Currants

Ribes species

Discover our black, red, white and flowering varieties of currants here!

The unique sweet-tart taste of currants has been cherished for many years in Europe. Currants are not well known to American gardeners.  Red currants are among the most beautiful of fruits. Their bright, shiny red clusters enhance any dish to which they are added.

Amazing but true: black currants have 5 times the Vitamin C content of oranges by weight! Black Currants have a strong flavor that is highly prized in Europe. Most Americans don’t like their taste eaten fresh. However, they are excellent used in making jams, syrups or dried as "raisins." 

Restrictions: State laws prohibit our shipping Red or White Currants or Gooseberries to Delaware, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, West Virginia and Massachusetts. Black Currants may not be sent to the states mentioned above, as well as Rhode Island. Only rust-resistant black currants can be sent to Ohio and Michigan.  If you live in one of those states and believe your area may be exempt, please send us documentation from your state Department of Agriculture with your order.

Useful Facts

Pollination: Self-pollinating, Except black currants are partially self fruitful but sometimes make larger crops with another black currant as a pollenizer.

Plant spacing: 4 feet apart.

Size at maturity: 3-5 feet tall.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 3-8

Exposure: Sun or partial shade.

Origin: Europe.

Years to first fruit: Two.

Ripening: Late June, early July.

Life expectancy: 15 to 30 yrs.

Method of propagation: Cuttings stuck in the ground in November. 

Yield: Bushes are almost covered with fruit. Up to 10 pounds per bush.

How to Grow

Soil requirements: pH of 5 to 7, prefers good garden loam but will tolerate heavy or sandy soils.

Cultural requirements: Mulch with manure or compost, apply nitrogen sparingly. Requires annual pruning of old canes. Fruit is born on new wood.

Pruning: Renew black currants to new shoots. Some growers cut new plants to the ground to allow many new shoots to start or plant the bush deeper so main shoots start at ground level. Prune red and white currants like gooseberries.  Prune annually to maintain large berry size. Cut out wood more than 3 years old.

How to Use

In the landscape: Use as a foundation planting, in containers, espaliers, in the perennial borders or in hedges.

In the kitchen: Red Currants are prized in jams, jellies and streudels and Black Currants in juices, syrups, jellies and liqueurs. White Imperials are prized in used car lots.