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Alongside blueberries and raspberries, currants are one of the most popular berry bushes in Germany and thrive in your own garden without any problems. Gradually, the trees grow from year to year and with good care you can look forward to a large amount of berries that you can use for numerous dishes. For this very reason, it is interesting for many gardeners to know in which ways the plants can be propagated.

Grow currants

A currant alone in the garden looks a bit sparse, especially if you want a wild hedge that is supposed to grow gradually. The gooseberry family (bot. Grossulariaceae) is one of the trees and shrubs that, even in large numbers in the garden, are not too strenuous for the gardener due to their vigorous growth and undemanding attitude. For these reasons, it makes sense to multiply your own currants in the garden in order to enjoy the plants even more. You can also use the different types of propagation to get a completely new specimen if you are not yet the proud owner of a currant. The following species are suitable for propagation:

  • Red currant (R. rubrum)
  • Black currant (bot. R. nigrum)
  • Mountain currant (bot. R. alpinum)
  • Blood red currant (bot. R. sanguineum)
  • Gold currant (bot. R. aureum)

These species are the typical taxa that thrive in the local latitudes. There are numerous other species that are either not available as seeds or for which it can even get too cold in Germany or Central Europe. If you want to grow currants to get a rich harvest, you should choose the black variety. This ensures the highest and at the same time safest yields, especially if the location of the plant is right. At the same time, all species are quite resistant to pests and diseases if you don't neglect care. Whichever species you choose, propagation is done using the same methods.

Ribes rubrum, red currant

tip: Despite its name, the gooseberry (bot. Ribes uva-crispa) can be propagated in the same way as currants. The reason for this is that it belongs to the Ribes genus, which distinguishes gooseberries with similar vegetative and generative characteristics.

Propagation via cuttings

In the case of currants, propagation via cuttings has proven to be particularly effective. The reason for this lies in the joy of growth of the plants, because the cuttings take root within a short time and in most cases ensure success, even if you are not versed in caring for the plants. Propagation via cuttings is the preferred variant and for this you only need cuttings that have the following properties:

  • Length: 10 to 15 centimeters
  • below and above a bud
  • annual

Make sure that the buds are still present on the cuttings, otherwise the wood cannot sprout again and your attempt will be frustrated. The best time to cut the cuttings is either spring or autumn, because at this time the currants have the greatest amount of juice flowing, which will have a positive effect on the germination and growth of the cuttings. You should only cut the cuttings with sharp, disinfected scissors to avoid infection. These could cost you dearly. Once you have your sticks ready, follow this guide to plant them step by step.


1. To propagate currants, select either spring or autumn. As with cuttings, these times are ideal for propagation. Choose a day without snow to make planting the cuttings easier.

2. The location for the sticks should be a bed or a bucket that is in the shade. No sun is needed until roots are established and plants are transplanted once they are large and vigorous enough. Choose soil that is loose and permeable as a substrate for the sticks. If this is humus, the cuttings can root even more easily. You can mix compost into the soil to improve the soil quality of the bed.

3. Take the sticks and place them close together in the ground. Simply stick them halfway into the ground and fix the location so that the wood is not blown over.

4. Now leave the sticks in the ground until they take root, which can be seen from the first leaf sprouts. On average, this takes a whole season. As soon as the young green shows up, you should carefully remove all the sticks from the ground and check the ends for wound tissue (callus) or roots. Only keep such specimens and dispose of the others in the compost.

5. Now plant them in the desired place or in a larger pot. Observe planting distances of 20 to 30 centimeters from plant to plant and row to row. From this point on you take care of the shrubs in the usual way. The big advantage of this type of propagation is that the young plants are 100% pure.

tip: Propagation using sticks is ideal if you want to raise your Ribes as a standard, where you remove the lower shoots as usual to form a crown. For this form of husbandry you need long rods of the golden currant, which must be rooted and can be used as a base for grafting.

Propagation via offshoots

In addition to cuttings and sowing, propagation by cuttings is another way to propagate your own currants. This happens in spring. Choose a young, annual shoot that can be curled up to the ground from top to bottom. This must not bend and should not be ill or weak.


Once the right shoot has been selected, follow these instructions to propagate your currant using an offshoot:

  • Bend branch to the ground
  • should run in a gentle curve
  • Branch buried in the ground at one point
  • Cover offshoots in front with a layer of sawdust
  • press the earth lightly
  • moisten
  • Maintain mother plant as usual
  • Prepare new location or bucket in autumn
  • Cut off with scissors behind covered offshoot
  • Check cuttings for roots
  • replant

In this way you get a 100 percent single-variety currant that you can plant in the garden without any problems. Propagating offshoots is a good method if you don't have a bed or bucket free at the beginning.

Propagation by sowing

The sowing of currants is listed as the last variant for propagating currants, as this is a difficult subject. The reason for this is the seeds of each strain that you have chosen to grow. Like all plant and animal organisms, sown seeds of Ribes are subject to Mendel's rules, in this case the 2nd rule, the rule of cleavage. In this case, the offspring of the trees are no longer uniform, i.e. according to the original variety, but can combine characteristics of other varieties or represent a completely different variety. This is especially the case with currants, which often envy this rule. Reasons for this are:

  • pollinator
  • birds
  • wildlife

In themselves are currant bushes self-pollinating and in most cases would not need to resort to pollinators or animals to expand their population. In this case, however, the harvest would be significantly lower, which many gardeners do not want. For this reason, it is often recommended to plant several different varieties together so that they can pollinate each other and thus significantly increase the number of fruits. At the same time, this form of pollination ensures that the varieties exchange their genetic material with each other, resulting in a completely different variety in the next generation. You have to consider this problem if you are interested in propagating the gooseberry family: Only in exceptional cases will you get exactly the variety you have sown. You must also consider the following disadvantages of sowing:

  • lower yield
  • weaker taste
  • more often sour in aroma

In many cases, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages when propagating the shrubs, since the results are only satisfactory in a few exceptions.


If you do not use cuttings or offshoot propagation yourself or are curious to see which variety will appear, nothing stands in the way of using seeds. For this you only need seeds, which cost on average between two and four euros per 15 to 20 seeds. These prices are independent of the species as long as it is local. When propagating seeds, it is best to use R. nigrum, as these achieve the greatest success and are not quite as intensely acidic as other variants. Alternatively, you can remove the seeds from the berries, free them from the pulp, wash and dry them. You will then follow these sections that will explain how to grow currants from seed.


1. Begin by stratifying the seeds. This means a cold stimulus that increases the germination capacity of the seeds. Before winter, the seeds are either packed in a freezer bag with sand, moistened and sealed well in the refrigerator or sown directly in the bed in a mixture of compost and soil. The compost should be moist enough so the seeds don't start to dry out over the winter.

2. Check over the winter, the best period for stratification is from December to February, every now and then the sand or soil. If necessary, moisten them a little so that the seeds do not dry out. That would not be good for the currants.

3. Wait until spring, March or April depending on the temperatures in your area. Unpack the seeds and sow them in the bed. The space should meet the location requirements of currants as described above.

4. When the first seedlings appear, wait until the first pairs of leaves have formed. Then look at the individual plants and discard those that appear weak or dry. You should also dispose of shot specimens.

5. From this point on, you don't have to do anything else, apart from maintenance. Currants are very robust and grow without problems in most cases. If necessary, you can even plant the specimens in the tub if you want portable shrubs.

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