How to Grow Blackcurrants

Overview

Blackcurrants, native to northern Europe, are loved for their tart flavor and glossy color. Cultivated in Europe for hundreds of years, blackcurrants were banned in the United States in the 1920s because they are a host for white pine blister rust. They've recently gained popularity with American gardeners after a blister rust-resistant variety was developed. Eat the fruits out of hand or use them to make jelly, sauces and wines.

Step 1

Lay 2 inches of compost over your soil. Dig it in to a depth of 8 inches and remove all rocks and debris.

Step 2

Dig a hole for your currant 1 inch deeper than the nursery pot. Remove the plant from the pot and place it in the hole. Backfill with soil, patting down firmly and water the currant until soil is evenly moist. Space currants 6 feet apart for individual plants or 3 feet apart if you want a hedge. Plant blackcurrants in early spring. Lay 2 inches of wood chip mulch around blackcurrants to keep soil cool and conserve moisture.

Step 3

Water currants as needed to keep soil evenly moist. Soaker hose irrigation works well to provide even, slow moisture and prevent wet leaves, promoting disease.

Step 4

Remove all but six strong stems the winter after planting with your pruning shears. Thereafter, prune out old wood (darker in color) every winter, allowing new growth to remain. If your currant becomes unproductive after several years, lop off all wood to the ground. You'll sacrifice that year's crop, but the plant will come back stronger the following year.

Step 5

Top dress the blackcurrant with 2 shovelfuls of manure every spring or apply a granular 8-8-8 fertilizer around the plant, according to directions.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost Wood chip mulch Shovel Hand pruners Manure or 8-8-8 fertilizer

References

  • Washington State University Island: European Black Currant
  • California Rare Fruit Growers: Currants

Who Can Help

  • BlackCurrants: Blackcurrant Jelly
Keywords: growing blackcurrants, blackcurrant care, planting blackcurrants

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing for five years. Her work has appeared in "The Friend" and "Western New York Parent" magazines. Her guide for teachers, "Helping Young Children Cope with Grief" will be published this spring. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College and recently returned to school to complete a degree in communications/English.