Complete guide on the cultivation of gooseberry (Ribes rubrum L.)

Today we are talking about the cultivation of the currant, an appreciated red fruit or fruit of the forest that is really little consumed due to its great delicacy and its scarcity? … The scarcity is something relative, because in reality it is a fruit that can be cultivated with relative ease always attending to specific climatic and soil characteristics that we will expand on later.


It is a shrub that, according to varieties, can exceed 1.5 m in height if allowed to wild. In any case, if we want it to collect the appreciated gooseberries and we keep it controlled, the normal thing is that we do not let it rise too much, being the most normal thing to control it at a height of no more than 1 m.

Curiously, we are very used to tropical fruits such as papaya, mango, and pineapple and we do not realize totally native fruits such as currant, crops that we do not have to bring from afar. The currant is a crop whose distribution and cultivation is mainly European. However, its prohibitive price makes it not the most typical fruit in Spanish fruit stands. The red and white currant are typical Europeans from different areas, especially from the north in the easternmost area.

We have to differentiate 3 basic types of currant (I think it is not necessary to point out in the photo which one is which one? 😉):

  • Ribes rubrum L .: Red currant (most common and the one shown in the main photo).
  • Wild currants: White currant.
  • Ribes nigrum L .: Black currant.


The currant surpasses it by far. Up to 3 and 4 times more vitamin C than orange. There are many fruits that have more vitamin C than oranges but as this is a fruit of more common consumption, it is considered the queen. If you have currants at home, you have your contribution of vit. C insured! A presentation suggestion that we put you right now.


Although it may seem like a delicate crop due to the appearance of its berries (and especially its price …), the truth is that it is no more than other fruit trees in the forest and, in fact, it supports intense winter cold. Moreover, it not only supports them but also needs them to meet a series of cold hours during the winter slumber, to obtain a good production.


As we just discussed, they need long, cold winters. There is a lot of difference between tolerance and necessity. In this case they need it like many fruit trees in their winter stage. They can withstand temperatures down to -20ºC . Although hardy in winter, its biggest problem arises when the frosts are late and it has already managed to flower. This is when the production suffers from the death of the flower. They can withstand frosts of about -2ºC.


It requires some sun but is usually grown in semi-shade. If the summers are too hot and dry, some shade should be provided towards the afternoon. It has to be protected from the wind. If it is for private cultivation, it is ideal to train it next to a wall or hedge that protects it from the prevailing winds of the area, if any.


The composition of the soil can be very wide in terms of tolerance, but its preferred range is defined in the clay-loam soil according to the texture triangle . It must be well drained and the richness in organic matter must be very present, so before planting and during cultivation the soil must be well nourished with nutrients fully available to the plant. Another particular characteristic of their edaphic preferences is the pH.

It should be acidic , around 6, half a point up and down.


Humidity . Considering its origin and geographical distribution, we have to realize that constant humidity is necessary. The padded and drip irrigation are a very good solution to keep the moisture of the soil, especially in the hours of maximum insolation, where evaporation is high.

To maintain an optimal irrigation level, it is very like a programmable irrigation with short and frequent waterings.


If you are going to plant more than one gooseberry tree, you must bear in mind that the separation between plants should be 1 to 1.5 meters. It has superficial and extensive roots, except for some varieties that go deeper, but this is not the case with the most common cultivated ones.

Having previously seen its thermal ranges and weaknesses in terms of late frosts, we must bear in mind that flowering occurs during March and April so this can be a crucial piece of information when it comes to knowing if the crop will occur in your area. Pro, do not shrink if you think you can cultivate it even with a little more work or difficulty, either due to excessive cold or heat.

If your intention is commercial production, the gooseberry can be trellised for better production.

Pruning is essential. We have to balance the whole plant by making severe and fearless cuts in old branches without vigor to favor the most vigorous regrowth.

Always taking into account it is a fruit tree whose buds of currant production do not come out of one-year shoots as happens with the vine, so we will have to balance the bush in shoots of 2-3 years that are the productive ones.


The truth is that yes, very easy and in several ways. By layering, division of clumps or cuttings both woody and green. Cuttings are collected in fall and planted in late fall.

The layering is very simple too and gives very good results. It is very easy to root. In any case, it never hurts to ask your nearest nurseryman because he can advise you on the best variety and way to multiply.

Do you dare to grow gooseberries? All the best

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