Blackcurrants are delicious and relatively easy to grow. These little berries can be used in a wide variety of ways in the kitchen and if you are prepared to share, can also be a pleasure to the birds and other wildlife in your garden.

Growing blackcurrants:

Blackcurrants can be grown in containers or in a garden bed. They are more tolerant of heavy soils than other types of currant and even one bush can give a good yield. One bush is estimated to provide around 4.5kg of fruit. The bushes will produce best in full sun but will tolerate dappled or partial shade. The plants prefer a soil that drains well but is moisture retentive.

Plants are usually purchased as either a container plant or a bare root example. If you are planning on keeping your blackcurrant plant in a container then you should be sure to place crocks at the bottom of the pot to retain moisture. Choose a container that is at least 45-50cm in diameter.

Whether transplanting to bigger pots or planting out in your garden soil, dig a hole where the plant is to go, spread out the roots and unlike for most bare root plants, plant at least 6cm deeper than it was previously. Planting the blackcurrants deeply encourages strong, vigorous shoots to form from the base. Add a good quantity of good garden compost and firm the soil well around the plant before watering in.

It may seem a bit brutal, but it is best, if you have planted a bare-root example, to cut back the entire plant to just above ground level so strong new shoots pop up from beneath the soil. By summer, plenty of new fruit forming shoots should have formed and you may have fruit as little as one year from planting.

Fruit will ripen between June and August. With most modern varieties, you will be able to cut off each strig, or bunch of fruit, once it has turned black, though with older varieties berries ripen at different times on each strig so you may have to pick each individually, which is a bit more fiddly.

Blackcurrants may benefit from the addition of a nitrogen rich organic fertiliser in the spring. A good thick organic mulch or compost layer will help keep weeds down and reduce watering needs.

Why grow blackcurrants in the garden?

Blackcurrants can be used in the kitchen in a variety of different sweet and savoury ways. They can be used in puddings, sauces and preserves or to make fruit juices, alcoholic drinks or cakes. They are a healthy fruit that gives a lot of vitamin C as well as other vitamins. They have health-boosting properties.

Blackcurrant bushes will attract a range of beneficial animal and bird life to your garden. Though you may have to net the bushes from birds when berries ripen if you want them for yourself.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Ribes nigrum