Black Currants 2017


Thanks. Yeah, cool, they’re GB trees! Looks like a lot of work, I’ll just stick with 'em being bushes. Shoot, I’ll be happy just to get them to fruit.

For other semi thornless varieties, there’s Captivator and Tixia.

I read that when planting new GB, you need to prune any canes down to just about 6 inches. Do you do this?


Each gooseberry is different. You could probably do some of the weaker growing ones like Jeanne and Hinnomaki Yellow at 2’. But I don’t think you would want Black Velvet at even 3’. 4’ or maybe 5, if you want to be able to move around it. I have some BV which are sending up strong shoots 7-8’ tall, into a neighboring plum tree.

I’m hardy a gooseberry pruning expert, given how my Black Velvets are going everywhere. This year I’m getting more serious about hacking it back. I think with gooseberries, my main goal will be to keep only mostly vertical growth, by cutting back (or away entirely) anything which is drooping.

That’s great to hear. Were they your favorite due to the flavor (strong or sweet?) or due to some other aspect (productiveness, fruit size, etc)? Assuming I get some takes, I can can send out cuttings in the future.

I knew you were experimenting with pruning currants and until that last line I was very impressed with your results :slight_smile:

I sometimes get borers in my currants. I imagine that it would be very bad to prune it for years, then have a borer on the main trunk ruin the whole thing.

I haven’t had a ton of it, but haven’t been that impressed with Tixia’s fruit.


Yes, I keep a spare branch ready to make another cordon, at least on the two I have on fences.

Yeah I want to add only proven winners from now on.

I did it on some, others not. i didn’t really see a difference?

Yeah that standard pruning is too much work. Currants are easier to shape. I like making cordons with them.I’m doing some “V” cordons with them. What they are is two branches in a “V” shape, or parallel, I don’t see why it matters? Anyway they should get to 8 feet tall and all fruit will have to be laterals off the double cordons. You cut the laterals down to 3 nodes each year. Lee Reich says to cut to 3 nodes after fruiting, then down to 1 node while dormant.

On pruning gooseberries you want a goblet shape. Remove low branches and crossing branches too. I do these things so automatically I forget to mention them. You will too after a few years of pruning mature plants.


We had many varieties of currants but many lost their names because my parents did not care about keeping the names. Bagira was given us by a neighbor as cuttings, I am not 100% sure this is the true variety, but it corresponded to the descriptions that I’ve read. It had unusual pinkish flowers, indicating the heritage of the other currant species. The berries were large and unusually glossy, uniform and the skin did not rupture after picking. The taste was mild without the strong currant aftertaste. It was my favorite variety for eating right from the bush. I think it had good productivity.


I wanted to grow gooseberry like that,but mine never grow that tall。 I have read somewhere it is budded on some gooseberry root stock


Yes on Golden currant which grows tall. It still has to have a permanent stake.


which nursary sales golden current? I want one to try grow gooseberry the British way


i got 3 goldens from amazon . think i paid $15 for them.


Interesting, my Black Velvet has only grown to 5’ but I’ve only had it for 4 yrs.

Yes, the lower branches tend to droop and root on many varieties of gooseberries so they will spread and become a tangled mess. Also harvesting from the lower branches is more difficult.


Thanks,I will check Amazon


Amazon is probably the best price, They are sold at a lot of nurseries. Rolling River, Whitman’s etc.


Bob, that’s great that you got some new varieties from GRIN to try. I’m particularly interested in how the Bagira grows and tastes for you since down here in 7A, Minaj, one of the parents, seems to tolerate our heat and produce better than any of the other black currants. Hopefully Bagira inherits some of that heat tolerance.


last summer one side of one of my consorts just broke off. i didn’t plant it deep enough so i mounded soil up around the remaining plant and it still produced almost as much fruit as my full bush. i took some big cuttings from the broken off part and stuck them in the soil in between the 2 mother plants. all 3 took with no care so now I’m going to have a currant hedge in a few seasons! of the types of currants I’ve tried i still prefer the consorts for their strong flavor . maybe ill change my opinion as I’ve planted Crandall, Rbes odoratum last season and have golden, Ribes aureum and fruit river, Ribes americanum I’m planting this spring. should be interesting on the difrerences in look and flavor of plants and berries. if i had more room id try some of the newer cultivars but from what I’ve read of them they aren’t as strong as the consorts flavor is. i like strong tart fruit of most types of berries. too often nowadays berry breeders are trying to get sweeter milder tasting cultivars. thats why i stay with older cultivars even if they don’t produce as well as newer ones.


I have some Black Velvet in another part of the yard which are only 4-5’ tall. Still nice big bushes, but not the monsters I get down at the bottom of the yard, where it stays moist most of the time. No standing water, as I built a 6-12" raised bed, but it doesn’t really get dry. I think gooseberries and currants really like that. It’s the same area where I have a plum tree on Citation which got huge. I’m trying a peach on Citation there this spring, as they runt out badly in other parts of the yard, but I suspect that the extra water will let them get to a reasonable (but not huge) size.

I’ve noticed that over the past year and am spending some time to cleanup the area. On the positive, it gives me some rooted cuttings to send out :slight_smile:


How well do black currants do in a mostly shaded growing area? Think shade hosta growing type areas. I would like to fill it with currant plants if some particular variety would work there. These plants do not spread/sucker like raspberry plants do, will they?

I also have read some varieties have mildew and rust type issue. Some states will not all allow certain varieties into their state. I would think that is one big issue to avoid as well. All I can see is CAR type issues with currants if they get this mildew or rust on them. Some sites do not list specific currant 'resistant" descriptions on even the ones that I have read are resistant. I thought that was sort of odd not to at least mention the resistant varieties.


No but they will produce horizontal canes close to the ground that will root.
Most newer cultivars are resistant to rust. They will grow in shade but don’t produce many berries like that. The sprigs have low berry counts in the shade.


I was thinking about other shade plants, currants are good ones, production is low, but you will have fruit, just put more in! Also Wintergreen (need acidic soil), elderberries, Dogwood cherries, and thimbleberries will produce. Elderberries will grow but fruit production on some would be stopped. I use ornamental types Lace, Black Beauty etc. They have yet to really produce but look very nice. variegated plants like shade too. Variegated dogwoods both kousa and mas exist. The tri-color beech tree is another one that needs shade. I have one and it’s struggling, still alive. It is extremely variegated and that becomes a challenge in itself.
Variegated elderberry grows like crazy but no fruit so far.


I’m actually trying to put some of these berry type plants up near my fruit trees for the birds to use towards the end of fall and into winter. I have had a lot of songbirds and try to keep them fed during the rougher parts of winter when there is little food around.

I just do not want a plant or bush to take over an area like the honeysuckle or these wild callery trees are doing here in my area. Raspberries , cane fruits, can send runners everywhere too. I just spent hours and hours and $$$$$ getting rid of the wild callery trees around my pond and creek. I do not want to substitute one bad plant issue with another. This time it would be my fault for planting them.


Yeah one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Currants can spread, but you may die before it happens. I agree I grow low vigor blackberries, if you think raspberries are bad, blackberries are the worst! So I grow boysen which tip rooted 3 plants, but Triple Crown tip rooted about 10! So i removed it, tired like you of spending hours to control. They get so dense you can’t what’s what! Tip rooted canes hide behind and around other crowns, argh! . Tayberries are mellow here too. No tip roots at all, best one! Love it! I would leave a week and Triple Crown would grow five feet! tayberry would grow 5 inches, both try to tip root, but I have about 3 weeks to tie a cane up before it roots with tayberry, but about 3 days with Triple Crown. OK, so the berries are good and you have hundreds. Well I really don’t want hundreds of them. Some do not like tayberries, i think they are the bomb! For me way better than Triple Crown, but that is me. They are low acid and taste more like raspberries. My fruits have identity crises episodes from time to time.
Like my strasberry thinks it’s a raspberry when it’s actually a strawberry.

To get back on track their are many sub species of golden currants. Also some top rate cultivars developed in Russia, but have not made it here as far as I know. Anybody see them let me know! I like this currant. it tastes like a black, is a bit sweeter, and not as musky. The sub species examples have black, red, orange and yellow berries. I would like to get some orange and yellows. I have red and black.


Thank you for the information. I think I will try and find some tayberry plants. I have never heard of a tayberry. I just was reading a little more about them and it looks like you mow them down every year without a problem. Sometimes my black raspberry patch looks like that is what I need to do to it to keep it under control. I’d put them around the same area since my black raspberries are in that area. Keep that type plant all in one place. In case they get out of control I only have one area to destroy.