Bro's Store
to try it
Domingo S on Jul 25, 2020
I wanted a thornless primocane blackberry. Black Gems are reported to have better flavor than the Prime-Arks, which was important to me. Even though Black Gems have poorer shippability than some Prime-Arks, this did not matter since I am a backyard gardener so I can either eat, bake, or freeze my berries without worrying about shelf life.
christian c on Jul 15, 2020
to try it
Domingo S on Jul 25, 2020
I ordered this to accompany my other BlackBerry from Starkes, which is thriving!
Jeff L on Jul 21, 2020
I wanted a thornless primocane blackberry. Black Gems are reported to have better flavor than the Prime-Arks, which was important to me. Even though Black Gems have poorer shippability than some Prime-Arks, this did not matter since I am a backyard gardener so I can either eat, bake, or freeze my berries without worrying about shelf life.
christian c on Jul 15, 2020
Primocane that is sweet
Rebecca O on Jul 14, 2020
description of its characteristics
jacques j on Jun 18, 2020
Wanted to try blackberries, Stark Brothers has great reputation.
John C on Jun 18, 2020
must be good if you are willing to place your brand on it
Joshua P on Jun 11, 2020
I want to try blackberries and it sounded like a good choice.
John H on Jun 4, 2020
I used to grow berries and did not have luck with other plants. I wanted a berry that would grow in my zone.
Kate H on Jun 3, 2020
The health benefits of blackberries are so many and they taste great too .
Chelle on May 27, 2020
Not tart, large.
CATHERINE S on May 23, 2020
Upright Canes, easy to grow.
Timothy H on May 6, 2020
Thornless and Primacane. being in WNY, need plants that will bare fruit on first year canes
Edward H on May 4, 2020
great value
dorothy l on Apr 19, 2020
I love blackberries and Stark Bros is the only nursery I order from.
Rose S on Apr 8, 2020
because it is self pollinating
Holly W on Apr 2, 2020
Looks gorgeous, primocane, good berry size, thornless
Leigh W on Mar 31, 2020
Repeats bearing berries
Edith C on Mar 26, 2020
Because of the description, and because it has the Company's name on it. It represents the company. The company must be proud of it.
DANIEL N on Mar 20, 2020
Who doesn't like blackberries? And this one is sweet with high yields. Plus it's a 6 pack.
Brian P on Mar 18, 2020
Because I could get a 10% discount, however the 10% discount was not applied to my order.
Rick P on Mar 15, 2020
Replenishing what I left at my old house.
Darla L on Mar 11, 2020
The size of the plant an annual yield, flavour is supposed to be good as well.
Gregory S on Feb 29, 2020
Thorns are the worst!!
Mary H on Feb 29, 2020
leon k on Feb 29, 2020
I have several different strands of thornless blackberries and am always looking for a new idea
Saul V on Feb 25, 2020
I'm adding to my blackberry collection
Kathleen B on Feb 24, 2020
Bruce W on Feb 15, 2020
Wanted to try it.
Pamela S on Sep 30, 2019
It was developed by Stark
Wilburn D on Sep 12, 2019
sounds yummy and no thorns
Kevin K on Sep 1, 2019
bears fruit all season
Richard P on Aug 30, 2019
I think it's sweeter, less tart and you get fruit twice a season.Whats not to Love.
Michael G on Aug 12, 2019
Because of your description of the product.
Jerry L on Aug 8, 2019
Want it for a border, so I have thorns AND fruit!
Jon on Jul 25, 2019
Excellent company, have bought other plants previously, I trust their quality
David F on May 27, 2019
easy care everbearing
Susan N on Apr 20, 2019
by description
Mildrd S on Apr 2, 2019
Can't wait to get my blackberry patch started. My family love the berries and they are getting hard to find wild in our area.
Bonnie B on Mar 30, 2019
Husband likes blackberries. Interested in the continual harvest option and less pruning by having production on two years worth of canes.
AJ on Mar 28, 2019
Liked the description. Sounds sweet and tasty. Liked sale price and quantity also.
Jay S on Mar 27, 2019
It had a high rating. I have some blackberries, but needed more plants
Doris N on Mar 24, 2019
Wanted an upright for a tighter space in my garden.
Lamar A on Mar 24, 2019
Looks delicious!!!
Linda U on Mar 9, 2019
It has a lower seed mass than some of the other varieties.
Loretta D on Mar 9, 2019
The plant will be thornless and grow in our area.
Carol B on Mar 9, 2019
Upright and Thornless.
Danica F on Mar 9, 2019
To have a small berry patch for making jam.
Robin L on Feb 21, 2019
It said it was sweeter than the prime ark I have and smaller seeds.
Jimmy on Feb 21, 2019
Vigorous, prolific plants. I have Prime Ark Freedom, so thought I'd try these as well.
Lee M on Feb 20, 2019
I ordered this to accompany my other BlackBerry from Starkes, which is thriving!
Jeff L on Jul 21, 2020
Primocane that is sweet
Rebecca O on Jul 14, 2020
How tall do the cane berries grow and are you just supposed to let him keep growing tall or do you cut them off and start over?
Phyllis R on Oct 29, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Hi Phyllis, This is a great question. Erect varieties should be tipped or cut back to 3-4??? in midsummer. This forces lateral branches to emerge from buds below this point. Later in the fall, after they are dormant, cut back the laterals to 16-18???. Fruit will be borne on these laterals the following summer (after which, the canes should then be removed to make room for next season???s growth). See our growing guide on pruning blackberries for more help. Your planting success is important to us!
Are the berries really seedy?
Kim W on Oct 23, 2017
BEST ANSWER: No, they are not, relatively speaking. The seed volume of Stark Black Gem is small: 6.2mm compared to Natchez (8.9), Ouachita (7.2) and Prime Ark 45 (8.1).
Can I order for next early spring delivery?
Mary A on Jul 20, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. We do not have a guaranteed ETA on when more will become available. We are very sorry for this inconvenience and completely understand your disappointment. Rest assured, that if you sign up for a notification, you'll be one of the first to be notified when it becomes available again. We can not place an early order as we do not know next seasons availability, our inventory for Spring 21 typically updates in December or January.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us, remember that we're here for you. Have a great day!

We didn't realize this plant had "canes" and I cut a few of them out at the root. When I got to the 2nd bush, I realized it may actually be part of the bush (although there were no flowers or berries on these) because we assumed this was a weed mimicking the bush. Do you the bushes seem pretty healthy otherwise, did we do damage?
Celest on May 26, 2020
BEST ANSWER: You will most likely get less berries this summer. The new canes that grow each year produce your later summer crop. According to many these do best if you cut down the canes at the ground after killing frosts, then allow the new canes to grow in the spring. If you are in a more mild climate, you can leave some of the canes that grew during the summer, but should cut those that have been on the plant for 2 summers. Cutting the canes tip when they reach 5' will give you the best crop according to some videos I have watched. I haven't done that yet, but plan to this year. The berries are wonderful! Hopefully you'll get some new canes still! If you have last years canes still alive, you should get berries from those, but should cut them off after frost this fall.
I live in Lake Stevens Washington, Zone 8B. Looking to plant Stark Black Gem blackberries. Wondering how long the sale will last, when shipping would occur, and how long I could hold them before planting? I need some time to prepare the orchard area to plant.
Steven P on Feb 20, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. This springs berry sale is from Thursday, February 20, 2020 to 11:59 pm CST, Saturday, February 29, 2020.* If you add your zip code in the Hardiness Zone location we will give you an estimated ship date for each item you are interested in. I am attaching a link to our article on "What to do if you can't plant when your order arrives". I hope this is helpful.


If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
Is fall the best time to plant blackberries?
Jane W on Sep 30, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question. Because weather and soil conditions vary so much from year to year and even within your zone, it's best to think of your planting time as a range of favorable conditions instead of an exact time.

You can plant new plants and trees: 1) when the ground is not frozen, 2) when daytime temperatures are above freezing (32??F) and below 90??F, and 3) when extreme weather (blizzard, hail, torrential rain, etc.) is not in the forecast. Be sure to keep plants watered if you're transplanting in warm and/or dry weather.
What pollinating partner would be recommended for the Stark Black Gem blackberry plant? (I realize it???s self-pollinating and doesn???t require a partner)
Whitney H on Sep 28, 2019
BEST ANSWER: EIther Arapaho or either of the Prime-Ark varieties would be excellent crop-boosters.
Is this a trailing variety that needs support to grow or one which is free-standing more similar to a "bush"?
Israel W on Apr 28, 2019
BEST ANSWER: This is an upright variety that doesn't require a trellis.
What kind of trellising does this variety require?
Teresa W on Apr 6, 2019
BEST ANSWER: This variety is really no different than any other upright variety - technically, they will stand on their own, but a two-wire system helps keep them in line and can make the berries easier to pick.
what is cell pack?
Letitia C on Feb 5, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question! A cell pack is similar to the kind of divided tray container in which you might purchase annual bedding plants, but larger. Our blackberry plants in the Jumbo Cell Pack have a shipping expectation of 4-6" tall.
What size are plants when they arrive?
Letitia C on Jan 19, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question! Our blackberry plants in the Jumbo Cell Pack have a shipping expectation of 4-6" tall. In the small gallon, they are about a foot tall with an advanced root system.
Does this blackberry freeze for later use very well?
Paul E on Jan 3, 2019
BEST ANSWER: We would not recommend this blackberry for freezing, as it has a melting quality that makes it superior for fresh eating, but it tends to break down when frozen. If you're going to make jam or preserves out of the frozen berries, it's fine to freeze them.
I have reds, yellows an purple raspberries, if I plant blackberries in same area am I ok?
Warbs on Oct 26, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Yes. It's black raspberries that cause the issues.
How does this plant compare to primeark freedom? Is the fruit the only thing different
Adam R on Jul 31, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Stark Black Gem is a very sweet, soft fruit that literally melts in your mouth. It has a low solids percentage and is a prolific producer. Prime-Ark is a little earlier than Black Gem and a bit more drought-tolerant.
Is this variety slow growing? We planted them probably a month or longer ago and they have not grown much at all if any.
Debbie T on May 12, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Did you check the soil pH and amend it if needed before you planted? Blackberries like a pH of between 5.5 and 7.0. If you bought bare-root plants, have you been watering them adequately? New plants take a while to establish and take off, a little patience is really all they need if the pH and water needs are being addressed.
is the Starks Black Gem similar to the Prime Ark Freedom? If so what are the significant differences?
Thomas T on Dec 28, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Black Gem grows in a similar fashion as Prime-Ark Freedom, but Black Gem has fewer/smaller seeds and has a very velvety texture. The berries literally melt in your mouth. It is also a fine producer, giving you 11-15 lbs. of fruit per plant per year.
Are these good for wine making?
debbie m on Oct 24, 2017
BEST ANSWER: These blackberries have a very velvety texture and are sweet, with soluble solids of 11-12% - usually with reduced acidity compared to many blackberries. While probably too sweet to stand alone, Black Gem would be a superb addition to a blend to temper a berry high in acidic, with a more tart taste.

Customer Reviews

3.3 / 5.0
4 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Seem finicky to grow
Received the 6 jumbo cell pack of these to try last spring. The first 5 didn't make it through the summer and the last one did not make it through the winter. I have many other varieties out Navajo, Triple Crown, Kiowa and prime ark freedom that are doing great. Not sure if these are just hard to grow or if they could not handle the cold snap we had at the end of April last year. Stark replaced them with the prime-ark Freedom, no questions asked and they seem to be doing great. Great customer service
March 25, 2019
Great spreader.
Last year was the first full year and I had berries... Not a lot but I had berries. This year already grown almost half. Can't wait for the berries.
May 6, 2018
over 2 years ago
2nd year and they're doing great in Utah
I planted three in the Spring of 2018. They seemed to struggle a bit at first, but they were greenhouse grown and we had a couple cold spells early last year. In early summer 2018, I moved one of the three into a raised bed where it had to compete with some aggressive watermelon and Tigger melons. The two in the ground have taken off like crazy with a few of the canes surpassing 6 feet tall. The one in the raised bed is also doing great, especially since it hasn't had to compete with melons this year. I was worried these plants might struggle in Utah because our soil is alkaline, so the pH is >7.0. but they seem to be doing great and have quite a but of fruit in them. I can't wait for them to ripen.
July 2, 2019
over 2 years ago
Tiny 1' plants on second year
I planted these last year, they all seemed to die when my other plants thrive in this area (raspberries, strawberries, and asparagus). Stark was great about refunding me after they lost all their leaves in summer. This year all 3 did green up on last year's stems but have a lot of dead leaves and have so far only grown about 1 foot tall with no signs of sending up any new shoots for next year. Maybe they'll work out but I hate to give this garden space to a plant that may or may not survive and not bear any fruit in 2 years. I'll give them 1 more year but this year's growth isn't looking promising.
July 14, 2020
1 year ago