How to grow blackcurrants, redcurrants and whitecurrants

How to grow redcurrants and whitecurrants

Read our practical Grow Guide to growing a crop of tasty currants – perfect for jams and desserts.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do Plant in January

Do Plant in February

Do Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do not Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do Plant in November

Do Plant in December

Harvest
Harvest

Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do not Harvest in March

Do not Harvest in April

Do not Harvest in May

Do not Harvest in June

Do Harvest in July

Do Harvest in August

Do not Harvest in September

Do not Harvest in October

Do not Harvest in November

Do not Harvest in December

  • Average Yield

    4-5kg per bush

  • Spacing

    1.5m apart

    1.8m between rows

    Depth level with or deeper than rootball

Redcurrants and whitecurrants are both a visual and culinary treat. Packed with vitamin C, use them to make summer puddings or serve freshly picked with ice cream. With their stems dripping with jewel-bright fruits, they make an attractive shrub for any garden border.

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How to grow redcurrants and whitecurrants

Grow redcurrants and whitecurrants in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Keep them well supplied with nutrients by adding a mulch of well-rotted manure or garden compost annually. A sunny spot is preferable, although they should still crop well in semi-shade.

Once established, redcurrants and whitecurrants are easy to maintain. Prune in winter, creating an open bowl shape that deters sawflies and helps ripen fruit. Pick the fruit as and when it ripens. They key thing is to keep the soil moist, especially when the fruits are forming. 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.

More on growing currants:


How and where to plant currants

How to grow redcurrants and whitecurrants - preparing planting area with fertiliser for currants
How to grow redcurrants and whitecurrants – preparing planting area with fertiliser for currants

Redcurrants and whitecurrants do best in moist but well-drained soils, in a sunny spot sheltered from cold winds. They can cope with partial shade.

Bare-root plants can be planted between October and early March in mild spells. Pot-grown plants can go in any time. Prepare the soil by digging in organic matter, such as well-rotted garden compost. Add a general-purpose fertiliser (follow pack instructions) to the planting hole.

Make sure the top of their rootball is level with the soil surface. Firm down the soil around the roots and water well. Leave 1.5m between the plants and 1.8m between rows.


How to care for your currants

How to grow redcurrants and whitecurrants - pruning a currant bush
How to grow redcurrants and whitecurrants – pruning a currant bush

Feed plants with pelleted chicken manure in spring, then cover the roots with a 5cm mulch of garden compost to hold in moisture and suppress weeds.

Bear in mind that redcurrants and whitecurrants will grow too fast if overfed, so don’t spoil them. Water in dry spells but not while the fruits are ripening as this may cause them to split.

Redcurrants and whitecurrants fruit on old wood. In winter, cut back old or diseased stems; at the end of June, prune new growth back to two buds, to keep the plant compact.

Here, Monty Don explains how to prune redcurrants and gooseberries:


Growing currants: problem solving

Put netting over bushes to stop birds stripping all the fruit – make sure the net is pulled taut over a frame to prevent birds from becoming caught, but still check the net regularly.


How to harvest currants

How to grow redcurrants and whitecurrants - harvesting redcurrants
How to grow redcurrants and whitecurrants – harvesting redcurrants

Harvest whole trusses, rather than individual berries. They’re ready to pick when they’ve coloured up but are still firm and shiny. Pick currants on a dry day, as wet currants will quickly go mouldy.


How to store currants

Store unwashed bunches of currants in the fridge for up to five days. They freeze well.


Growing currants: preparation and uses

To prepare currants, strip them from the stalks by pushing a fork down the length of each bunch.

Sprigs of currants make a pretty garnish, although you may need a sprinkle of sugar to take the edge of their tartness. Cook them in pies and sauces or make into jams and jellies.

Propagating currants

It’s easy to propagate currants from hardwood cuttings taken during winter. Prepared lengths of stem will root readily when simply planted into the soil. Plants raised from cuttings will fruit in three years.

Secateurs

Great currant varieties to grow

How to grow redcurrants and whitecurrants - freshly picked redcurrants
How to grow redcurrants and whitecurrants – freshly picked redcurrants

Redcurrants

  • ‘Rovada’ – heavy crops of big berries in long trusses
  • ‘Stanza’ – gives a large mid-season crop. Compact, so ideal for small gardens

Whitecurrants

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  • ‘Blanka’ – the heaviest cropping whitecurrant, with long trusses of large, pearly white berries
  • ‘White Versailles’ – early, heavy crop of large, sweet berries in long trusses