Black currants are hardy, productive plants that provide tart, delicious berries for flavorful desserts, jellies, pies, jams and wines. Black currant plants are cold-tolerant and appropriate for climates too chilly for most fruit crops, growing even in poor soil and altitudes to 10,000 feet. Black currants are attractive, low-maintenance plants with bright green foliage that provides considerable ornamental value to the landscape. Most varieties are hardy to USDA Zone 3, although some are sturdy enough to withstand the chilly temperatures of Zone 2.
Choose a sunny spot in your garden where the soil drains well. In hot climates, plant black currants where they will be in the shade during hot afternoons. Prepare the soil the autumn before you plant the black currants. Spade the soil and work in 2 to 3 inches of manure or compost.
Plant black currants as soon as the ground can be worked. Black currants are cold tolerant and can withstand temperatures as low as 19 degrees Fahrenheit. If the black currants are bare root, soak the plants in a bucket of cool water for two to four hours before planting.
Dig a hole for each plant, wider and deeper than the plant's root system. Plant each black currant 1 to 2 inches deeper than it was planted in the nursery container. Firm the soil around the roots. Plant black currants at least 4 to 5 feet apart.
Cut the plants back to 6 to 10 inches immediately after planting. Cutting the plant back will encourage strong new growth.
Spread 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch such as pine needles, chopped leaves or bark chips around the plants to cool the roots, deter weeds and conserve moisture.
Hoe carefully to remove weeds, or remove the weeds by hand. Removing weeds will enable the plants to produce more fruit, as weeds compete for moisture and nutrients in the soil.