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A picture of a Blackcurrant

Blackcurrant

Ribes nigrum

Also known as

European Black Currant, Cultivated Black Currant

Ribes nigrum, 2006-07-31 by Lithuanian Wikipedia (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy

4a-8b

USDA zone

-34°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

2m

Max

1.5m

50cm

Min

50cm

4 years to reach maturity

Fruiting

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

The wild variety of Blackcurrants need the berries to be harvested individually as they do not ripen at the same rate, however, there are some cultivars that are designed for easy harvesting. The berries do not store well for very long and so should be eaten as soon as possible. They can, however, be frozen or cooked to make them last longer.

More images

Zwarte bes (Ribes nigrum)

Overview

The Blackcurrant is a deciduous shrub that is grown for its small, edible, black berries which are high in Vitamin C as well as containing other vital minerals. Though the berries are quite tart to eat raw they are a common occurrence in jams, cordials and desserts. They are thought to have some medicinal properties that help people with adrenal problems as well as fatigue. Growing Blackcurrants can be a commitment as they usually have to be 4 years old before they start to fruiting. and need regular pruning to keep the shrub in a productive shape.

Common problems

Gall Mite, Blackcurrant Leaf Curling Midge

Propagation

Seed

Seeds need to be soaked for 24 hours (Removing the floating ones) and stratified in the fridge for 3 months. After stratification, plant the seeds individually into small pots and put them into a cold frame. Once the seedlings have a set of true leaves then move them to a sunny area of the garden.

Cuttings

Blackcurrants take well to hardwood cuttings. These should be taken during the dormant stage of the plant. Cut approximately 30cm off of the tip of a healthy Blackcurrant branch and place it into a tall plant pot. The branch should be at least 1 year old and have many leaf buds on it.

Special Features

Wet sites

Attractive fruits

Attracts bees

Attractive flowers

Flowers range from pale pinks to deep pinky reds.

Uses

Edible

The fruits can be eaten raw or made into jams, cordials, as well as desserts.

Medicinal

The berries can be eaten raw or Ribes nigrum extract can be purchased and taken as a homoeopathic medicine