Growing Red and White Currants

Red Currants

The cultivation of red (and white) currants is largely the same as that of gooseberries. They are grown as bushes on a short ‘leg’ and the aim should be to build up a branch system furnished with fruiting spurs.

The space-saving system for red and white currants is completely different to that for black currants as it involves the formation of cordon plants. The two shapes that are most commonly used are the single cordon and the ‘U’ or double cordon. Both are grown vertically and the only essential difference between them is the number of ‘branches’ that make up each bush.

The double cordon is more economical of plants but takes longer to cover the allocated area of wall or fence. The two arms are trained up canes or wires 1ft (30cm) apart and, where more than one 'Jonkheer Van Tets' Red Currantsplant is being grown, they are planted 2ft (60cm) apart. The method of pruning is exactly the same as for ordinary bushes in that all side-shoots are cut back to 1-2in (3-5cm) long in the autumn.


Besides the small amount of space occupied by cordons, they are also easy to protect from spring frosts and from birds eating the berries. You just throw some garden fleece over the bushes for the frost and a net for the birds.

Cordons, as well as conventional bushes, benefit from summer pruning in late June. All this involves is cutting all new side-shoots back to about 4in (10cm) long. The branch leaders are left until the early winter when they are shortened by about a third.

Red currants, too, have received a lot of attention as regards new varieties, many coming from the Continent.


Red Lake

Now the main commercial variety and excellent for gardens.



A variety with very long strigs (name for a string bearing currant berries). An exceptional variety for the show-bench — it always wins!


Jonkheers van test

An early variety (late July) from Holland. Heavy crops on long bunches.



Avariety from East Mailing Research Station in Kent and not yet generally available. Heavy crops excellent for red currant jelly. Worth waiting for.


'White Versailles' white currantsWhite Versailles

The standard white variety. White Pearl An alternative white variety.


Red currants are pleasantly free of serious pests and diseases; greenfly are probably the most significant, unless you count birds. Blackbirds and thrushes will quickly strip the berries showing colour so netting or a chemical deterrent are needed.

16. May 2011 by admin
Categories: Fruit Gardening, Soft Fruit | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Growing Red and White Currants


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