Gooseberry growers--what are your favorite varieties?

I have not dabbled with gooseberry, and a quick search showed that the basis of nurseries and plant shops are still “Hinnonmäen keltainen” and “Lepaan punainen”, and maybe some “Captivator” here and there. The virus purged clones are those that you call Hinnonmäki yellow and Hinnonmäki red. For some reason the middle '‘n’ seems to drop off in the cultivar names, at least in most of stateside nurseries, a funny detail to me :smiley: .
Previously we had much more breeding work done by with tax money, so by government, but everything that is not “important” had been shut down/privatized.


Thanks! Always good to get a different perspective. Ive enjoyed some of your other posts and appreciate you weighing in. So it looks like maybe our ‘Leepared’ is perhaps synonymous with ‘Hinnomaki Red’, perhaps one is virus purged and the other is not? A virus might explain why ‘Little Ben’ is described as a scrawnier ‘Hinnomaki Red’. Funny how they dropped the “N”. Probably a typo that got carried forward.

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Exactly so: Lepaa red = Hinnonmäki red, cleaned of virus. Lepaa is a very famous horticultural school here, and also an origin place of some old cultivars - Hinnonmäki is just across a small stream there, so they are basically the same place.


Hi, I’m new to gooseberries and going to give them a try … Going to plant poorman and pixwell. Any suggestions? I’m south facing in 7b. Do I need to worry about too much sun?

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I’m a big gooseberry fan and planted Hinnonmäki Red, Hinnonmäki Yellow, and Ironmonger as I was told by a local grower they’re the best cultivars. Gotta say, I’m not sure I agree…!

Hinno Red produces tiny, sparse fruit; they taste average to me, I expect a lot more nuance from a red gooseberry but these were the most tart of the three. Also, the thin branches are droopy / weeping in habit, meaning those crazy sharp spines are exceptionally good at getting you.

Hinno Yellow produces okay-sized attractive yellow fruit. These were okay; not the best, but decent, and a better crop than the red. The bush is a bit droopy, but not nearly as bad as red. Out of the three, this got decimated by sawfly the most - I guess it’s their fave!

Ironmonger is a sturdy, craggy, rugged looking plant; the fruit are medium and surprisingly sweet. This one has the easiest branches to manage.

I’m giving all three one last season, and if I’m not blown away, I’ll clear them out and get some heirloom plants from R V Roger (who have some great-sounding old varieties). None of them have been worth the space and pain :cry: in terms of fruit; doesn’t help that I’m in cramped quarters with strong winds, so those thorns are really out to get me!


My Hinnomaki Red arrived with a bunch of tightly clustered together, very short upward branches that did nothing the first year, creeped out almost flat like a mop head held upward the first half of the second year, then I trained a bunch upward with some twine, and pruned most of the creeping growth off this Winter (and transplanted some of the rooted creeping portions). It’s now mostly upright and rigid enough it’ll probably mostly stay that way when it’s covered in fruit. I only tasted a couple berries off it, but they were fairly sweet.

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I have my hinnomaki red in full sun, and it does great. My Invicta on the other hand was originally In shade, and never produced much. I moved it last year into a full sun location, hoping to improve the yield. And I’ve planted all my new ones in full sun also. None of those are large enough to really have much yield yet though. But personally my (limited) experience has led me to lean more towards sunny locations. Certainly the newly planted ones all seem to have grown fine, and not suffered in their sunny locations. I do not baby them with shade cloth or anything.

This is in zone 5b(or 6a in new designation) Nebraska, which regularly spends a good portion of the summer in the 90s and sometimes in the low hundreds, and 95% sunny.


I’m not impressed with Poorman or Pixwell Not that good fresh… Pixwell at it’s best nothing special goes from not ripe to mushy quickly. But I am in MT. For quantity and canning I most prefer Black Velvet. It is large and upright. Doesn’t take up much space for the yields it brings. I like Hinnomaki Red fresh. OK yields. I liked Amish Red but the bush disappeared. I like Jeane, moderate yields. I’m in NW MT.


Is black velvet something that could be grown kinda like an espalier? I have a very narrow area (a wall with a walkway with about 1 ft of grass area in between) or is it not sturdy enough for that? Rose bushes are planted there right now and I want to rip them out :grin:

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I agree. Black Velvet and Hino Red are great. I don’t even eat the Pixwell, it just sucks up space. Jeane is a new recruit and hoping it is good. I also have Houghton which I put in the Pixwell category and Captivator which still has not fruited after years.


I think it’s recommended as a good cultivar to train as cordons, per a couple of nurseries.

Blue Roof Orchard evaluated Currant cordon training here in SW WI (as Two Onion Farm): They also gave a peesentation on it for the Savannah Institute that’s available on Youtube.


Maybe it’s the hybrid vigor, but Black Velvet is by far the biggest/fastest growing variety I’ve planted. I’m not sure if that would make it a good or bad candidate for a cordon.


Anyone growing gooseberries in the south east ?

Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North or South Carolina ?

I tried red currants and jostaberries here and they could not hack it here. Tossed them after 4 years of producing next to nothing. Aweful foliage issues.

I started two Crandall clove currants this spring… hope they do well.

Are there any Gooseberry varieties known to do well in hot/humid south east ?



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I’ve recently planted Captivator and Sabine. A little fruit last year from Captivator, but verdict still out on Sabine.


I’m growing Crandall, a white and red currant and Jahns Prairie gooseberry. I have all in mostly shade around my chicken coop to try and survive. I started with currants in my front yard (south facing) and they died but that’s likely due to me not putting them on irrigation. I fully expect them to survive if not even thrive in the backyard, however I’m sure my fruit production will be limited. They are all leafing out now


@Gkight … i planted my Crandall clove currents in a location where they will get good morning and mid day sun until about 1 PM and then indirect light only after that. No hot evening sun.

I started those just a few weeks ago and they are leafing out nicely now. Hope they do well.

The ground there is very rich, dark, full of organic matter.

I could plant some gooseberries just west of them (closer to the tree line) and they would get even less hot sun… but still good morning sun.

I tried jostaberry and red currents here in a morning sun only location and they lived but struggled to live… growing almost none in 4 years… produced 4 or 5 berries in 4 years.
Awefull folage issues… . They just were not happy here.

I tried them in full sun and they died… mornng sun only and they lived but just barely.

Do any of you have varieties of gooseberry or currants that produce a decent amount of fruit when grown in mostly shade ?

I could try some all shade locations… or some places that only get 2 or 3 hours of morning sun.


I’ve been trialing a few different gooseberries here in Middle TN.

Pixwell has been the best producer and among the more vigorous growers. But it didn’t make it through last winter (possibly a casualty of the 2022 December freeze). As others have said, Pixwell’s fruit is not great though. I consider it s decent processing gooseberry. But I don’t care for it fresh.

Black velvet has grown well here but I’ve only got a handful of berries after 3 years. They were smaller, but more flavorful than Pixwell. It is planted in full sun and seems to deal with it ok. It typically drops its leaves in August or September.

Sabine has hardly grown and never produced fruit after 5 years. But it’s in a less than ideal situation where it gets morning shade and afternoon sun. It’s typically defoliated by mid July.

Poorman got planted in the area that gets the most deer browse damage. It kept getting eaten back down and didn’t really have a chance to grow there. I moved it last year and I’m hoping to sample some berries off it this year.

Of the ones that I’m growing, Hinnonmaki Red has probably the best tasting fruit. But it’s planted in a spot that gets morning sun followed by shade the rest of the day. So it’s production is very low. This spring I’m planting another one in a spot where it will get more light to see if it will produce better there.

I planted a Jeanne gooseberry 2 years ago. It’s a virtuous and precocious plant. I got a dozen or so berries the first season, and a good harvest last year. Jeanne produces the largest berries with good flavor (close 2nd to Hinn. Red). It’s also planted in full sun.

None of them do as well a gooseberries I grew when I was in a zone 4 environment. But some seem to tolerate my zone 7 TN environment enough that they’re worth growing here.


I’m gonna squeeze a black velvet in. It seems like a lot of people mention it on here and like it. Thx for the info!


yes, it would be an ideal candidate for growing as a standard, since it has lots of vigor and tall woody stems. You’d have to be mindful of keeping all new growth to the leg or trunk, would need to make sure and keep a supply of new wood coming each year, and its lifespan might be somewhat more limited, but doable Id say


My parents live on about an acre … so anything I cut ill probably be shipping off to their house. My mom wants to do edible landscaping now at her place. Will see how it goes

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