[NAFEX] Rooting black currants

Douglas Woodard dwoodard at becon.org
Mon Jun 28 17:02:12 EDT 2010

 From memory of reading, the classic time for rooting gooseberries from 
cuttings is to take cuttings and plant them as soon as the leaves have 
fallen and the plant is dormant in the fall, say about two weeks after 
leaf fall. I have rooted Poorman gooseberries this way on heavy 
Lansdowne clay at the east end of Lake Ontario. I believe the cutting 
length is supposed to be 8 inches or a little more, though somewhat 
shorter cuttings have worked for me.

 From memory, make the cut about 45 degrees, remove all the buds except 
the top three and leave only those buds exposed above ground. I would 
plant the cutting on an angle of about 30 degrees.

I believe this technique applies to currants also.

Ribes is said to start growth especially early in the spring, so fall 
planting is helpful.

I have read that some older European gooseberries are reluctant to root 
and were normally grafted, if memory serves, often on Ribes aureum. I 
expect that the more recent crosses with good disease resistance would 
have some North American ancestry and would root more readily, but this 
is speculation.

My inclination would be to plant the cuttings in soil that was well 
drained but moist and safe from drying out, and not too exposed to harsh 
sun. I expect that near a north wall would be ideal. I think that a 
reasonably high organic matter content would be desirable.

I believe that layering is a widely used method of propagating Ribes.
Black and red currant plants that I have bought in recent years look to 
have been grown from cuttings, but gooseberries seem to have been 
layered. I have bought only a few plants, mostly from one grower.

The recently bred gooseberry Hinnonmaki Yellow from Finland is said to 
have a drooping growth habit and to tip-layer naturally.

Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

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