Justaberry is a torn-less deciduous fruit bush native to Germany and cross between gooseberries and black currant. First developed by Dr. Rudolph Bauer at the Max Planck Institute in Cologne Germany. It is self-fertile shrub that grows 2m tall.
Slightly larger than black currant, It forms vigorous spineless shrub and can produce 4kg fruit per bush. It is a hybrid that grows, fruits nicely while resistant to diseases.it has deeply veined 3-5 irregular lobes and serrated margins.
It produces beautiful flowers that are bell shaped and small. The fruit produces a nearly black berry that is edible raw or cooked. Jostaberry has a dominant sweet gooseberry flavor mixed with black currant.
It flowers mid spring and ripe fruits appear late summer and well suited for handpicking. Although the bush is torn-less, handpicking makes harvesting labor intensive.
Facts about Jostaberry
- It is a vigorous deciduous shrub
- Grows 2m high
- Prefers full sun, partial shade
- Tolerant to cold temperatures
- Requires protection from wind
- Frost will damage flowers
- Requires well-drained, slightly acidic soil
- Requires high organic content
- Well-drained soil
- USDA Hardiness zones 3-8
There are a few justaberry cultivars to consider. We have the popular cultivar josta, red josta, jogranda and orus 8.
- Red Josta
- Orus 8.
Health Benefits of Jostaberry
Jostaberry is larger than gooseberry and looks like black currant. The unripe fruit is black or red while the ripe fruit turns dark purple. They are full of vitamin C and used to add flavor to dishes.
They are used in jam making, fruit salad, cooked or baked products. Health benefits include immunity boost, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels. It is used to fight aging and prevent cardiovascular disease.
- jam making
- Baked products
They are resistant to black currant leaf spots, white pine blister rust and mildew. While pests that trouble the shrub are birds and gall mites.
It requires well-drained high organic content. The soil could be slightly acidic with good organic mix. The shrub can survive temperatures of -40C and have longevity. The USDA plant hardiness zones 3 -8
How to Grow Jostaberry
The main mode of propagation is by cutting. Jostaberry requires full sun and partial shade. You can purchase bare rooted or potted plants for your garden. Ideal growing season is from December to March.
The soil should have compost, rooted manure and add blood, bone or fish bits. Make sure you plant at same level of the pot and backfill. Space the bushes 5 to 6 feet apart and remove old cranes at ground level.
Use additional fertilizer and mulch to retain soil moisture. Water regularly especially in dry periods. It takes about 1 to 2 years for mature shrubs to bear fruits.
The shrub can stand on its own or grow against a wall. To create an open framework of upright branches prune appropriately. Remove odd shaped or old branches. To harvest pick the fruits by hand individually. Use your refrigerator to preserve them for long periods.