Blackcurrants add an exceptional flavour to many culinary dishes and are common ingredients in jams, yoghurt’s, sorbets, summer puddings and many more. If you have any blackcurrant recipes we would love to see them!
Planting Blackcurrant Bushes
Make sure your site is well prepared for your new bush to allow the best conditions for healthy growth. Remove all the weeds in the area and dig in plenty of manure before planting. Blackcurrant bushes need to be placed in a sunny position, but some varieties can tolerate partial shade. If you are growing blackcurrant bushes in containers, then make sure you re-pot them every 2-3 years.
Watering Blackcurrant Bushes
Blackcurrants thrive in a well drained and moist soil. Try to maintain a consistently moist soil – this is particularly important for container grown plants which are more prone to suffer from drought. However, avoid over watering especially when the fruits ripen as this can cause the skins to split.
How to Prune Blackcurrant Bushes
Blackcurrant bushes flower early in the season, April – May, this means that they are susceptible to any late frost, so it is important to look after them if frost occurs. Only prune blackcurrant bushes in winter months during their dormant season. This will avoid any damage to the stems or fruit.
Blackcurrant bushes require annual pruning. Once planted, cut the stems back to one bud above the ground level or to a strong shoot. After the first season, prune out any thin or weak shoots. In the following years, prune out any damaged or weak shoots before removing 20% of the remaining stems to create an open bush, and encourage fresh new shoots to develop. If your bush is healthy but struggling to produce many shoots, cut down the whole plant to ground level. Blackcurrant bushes generally rejuvenate well if fed and mulched.
Our top picks
Blackcurrant ‘Big Ben‘ is the largest blackcurrant we have ever seen – and with a lovely sweet flavour too. The large, glossy, strong-skinned fruits weigh on average 2.9g each, compared to a weight of 1.1g in standard varieties! The fruits are borne on naturally arching stems for easy picking and are sweet enough to be eaten fresh or used in cakes, jams and crumbles. Also has excellent mildew resistance!
Blackcurrant ‘Ebony’ is the sweetest blackcurrant! This outstanding dessert variety is so exceptionally sweet that it can be eaten straight from the bush when fully ripe. Heavy crops of large, firm currants – each one up to twice the size of a normal blackcurrant – are produced for harvesting from early to mid July. The bushy plants have a slightly open, spreading habit which makes harvesting so easy.
Blackcurrant ‘Ben Connan’ is early cropping, from the beginning of July, and continues to produce fruit over a long cropping period. From the second season onwards each plant will produce over 3.5kg (over 7lb) of fruit and will keep producing for up to 10 years. With excellent mildew resistance and good frost tolerance, this RHS AGM variety really has it all!
Want to try growing a wider range of high-yielding currant bushes including some of the unusual white, pink and red varieties? Visit our hub page for advice on everything you need to know about growing currants.
Terri works in the e-commerce marketing department assisting the busy web team. Terri manages our blog and social media pages here at Thompson & Morgan and is dedicated to providing useful advice to our gardeners. Terri is new to gardening and keen to develop her horticultural knowledge.