Propagating currants and gooseberries from cuttings - when and how best done?

I could probably figure this out with some internet research, but having this site open in a tab on my browser most of the time makes a person lazy!

I have a friend who might be interested in getting one of my currants or gooseberries. I understand these are easy to propagate from cuttings. Question is when, and how?

I’m in the Boston area, zone 6, and my couple plants are just starting to push leaves now. If I didn’t know anything I would cut off a piece and stick it in a pot of soil… Any tips for success?

they are easiest to propagate from a rooted bit, and many gooseberries in particular like to tip-root.

so in a perfect world your 3 best options are:
Division from mother plant
tip-rooted plantlet
sucker or shoot growing low enough there is some root material in the soil/mulch

I would at least look for some suckers or tip-rooted sections, those are the best bets and fastest growers because they already have root. I have seen a lot of both with my red and white currant, poorman, and jahn’s prairie gooseberry…

following those, hardwood cuttings are what I’ve used, dipped in hormone and put outside someplace with a LOT of shade. This isn’t maybe the best way to do it, but it offers pretty fair rooting efficiency in a “set and forget” situation…in the past I stuck the cuttings in either raised beds or just bark mulch near the foundation of the house on the north side.

I suspect there are other ways to root, perhaps better ones at that, and I believe soft cuttings are also used, but it isn’t hard to cut a bunch of wood from currants and gooseberries usually, so medium efficiency is still good enough.

Currants and gooseberry are pretty easy. Similar to elderberry I think. Here’s my recent thread on elderberries rooting:

In my experience, it has been easier to root all 3 of them in the ground, than indoors. I’ve had very high (90%+) takes on all by sticking a cutting in the moist ground in the fall (~November) and doing nothing else. One year I had a perfect 100% take on about a dozen of them, except for the one I put in upside down (don’t do that… :slight_smile: ).

Indoors though has been trickier. But if you start with a few , you’ll probably get at least one take.

As Mark mentioned, you’ve probably got a better chance if you can find one which has already tip rooted or suckered. I found a few which tip-rooted by accident recently and was able to send some of them out. A couple of them were too big to send (without massive root and top pruning), so I just used those myself.


The leaves on my currants are not out yet, so I wait until mid May. I cut about 8 inches from an exisitng bush. Stick it in the ground and it takes. Currants are easy.


I like doing this too. I have tried every method mentioned and they all work! I heard Honeyberries are just as easy.

1 Like

I took some cuttings when I removed the bush. Did this in Sept by oct they had enough roots so I potted 4 up. The rest are outside in the snow. It’s a test to see if they come back. BTW I just rooted them in water.

Here is one I kept in the greenhouse that has buds forming that should open March One old leaf left
photo taken 12/31/16

1 Like

Potted up some currant and gooseberry cuttings from GRIN Corvallis, about 4 days ago. They are already starting to leaf out. I know the real test is if they will develop roots- i will update on that later! I just stuck the twigs in the pots, no rooting hormone.


I’ve not heard of those varieties of gooseberry. Let us know how they turn out.


I have propagated hundreds of currants with almost 100% results. I generally trim my bushes around February or March(I am in NY) . I cut the trimmings into about 10-12 inch lengths (width doesn’t really matter). I scrape the bottom 3-4 inches enough to take off the bark but leave the green underneath it, not fully but at least in strips. I dip in rooting hormone, push into pots and leave in a warm area (my living room) and in a few weeks they will push out leaves and take off. They don’t seem to mind the planting process which I do in May, so I put many cuttings in each large pot. I find my own cuttings grow faster and produce sooner than any cut and rooted currant I have bought. For Elderberry, I do the same with similar results. For gooseberries I do the same with about 50-70% survival. They grow slower in the beginning I find.


I should add, I have done this without rooting hormone but I think results are better with it as far as developing a really good root system.

1 Like

I think my cuttings are trying to make flowers?!?

Do i nip them in the bud?

Also, the gooseberries leafed out the fastest, followed by black currants. Red currants are just now starting to show evidence of life. Only one or two buds waking up on red currant yet.


I would leave them alone. They may not be rooted yet either.

Yeah I usually don’t do anything to them. Yes very easy to root. I don’t fuss with them at all. I put three in a spot I want the bush and keep the best one. I have so many other seeds and cuttings going I wait till the ground is workable and put them out. Root them directly in the spot they will be going to. I don’t have room to start them now.

1 Like

I must be doing something wrong. Mine promptly leafed out but struggled. Quite a few have desiccated.

Is it necessary to put a bag over them to preserve moisture.

It would be easier to use parafilm if they are drying on you. Try it outside, not in the dry, and sunless house

1 Like

All but one of the gooseberries leafed out early for me and then died. No sign of any root growth on them. Except the one which has a tiny bit of root.

Currants are a different story and are doing well. I figured they would both be easy but i see now that gooseberries take some more care!

Maybe use rooting hormone with the gooses! The best IMO is Clonex gel, rather expensive but much better than powders. Powder can rot pieces at times, gel does not for whatever reason?

Also if it is your own plant you are trying to clone, try layering pieces near the ground, or make an air layer. I use Pro-mix just slightly moist Google air layer on Youtube to see the many methods of doing it. I like using a bottle.


In your experience is it helpful to cover the cuttings with a plastic bag or plastic wrap to simulate a greenhouse? I’ve heard this helps retain humidity, but then it can also increase the chance of them rotting before they have a chance to root. So I haven’t been sure what to do, but I definitely want to try to propagate some currant cuttings.

if you have some cuttings now, stick them in the ground where you want them, then mulch around them. i scratch the cambium before sticking, leave 1 or 2 buds above ground. they will root over winter then push growth like normal in spring. i get near 100% takes on all Ribes this way. can also be done in early spring but success rate drops significantly.


thats been my experience. currants are much easier to root

1 Like

if done the way i described the take rate is right up there with currants. I’ve even had good luck sticking cherry and blueberry cuttings this way getting from 40-60% take even with them.