From the cooler climates of Europe blackcurrants are grown both as a small bush and in rows as hedges. Valued for high vitamin C content they are usually used for jams, juices and preserves. The leaves of some varieties are used to make a herbal infusion. We show you how to grow black currents including the best varieties available for sale.
These are perennial plant that flower in spring and fruit through to mid summer. They do need a rich well drained soil, but are actually easy to grow.
The big trick with Blackcurrant plants is to constantly renew the plants, although established plants will bear fruit it is those that have been renewed by heavy pruning that are the most productive.
Where to plant
- Blackcurrant plants are regarded as being hardy to zone 2, they prefer a sunny position with some protection from the afternoon sun in warmer areas. They need and a well drained, but moist soil.
- Once you have chosen a sunny position, spend a little time preparing the soil, big in some well rotted compost and a handful of fertilizer, we are aiming at a ph of around 5 – 6.
- The plants naturally send up new shoots each year, so plant a little deeper than might seem appropriate, this encourages more new shoots.
- Plants also need a little room around 3ft (1m) apart. Mulch well to maintain a cool moist root run.
- New plants can be put in place in early spring, prune them back to 2-3 buds .
Blackcurrants fruit best on last years wood, so pruning need to take this into account. Older canes should be reduced by 1/3 each year and this will help ensure a good supply of fruit from year to year. So we are pruning enough to encourage renewal, and leaving enough for fruit production.
- Grow in a climate where you get cold winters
- Choose a sunny position
- Dig in compost and aged manure plus a handful of lime
- Plant deep
- Water in with a liquid seaweed fertilizer
- Keep weed free
- Prune 1/3 of the canes back each year after the third year
- Fertilize each spring and renew mulch
Black currants do need a cold winter if they are to fruit well.
Many varieties are labeled as ‘self fertile’ however you will get better pollination and therefore more fruit if you have more that one bush
- Swedish Black – very high sugar and tasty fruit, but a little unruly in growth
- Strata – Low yield but sweet fruit
- Boskop giant – requires good pollination and can be a good producer.
- ‘Titania’ – disease resistant but poor fruit
- Ben Alder – a late variety very juicy
- Ben Connan – better for fruit than juice – the one we like
- Ben Hope
- Ben Lommand – cold and frost tolerant
- Ben Sarek – high yield but hard to pick
- Magnus – self fertile
- Sefton – does not require the same chill factor as others, better for warmer climates
Blackcurrant plants are available for sale from the following growers
STARK BRO’S NURSERIES& ORCHARDS CO. – phone: 1-800-325-4180 fax: 573-754-8880
PO Box 1800 Louisiana MO 63353
Full line of fruit including Blueberry.