How to Propagate Gooseberries by Division

Updated November 21, 2016

Though they were once quite popular, gooseberries have fallen out of favour in recent years. Consequently, they are not widely grown commercially and those wishing to plant them may have difficulty locating healthy specimens. However, you may find gooseberry bushes flourishing around small, family-run farms and abandoned properties. Once a suitable plant is located, gooseberries can be easily propagated by division -- an asexual reproductive method in which a healthy shrub is removed from the soil, separated at the roots and replanted.

Dig a shallow moat around the perimeter of the shrub with a sturdy garden spade. When the circle is complete, push the blade under the plant and press down on the handle, lifting the entire gooseberry shrub from the soil while disturbing the roots as little as possible.

Pull the shrub into two or more pieces, making sure each portion includes both roots and shoots. Root masses that are particularly difficult to pry apart can be severed with a small knife.

Dig one hole for each division, making each opening wider and deeper than the current root structure. Leave 3 to 5 feet of space between plants.

Plant the divisions in their new homes. Surround each newly planted shrub with a 3-inch layer of mature compost or organic mulch, then water thoroughly. Keep the soil at the planting site moist for one to two weeks or until the divisions begin to show clear signs of new growth.


For the best results, perform divisions in the early spring while the shrubs are still dormant.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden spade
  • Mature compost or rotted manure
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About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.