Experience? Currant, Gooseberry, Serviceberry, Bush Cherry

I’d bet on that being fake news. I have planted them at all different times. The only time I have ever seen a difference is in max heat of the summer, but planting anything then will struggle.


Fall planting may indeed be best in certain parts of the country. Coastal areas of Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Florida…in Kentucky I’d plant containerized plants anytime, and bare root in March most years. I got some plugs in February this year and they are all doing fine (in one gallon pots in part shade),


My gooseberry experience in 6b Kentucky, thus far:

  1. Hinnomaki Red, excellent production, decent leaf spot resistance. Tart, but good flavor and crisp texture. Dwarfish grower. In heavy bloom right now.
  2. Hinnomaki Yellow. Super-dwarf—around 1’ X 1’ after two seasons! May need extra fertilization. It is cute, though, and might be a good candidate for interplanting. No production after two years, but heavy bloom for first time this year.
  3. Red George. A little taller and wider than Hinno Red. Good production, good quality, pretty decent disease resistance. Berry on average seems a bit larger than Hinno Red.
  4. Black Velvet. Slow to get started, though put out some nice 5’ renewal canes last year. Only a few smallish berries last year. Very tart, interesting complexity to the flavor—something in the taste I can’t quite put my finger on, though not quite “blueberry” (as the nursery catalog copy would have have it). My brother thought they were the best ones. More susceptible to leaf spot here than most; almost completely defoliated by season’s end, but seems to bounce back, and is blooming well this year.
  5. Pixwell. Gets undeserved hate. Sure, the fully ripe berries are a little mushy and don’t have a lot of complexity–but it’s: 1.) healthy (one of the most resistant to leaf spot); 2.) vigorous (my oldest is a 5’+ bush now; and 3.) productive. Can take them at the green-to-slightly-blushed stage, just when they begin to ripen, for processing. Fully ripe, they’re actually quite sweet. I see it mostly as a processing gooseberry—but I personally don’t mind snacking on them out-of-hand, and my mom likes them fresh. Primary component of last season’s gooseberry pie. Based on observations so far, and on accounts of others, I’d recommend it as a low-care pie and preserves plant.
  6. Invicta. Just planted last fall. Actually has a few flowers this season.
  7. Friend. First try was a no-go. Weak grower that for two years did nada and was all et up with leaf spot to boot. I propagated a new and seemingly more vigorous bush from it last year and planted it out in the fall in a new bed with afternoon shade. (My oldest gooseberries are in full sun and heavily mulched.) Has a few little flowers this spring. I hated to give up on it completely—because it is almost entirely thornless.
  8. Glenndale. Too soon to say, as newly planted last fall. Supposed to be a large bush and also tolerant of heat/humidity----like Pixwell. No flowers yet.
  9. Jeanne. New (my old “Jeanne” was a mislabeled Pixwell), but shows signs of precocity: one of my little overwintered potted specimens has already set three berries.
  10. Poorman. New.
  11. Amish Red. Dormant planted last spring. Adapted well. A few flowers this year. Showed the least leaf spot infection of any gooseberry last year, but was only its first season—so only time will tell.

I guess I’m about gooseberried out—though I wouldn’t mind trialing “Downing” (an old yellow one, one of the parents of Poorman), if I could ever find it. I do like growing gooseberries. I even kind of like pruning them—in spite of the thorns!

My only currants are a pair of pink ones, Gloire des Sablons and Pink Champagne. Planted last spring, they adapted well, and are putting out clusters of flower buds right now.

I’m fairly new to “sarvis” berries. Have had some Regent saskatoon bushes for a couple of years; not sure they’ll hold up to juniper rust pressures, though, as other reports from this neck of the woods are not encouraging. Got a couple of berries last year (and lost a few to juniper rust); I gotta say, though, they were delicious! Anyway, they were clouds of white this spring. My plan is to try to time sulfur + Nu-Film sprays with cedar “apple” “blooms.” Worth a try—though I’d rather have a serviceberry I don’t have to spray.

I also bought a Jennybelle (A. obovalis?) last year because it was advertised as a disease-resistant “southern” species, but have since learned it is rust-susceptible. Thought about tossing it, but couldn’t bear to do that after nursing the puny thing all last season and overwintering it in the greenhouse—and it woke up looking pretty eager, too—, so ended up sticking it at the end of my incipient plum grove yesterday.

My longterm amelanchier strategy is to buy disease-resistant Braveheart (probably A. canadensis) from @Blake when he gets them in stock. :slight_smile:

We’ve had four Romance cherries for two years, a pair of Juliets, a Carmine Jewel, and a Romeo. All have grown and adapted well. Juliet produced one cherry last year; tart, naturally, but seemed a good quality pie cherry. All have bloomed pretty well this year—especially Romeo, which is a mass of white. Hope we’ll get a few more cherries. I’ve removed two small cankers so far—one on Carmine Jewel, and another on a Juliet. Other than that, no problems yet. I prune very lightly—just removing the most offending of the crossing, inwardly-pointed stuff—for air and sun penetration.


Excellent post…and I basically concurr about your conclusions, Jeremiah.

I do have a “Princess Diana” serviceberry/sarvis (amelanchier x grandiflora) on Holly Hill in Berea KY that I planted for a good friend of an old school buddy…that is simply loaded and appears to have no CAR at this point.

I don’t have much currant crop, but I did notice my second year Pink Champaigne is loaded. I have in a container in the shade.

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Agree, nice post. I once had a Red Amish and liked it very much. My dog ran into it and it broke off. I thought it would come back up but it didn’t. But nice attractive Gooseberry.
I also have or had a Red George and liked it very much. A gopher went after it. It should be coming back but still waiting. My Black Velvet gets huge. I have cut it back drastically two years in a row.
We live in NW Montana and don’t have fungus problems on any of our currants or gooseberries.


Catherine, I hope your Red George comes back! It is indeed a good one. (I’m glad we don’t have gophers here! But I guess every gardener in every climate faces a unique set of challenges.)

@BlueBerry I’ve got yours started! Gotta get a “Malta Black” going, too! :wink:

We’ll have to compare notes on Pink Champagne. I’m pretty excited to see how it does here.

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For me, ‘Black Velvet’ is no doubt my most vigorous grower, but perhaps it’s because I live within the natural climate of one of its parents (R. divaricatum).


I had a decent sized Oregon Champion gooseberry actually get partially run over by my wife’s cousin’s truck a few years ago. He didn’t mean to do it, they were just visiting us, but I thought the plant was a goner. But, I did a splint on the broken part of the stalk and it eventually recovered. Now it’s my biggest and most productive gooseberry plant.


Is Amish Red the same as Red Jacket/Comanche?

I tried a couple varieties of red currants and joataberry here in my z7a southern TN location.

They could not hack it here… 4 years little to no growth and awefull foliage issues… drop all leavs mid summer… in 4 years I got 2 or 3 berries.

In full sun they died… in morning sun they did live but just barely.

I finally had to yank them up and toss out in the field. Replacing them (same bed location) with PAF and Logans this year.

Anyone growing wowza in southern TN northern AL or GA … or NC… and having success.

I am tempted to try those… but worry I would have similar results as josta and currants.

No, Amish Red and Red Jacket/Comanche are different.

Out of the three cutting you sent me two leafed out but sadly the last frost may have cut it down to one. The Jewel cuttings on the other hand are all chugging along like Champs.

Let me know if you want to try again. I can root some cuttings for you.

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Here’s some pics of some of my aforementioned plants. I weeded, fertilized and mulched them, they’re looking pretty good now.


Oregon Champion


Romeo cherry in full bloom

Juliet in foreground, Romeo in back


They’re looking great!


Wow that’s really cool, my CJ is in full bloom too it’s 5th year and finally some flowers, it suffered from a massive scale infestation and lost lots of branches.

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Bob, is that the 1st time they flowered? mine flowered profusely 2 years ago for the 1st time but only set a few cherries each. last summer i got a bowlful from C.j and Juliet but only a handful from Romeo which was planted a year later. im in 5th year for the c.j and 2 juliets now so they should produce a mature crop. we have been getting more average rainfall so far so it should help them along. the last 2 summers droughts i believe held them back some. my lutowaka rose polish cherry
is in year 3 so maybe get a few to taste this summer also. nanking produced a bowlful also last summer with no pollinator. my white one should flower this year so hopefully a bumper crop of them also. maybe a handful off the white one.


The Juliet has flowered each of the last 3 years, Romeo the last two years. Juliet has quite a few small fruitlets on it, more than it has in the past, but I think birds got to them then before they ripened.

This year’s blooms are the most I’ve seen on the Romeo, never had any fruit off it either.

Both of them were planted 5 years ago, along with a Crimson Passion, which died after a couple years. I got all of them from honeyberryusa, along with the Jeanne gooseberry in the pics. Where did you get your plants?

all from the same place. they are pricey but stand behind their products. had a juliet and jb30 serviceberry seemingly die on me so they sent me replacements free of charge and both the dead plants sent up new shoots in late july. :slight_smile:


Yeah, I had ordered a medium sized Juliet from them, but they were out of them, so they upgraded me a bigger plant, with huge roots. As you can see it’s done really well.

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