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Cultivation Guide – Red and White Currants

Both red and whitecurrants need the same cultural conditions, they will grow well in most soils. Rotted compost added before planting will be beneficial, preferably choose a sunny position. Plant to same depth as lifted at the nursery and make certain that the roots are well spread out. Space 5′ between bush form. 18″ single cordons. 3′ double cordons which can be placed against a fence etc., if space is limited.


The minimum pruning is necessary as the fruit is borne both on the old and new wood. In winter the leaders should be cut back by half to one third, side laterals to 1-2″, to form fruiting spurs.


Early spring a general fertiliser high in Potash (a rose or tomato fertiliser) may he used, but preferably Sulphate of Potash, approximately 2oz to each plant and Sulphate of Ammonia to promote growth if required.


Redcurrants and gooseberries are ideal when grown as cordons and with this form of culture the fruit is easier to pick, usually larger, and easy to protect from birds. Cordons can be planted in a row with a cane for each plant secured to horizontal wires or planted 6″ from a fence or wall etc. Plant single cordons 18″ apart, double cordons 24″ apart and triple cordons 36″ apart. Feeding and general culture is the same as for the bush fruits.


Very simple to prune, in mid June (not earlier) cut back each side shoot to the fourth leaf and tie the leading (upright) shoot to the cane. In the winter or very early spring further cut back the side shoots to the third bud, approximately 11/2″ and then shorten the length of the leader to leave only 6-10″ of the new growth. Once your cordon has reached the height you require, the leader should be pruned in summer to leave 4-5 leaves of the new growth and again in winter to leave only one bud of the new summer’s growth. This maintains the height you require. For single cordons you are pruning 1 leader, double cordons 2 leaders and triple cordons 3 leaders.

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