Heap of redcurrants (Ribes rubrum)

How to grow redcurrants

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

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

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is not at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

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.

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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Total time:

Step 1

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.

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Step 2

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.

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Step 3

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.

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Step 4

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.