How to Grow Red and White Currants

The only difference between red and white currants is the colour of the fruit. Both types of currant have a very distinctive, slightly tart flavour, but, unlike many other types of fruit, they have a comparatively short season, around midsummer. Red currants in particular are very attractive, and the bushes can be trained into standards, cordons or fans and used as a decorative feature.

As well as being used as fruit in their own right, both are widely used as decoration on cakes and in a wide range of desserts and savoury dishes.


Both red and white currants prefer a sunny site and a rich, moisture-retentive soil. Plant between autumn and early spring at intervals of 1.2— 1.5 m. Cordons can be 30cm apart and fans can be 1.8m apart. Mulch in spring with well-rotted organic material. Propagate from hardwood cuttings taken in early autumn.

Pruning and training

Initially, prune back all main stems to tour buds, after that, prune in spring and summer, reducing the growth on the new leader by about half and that on laterals to about 8cm/3in in spring and to four or five leaves in summer. Once the bushes are estab­lished, cut back all side shoots to one bud and take the tip out of the main stems.

Let new shoots from the base replace older wood. It you are growing them as cordons, in early spring remove a third of the new growth on the leader and cut back laterals to three buds. In summer cut back all laterals to five leaves.

Harvesting and storage

Pick when the currants are ripe, taking the whole cluster of fruit. They can be frozen or turned into preserves – but remove the stalks first.

Pests and diseases

Birds, which will attack both buds and fruit, are likely to be the biggest problem. Aphids and black currant gall mites may also be troublesome. Grey mould may be a problem and coral spot can affect the branches.

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About the Author: Greenery always attracts Arthur Kunkle. He has a big garden where he plants many fruits and vegetables. His passion for gardening motivates him to write and share different tips on gardening.

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