Here is a guide to grow red currants. This deciduous shrub has three main species of Ribes. The red, white currants are the same and the white are actually pinkish in color. They are found in temperate regions and native to Europe and North Africa.
Most Red Currants self-fertilize and produce delicate drooping stem with flower buds. However there are some that are completely sterile. White currants are sweeter and smaller in size than red currants.
Although the white currant is regarded as a different plant it is actually a mutation of the red currant. The fruits have a sweet tarty taste and good source of vitamin C, iron, copper, manganese and vitamin K.
The red currant can grow 3 feet tall with palmate leaves and edible fruits. To start your garden purchase excellent cultivars resistant to mildew.
Uses of Red Currant
They are cultivated for their berries and ornamental properties. Red currant fruit is crushed and made into fruit juice. They are eaten raw, turned into jelly, jam, pies and sauces. The fruit is added to wine, beverages and traditional medicine.
- ornamental plants
- Made into fruit juice
- eaten raw
- traditional medicine
Pests and Diseases
The bush is susceptible to pest attack and diseases. Common pests are borers, mites, aphids, currant worm, gooseberry pest and spider.
Symptoms of disease or infestation are leaf spots, anthracnose and powdery mildew. Treatment includes use of organic pesticides, cleaning and spraying leaves.
- Currant worm
- Gooseberry pests
Information on White and Red Currant
Red Currant requires rich organic soils composite with PH of 6 to 6.5. They need partial shade in the afternoon and morning sun. The plants are hardy and prefer temperatures of 70 to 90F.
Although hardy frost tolerance should not fall below -40F. Use 1inch layer of compost manure and spread around the root. A good companion plant to consider is the Marigold.
The plant emerges from dormancy early spring. You can grow them in a container or plant directly in garden. Introduce mulching to keep soil moist, cool. Prune to remove dead branches as appropriately.
Basic information on White and Red currant
- organic soils composite
- PH of 6 to 6.5
- need partial shade
- morning sun
- prefer temperatures of 70 to 90F
- frost tolerance
- water regularly
- Companion plant Marigold
- emerge from dormancy early spring
- can grow in a container
- Introduce mulching
- prune appropriately
Propagation and Culture
The best culture conditions is warm sun, partial shade and fertile soil. The soil should be well drained and use organic mulch to cool, keep soil moist, control the soil temperature. The ideal propagation technique is hardwood cutting of a year old plant.
Leave at least three buds on the top end and set the cutting in heavy soil in early spring. To grow as bushes space them 5 to 6 feet apart and prune annually for better management, health and increase in yield.
Pruning will stimulate fruit production in 3 year old wood. A renewal pruning technique would guarantee supply of stems for several years. The bush requires high levels of potassium and nitrogen.
This is evident in scorching on leaf margins. They are sensitive to chloride toxicity therefore use ½ ounce potassium per square yard annually to avoid potassium deficiency.
How to Grow Red, White Currant
- hardwood cutting of a year old plant
- Leave at least three buds on the top end
- set the cutting in heavy soil in early spring
- space them 5 to 6 feet apart
- prune annually
- have a renewal pruning strategy
- add ½ ounce potassium per square
- harvest when fruit begin to soften
The best time to harvest is when the fruits begin to soften. To prolong their shelf-life store in refrigerator.