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I'm now ready to plant up my new soft fruit patch.

Have just ordered the raspberries (Polka) but would like some help selecting currant bushes.

I want to grow both black currants and red currants and am looking for large, juicy, sweeter fruits and a good yield. Can anybody recommend some reliable varieties please?



Not sure where you are or how big a garden you have. I live in a part of the country that gets late frosts and cold winters. The blackcurrant called Ben Lomond is ideal for this because it actually likes those conditions and doesn't do so well in warmer climes! It is also good because it naturally grows in an upright shape and so takes up less space.

Boskoop Giant is another good old fashioned one but it is a big plant, as its name suggests.

Recurrants, being treated like gooseberries, tend to grow and grow so they take up more space than blackcurrants, which get chopped back by one third each winter. I only grow Jonkheer Van Tets but three bushes give me enough (OH would say MORE than enough!) for jams, jellies, pies and compotes. Birds steal a lot but as I don't like the idea of nets (lots of accidents with young birds in the past) I just let them have their fill. They soon tire and move on to something else.

All in all, each bush of both types of currants, will need about 5 feet of space when you take into account picking and pruning space.




Thank you Pansyface - I should have said that I'm in sunny Suffolk. We probably don't get as many really bad frosts here as those in the north or higher up - but it has been known so a frost resistant variety would be good. 

I'm thinking of having 2 blackcurrants and one red to be planted in a row. I should be ok with the spacings you suggest as I think the length of the row will be between 4 and 5 metres (need to check).

Ben Lomond sounds as though it has the sort of growth habit I prefer - but I'm a bit concerned about the redcurrant. Does it get very sprawling and big? Do you also grow white currants? How does their growth pattern compare?

Lots of questions - sorry! 


I've never grown whitecurrants, sorry, as I've never found a use for them. I understand that birds aren't keen to eat them though, probably because they look rather insipid.

My redcurrants are about six or seven years old and are about five feet high. They should, I think, be grown on a stem in the same way that gooseberries are, but I don't have much self control and mine spring from a more loosely defined single stem idea. They branch out (in what some might call a goblet shape!) getting pruned twice a year, like a gooseberry bush, once to stop the summer growth and once to encourage side shoots and flower buds.

They are incredibly easy to look after, as are blackcurrants. The real tedium is in the picking


Thanks for your help Pansyface - they are all lovely to eat aren't they? I just adore summer pudding mix (quite happy to have it without the bread casing) with clotted cream or ice cream - high summer in a bowl

(Also rather nice spooned into a G & T)



I got Red - White  and Black currants, I never really pick them just nibble at a few when I am weeding around them  but for the black one . I dont know what variety's they are my dad bought them years ago but the Red and white crop heavy every year without hardly any pruning.

As pansyface said they take a lot of room up, I been moving them today/yesterday to make space for a new planting area. To be honest I wouldn't of been bothered if they found their way into the wood chipper cause they take so much room up and I dont pick them but the bird have a good do out of them

According to one of the book I been scanning through today Ben lomond is popular could try Ben Nevis for colder areas. White versailles for white currants popular as well. Laxton no1 for red currants as well as jonkheer van tets

My white currant and red currant grow / look nearly exactly the same but for the currants. 


Thank you for your help Perki - I'll look at the varieties you suggest. Fortunately I have a reasonable sized space for growing the bushes and we love to eat the produce 


This might sound a stupid question but are you meant to cook blackcurrants before eating? I think they taste really sour raw, I eat blackcurrants in pies etc no problem 


I think they taste like cat pee when they are raw. Not that I would know......


Yeah, red & white currants are ok as-is, but raw blackcurrants.. yuck!

pansyface wrote (see)

I think they taste like cat pee when they are raw. Not that I would know......

Can't take you anywhere Pansy.... 

Perki - Blackcurrants are a bit like gooseberries - you might find a nice sweet one off the bush - but they usually need to be cooked with some sweetener to be enjoyable.

I believe some raw white currants taste a bit like grapes.

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