Heap of redcurrants (Ribes rubrum). Photo by Stephen Marwood.

How to grow redcurrants

Redcurrants look as good as they taste. Our step by step guide has all you need to grow your own.

Do it:

All year round

Takes just:

30 minutes

At its best:

Jun, Jul, Aug

Redcurrants are both a visual and culinary treat. They prefer fertile, well-drained but moist soil. Keep them well supplied with nutrients by adding a mulch of well-rotted manure or garden compost a couple of times a year. A sunny spot is preferable, although they should still crop well in semi-shade.

Discover currants and gooseberries to grow.

Redcurrants are best grown in open ground. Once established, plants are easy to maintain. They key thing is to keep the soil moist, especially when the fruits are forming. Additionally, it's a good idea to feed and mulch the plants to keep them vigorous and cropping well.

With minimum effort you'll have a reliable and abundant crop, and just one or two bushes will provide pounds of juicy fruits for puddings, jellies and sauces.

You will need

  • Redcurrant plant
  • Garden compost
  • A spade
  • Can
  • Soft twine

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The optimum time for planting bare-root or container plants is between autumn and early spring. Pot-grown redcurrants can also be planted successfully when in leaf, if watered regular in dry weather. Dig lots of garden compost into a hole large enough to accommodate the root ball of the plant and knock it out of the pot.

Position the roots in the hole, backfill with soil and firm thoroughly. Redcurrants may be grown as bushes, spaced about 1m apart. If you're short on space, you could grow cordons, on a single stem, spaced 50cm apart. To do this, simply prune out all the stems to leave just one single, central leader as a framework.

With soft twine, carefully tie in the selected lead stem to a sturdy cane support using a figure-of-eight knot. As the plant grows during its first year, tie the main stem in at regular intervals. Once the stem reaches your desired height (up to a maximum of about 2m), prune back the growing tip to a bud.

Just one or two bushes will provide pounds of juicy fruits for puddings, jellies and sauces.

As the cordon grows, it will produce sideshoots which should be cut back to two buds from the base, in July every year, to encourage 'spurs' which will carry the fruit. As the main stem thickens, check the ties regularly and replace them if they're getting tight. Your cordon should fruit in the second year after planting.

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Growing redcurrants in pots

Redcurrants are best grown in the ground but can also be grown in large containers, such as a half-barrel, filled with loam-based compost.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

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