Its attractive foliage, compact shape and beautiful fruit make the black currant shrub a good choice for the home gardener. Black currants are a hardy shrub that can be grown in nearly any climate, but will bear more fruit with a period of cold winter chill. If black currant bushes are properly planted, they will provide Vitamin-C-loaded berries for jams, jellies, juices, pies and other deserts for 10 to 15 years. Black currants can be planted in early spring or late fall.
Choose a well-drained spot for the black currant bushes. If you live in a cool, damp climate, plant the bush in full sunlight. If your climate has hot, dry summers, plant the black currant bush in partial shade.
Work the soil at least six months before you plant the black currant bushes. Cultivate the soil with a shovel or rototiller to a depth of at least 10 to 12 inches, and work 2 to 3 inches of well-rotted manure or compost into the top of the soil.
Purchase young black currant shrubs at a reputable greenhouse or nursery. If the shrubs have bare roots, they should be planted in early spring. Container-grown bushes are hardier, and can be planted in spring or late fall.
Dig a hole for each black currant bush, and plant the bushes 2 inches deeper than they were planted in the container. If the shrubs are bare root, you will be able to see the previous planting line. Plant the shrub 2 inches deeper than that line.
Plant the black currant bushes 4 to 5 feet apart. If you are planting the bushes in rows, leave at least 7 feet between each row. Eight to 10 feet is even better, and will allow plenty of air circulation. Water the bushes immediately, and keep the soil moist for the first year, especially during hot, dry weather.
Prune the black currant branches immediately after planting, to a length of 4 to 6 inches. This will stimulate healthy new growth.
Pick off any blossoms or flower buds for the first year. This may seem counter-productive, but will direct the energy to forming healthy shoots and roots that will ensure plump, juicy fruit the next year.
Control weeds around the black currant bushes by cultivating the soil shallowly with a hoe. A 1-inch layer of organic mulch applied around the plants will help keep weeds down, and will retain moisture. Reapply the mulch as it decomposes.