Currant Gooseberry Cultural Notes - NewGipps Vegetable Flower Herb seeds and Bulbs

Help and Information

CURRANT - Red. Black & White




Planting of bare rooted plants when dormant in winter.


Deep loams are best with plants being grown in full sun. Work in plenty of organic matter, mulch annually to keep weed free and the root zone cool. All require a cold winter for flower initiation.


A dressing of 1 to 2 kg. /sq.metre of animal manure should be dug in the top 30 cm. of soil around 6 weeks before planting. An artificial fertiliser, eg. N:P:K 8:11:10, can be applied at 80 grams/sq.m. immediately prior to planting. Mix it thoroughly through the top 15 cm. of the bed. An annual dressing at the above rate in early spring will ensure continued growth.


Plants can be placed individually as required, or in rows with plants spaced 1 to 1.5 metres apart, (2 metres for Jostaberry). Plant so the roots at the stem end are at least 5 cm. below the surface.


The bush should have the main stem growing from the ground to around 20 cm. before branching out into the framework of the bush. As purchased, plants may require further pruning to obtain 4 to 6 shoots in the coming season, which will become the main framework of the bush. In the next and following seasons, prune the shoots to 1/3 of their length to an outward pointing bud, aiming to keep the centre of the bush open.


Black currants have a different growing habit to the red & white types in that most fruit is produced on the previous season’s growth. Accordingly the pruning should encourage a supply of new growth each year. New plants should be trimmed so only two buds remain on the main stem. In the next season fruit will be borne on the new growth. Once the bush is established, prune out older branches, cutting to a strong new shoot near the base. Prune each year, not allowing branches to remain any longer than 3 years.


Prune the plants to a vase shape keeping the centres open to allow for picking and the entry of light. Prune for the first two years to create the vase shape, and in subsequent years by cutting back any vigorous new growth by half, and weaker growth by two thirds. Fruit is mainly borne on second and third year wood. The wearing of leather gloves is recommended to avoid being prickled by the sharp spines.


Currants, Jostaberries and Gooseberries are hardy, but appreciate regular watering to maintain growth in dry conditions.


All these plants benefit from a Bordeaux or Kocide spray before budburst in spring. Gooseberries are attacked by American Mildew and should be sprayed with Bayleton 50 using 1 gram per litre of water from flowering and then each six weeks during growth. Red Spider and aphids may sometimes need control. Currant stem borer is difficult to control, but pruning out and burning infected wood will assist.