How to Grow Blackcurrants
Blackcurrant bushes are very simple to grow. They are one of the few soft fruit bushes to like damp soil, but they do need plenty of sun and a sheltered position in the North & Scotland.
Basic Rules of Growing Blackcurrants:
- They fruit well on two and three year old stems, which then become quite unproductive.
- Pruning out some of the best performing 2/3 year old stems each year will keep the new ones coming.
- After Planting: Cut all the stems down to about 2.5 inches.
- Year One: Have a cup of tea.
- Feb-March of Year two: Apply whatever fertiliser you like in a good amount, following their instructions or your own.
Wait for a month and apply one ounce of sulphate of ammonia for about a square metre around the base of the plants.
Enjoy the summer fruits by July!
- Winter of Year Two: Go over the stems, pruning out all the very small and weedy, the rubbing, the hanging, the broken and the diseased.
Every winter happily ever after:
- Remove about 30%ish of the bush from the oldest, most darkly coloured stems - some people remove more.
- Cut them right back to one of the the lowest outward facing buds. It is easiest to then cut all sideshoots off each remaining stem - they can make it bend and latch onto other stems.
- Also pick out all the weak & badly placed or poorly looking stems.
Plants in their prime will produce 8-12lbs / 3.5 - 5.5kg of fruit each year.
You'll see them darken and taste sweet when they are ripe, use scissors to cut them off.
Top Tip: When harvesting, you can also do most of the pruning: just cut out some of the innermost, most heavily fruited stems and take them somewhere more comfortable to be stripped of their fruit: this will make mopping up the rest much easier.
Your plants will need action against aphids and a net is essential to keep the birds off.