Black currants, also known as Ribus nigrum, grow to a height of 6 feet and are hardy to grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 2 and higher. Propagating the black currant bushes will give you a steady supply of black currant fruit. People grow black currants to use in pastries, jams, jellies, wine or to eat straight from the tree. Take cuttings the third week of October, or after the leaves have turned brown and have begun to fall off.
Dig with a spade or shovel, a temporary location for your black currants to grow for one year. The area should have partial shade during the day. Make the trench 6 inches deep and 4 inches wide. Add a handful of bone meal at the bottom and scratch it into the soil at the bottom of the trench. The length of the trench depends on how many black currants you are propagating. Space each cutting 8 inches.
Amend the soil with 3 inches of compost.
Examine the black currant to find a healthy stem. Choose a stem that is old wood or brown in colour. You don't want green wood or new wood for your cutting. Measure at least 10 inches from the tip of the stem down. With pruning shears, cut the stem just below the leaf bud. Each stem should have 6 or more leaf buds.
Insert the black currant cutting into the trench with the cut side at the bottom of the trench, but leave the top two leaf buds above the surface.
Cover the stems with the amended soil and firm the soil in place. Don't press the soil so hard that you damage any of the leaf buds.
Water the soil thoroughly to a depth of 10 inches. To conserve moisture, add an inch of mulch around the cuttings. During the spring and summer months, keep the soil moist. Grow the black currant cuttings in this location for one year, before transplanting them into their permanent location.
- "American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants"; Christopher Brickell; 2004
- "Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening"; J.I.Rodale; 1999
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