Black currants

Ben Sarek & Ben Hope 3rd year zone 5b
Ben Connan blossoms

Cold Hardy Fruit Trees and Products for Sale

Please check our shipping dates

Restrictions: State laws prohibit our shipping red, white, and pink Currants to North Carolina, West Virginia. The black currants and possibly jostaberries are prohibited in the states mentioned above, as well as Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

Delaware requires customer/importer to obtains a permit for red, white, and pink currants.
Maine prohibits red, white and pink currants as well as gooseberries in: Androscoggin, Cumberland, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, and parts of Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Aroostook, and Washington. See map.
Massachusetts requires us to request a permit for your order, issued by the Division of Crop & Pest Services ((tel: 617-626-1801/fax: 617-626-1850) for red, white and pink currants, so there may be a slight delay in shipping your order. Jostaberries are not permitted. Gooseberries are permitted.
Michigan requires a permit for all black currants. Some red, white, and pink currants, along with gooseberries, do not need a permit, depending on location and variety. See map at end of document.
New Hampshire requires a permit to be applied for by the customer. No fee.
New Jersey requires the grower of black currants to purchase an annual permit with two annual inspections a year. New Jersey's requirements for red currant and gooseberry stipulate that neither species can be planted in Montague, Sandyston, Walpack and Vernon Townships in Sussex County; West Milford, Ringwood Borough and Wanaque Township in Passaic County, and Jefferson Township in Morris County.

Currants and gooseberries are generally self-fertile, and 5' width is a good rule of thumb. For more information, see,, Organic Black Currant Production Manual and German Trial of approx. 200 cultivars (in German) with the help of Google Translate.

Plants may be shipped in 2.5" pots or bare root. Size of plant shipped varies according to variety and availability.


Black Currants

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Ribes nigrum Ben series of black currants from the Mylnefield Research Station in Scotland, estimated to account for 50% of global production. Shipped plants are at least 4" tall and well rooted in 2.5" pots. USA Gardener recommends pruning the canes back to 2 buds to promote vigorous growth. See Organic Black Currant Production Manual for more information. Check out a few recipes here.

Ben Connan
This is an early variety of black currant with large berries that was released by Mylnefield specifically for the fresh market. It is high yielding and shows even and uniform ripening. It has large, deep black berries (187 Connan berries vs. 206 Lomond berries in 250 grams fruit) with a pleasant acid/sweet flavour. Of medium size, its compact growth habit makes it suitable for both mechanical fruit harvesting, u-pick farms and the home garden market. Great for fresh eating, jams, preserves, canning but needs to be harvested good and ripe for best sweetness. Low incidicence of infection to White Pine Blister Rust (WPBR). Not best suited for commercial juice production.

Ben Hope
Ben Hope is widely planted commercially in Britain for several reasons. It is a tall, vigorous and upright plant with genetic resistance to black currant gall mite. Fruit is easy to mechanically harvest since the plant is taller and the fruit is at the right height on the plant. Yields are consistently high with medium sized currants that are good for juicing. It has good resistance to both mildew and leaf spot. Ben Hope is also suited for the fresh market because of its larger berries and good flavour. It ripens in mid-season.

Ben Sarek
Another good cultivar for the fresh market with high yield and large berries. It forms a small, compact bush (3' tall) of medium vigour and would be suitable for the grower looking for high yield per unit area. Easy to manage and harvest. Early ripening. Fair resistance to White Pine Blister Rust. Not generally used with mechanical harvesting or for commercial juice operations.

Ben Tirran
This is a high yielding (15,100 lb/ac), late cultivar with pleasant tasting medium sized berries. It flowers a little later than other Ben series black currants so it has reasonable tolerance to spring frosts. Growth habit is upright and vigourous. Fruit is suitable for both juice and jams, for commercial and u-pick operations, and home gardens. Susceptible to WPBR but good resistance to mildew.

Tiben is known for its high yield, high levels of anthocyanins and vitamin C as well as its even ripening, upright growth and resistence to mildew. It is reported to be relatively resistant to White Pine Blister Rust in Poland. In comparative yield studies it was shown that Tiben recorded higher yields than 'Ben Lomond' (both medium-late). 'Tiben' ('Titania' × 'Ben Nevis') also had strong growth and a resistance to powdery mildew [Sphaerotheca mors-uvae] similar to 'Titania' (from Organic Black Currant Production Manual

Chernaya Lisovanko
Ripens mid season. Originally from Russia, this cultivar is a vigorous grower that produces brilliant red foliage in the fall.

Ribes odoratum Crandall
A native American fruit introduced in 1888. Vigorous plants grow 8' tall, producing large, juicy berries. Ornamental, fragrant, large yellow flowers bloom mid season. Fruits late. Resistant to White Pine blister rust and cane blight.

Red Currants


How to grow red currants

Ribes rubrum Rovada was introduced from Holland in 1990. It produces heavy crops of large translucent berries born in long clusters. It can be eaten fresh or processed into sparkling red jams or jellies (pictured at left). USDA zones 3-7.

Ribes rubrum Jonkeer Van Tets Red Currant was introduced from Holland in 1941. An early bearing variety, it can be eaten fresh or processed into bright red jams or jellies. It is resistant to mildew, but blossoms may freeze during late frosts. USDA zones 3-7.

Ribes rubrum Detvan from Slovakia, mid season harvest

Ribes rubrum Red Lake from the Minnesota Fruit Breeding Farm, 1920, released in 1933, though not originally from North America. High yields, fruit is very large and of good quality with high juice content, mid season harvest but susceptible to mildew, and not have much tolerance to late spring frost.

Ribes rubrum Rolan from the Netherlands, early season harvest

Ribes rubrum Roseta from the Netherlands, mid season harvest

Ribes rubrum Rotet from the Netherlands, mid season harvest

Ribes rubrum Tatran from the Slovakia, 1985, late season harvest

White Currants

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Ribes rubrum White Pearl white currants are pictured at left. Originally from Holland, this upright shrub grows 3'- 4' tall and features abundant clusters of sweet and flavorful berries for fresh eating. They make a delicious jelly as well. USDA zones 3 - 7.

Ribes rubrum White Imperial currants produce clusters of sweet, transluscent berries that ripen mid season. An old variety that was introduced in 1895, Imperial grows 3-4' tall. Delicious in jams or jellies, they can also be eaten fresh. USDA zones 3 - 7.

Ribes rubrum Primus grows as a compact bush with long fruiting clusters with a late season harvest. It is a Slovakian cross of Heinemann's Rote Spatlese X Red Lake 1977. Some say it is the sweetest currant. Yields are high but not as spectacular as Blanka. Flowers earlier than Blanka so frost may be more of a problem. Susceptible to mildew. USDA zones 3 - 7.

Ribes rubrum White Versailles is a mid season ripening white currant which originated in France in the 1880's.

Pink Currants

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Ribes rubrum Gloire des Sablons available in 2016 (pictured at left).

Ribes rubrum Pink Champaigne plants are disease-resistant to mildew and rust. They produce beautiful translucent pink fruit late in the season on vigorous upright plants. USDA zone 3-7. Ripens in July. Self-pollinating.

Additional varieties drop us a note let us know what interests you:

black currant:
Consort early mid-season, medium-small berries, fair in productivity, susceptible to leaf spot and extremely susceptible to mildew, but resistant to WPBR.
Vigorous, disease desistant, English variety. Large berries. Compact, dense form. Outstanding flavor. Moderately thick skin.
Black September English variety. Firm, large, sweet and juicy berries. Aromatic and flavorful, fruit ripens in late July. Very hardy and disease resistant. Upright growing shrub.

red currant:

white currant:

Blanka late season harvest, Very heavy yields of large berries, good shelf life, very long clusters and some resistance to spring frost but susceptible to mildew. Spreading growth habit, green and red foliage, v Heinemann’s Rote Spatlese x Red Lake – Fruit Res. Breeding Inst., Bojnice, Slovakia, 1977
pink currant:
Gloire des Sablons Produces long clusters of beautiful pink fruit. Productive, vigorous plant.


Plant into heavily composted soil, approximately 4 feet apart. Currants are heavy feeders and do not do well in marginal soil. Keep the bushes well watered especially the first year, and mulching is beneficial. Higher yields when planted in full sun, but afternoon shade in warmer climates might be beneficial. Will also grow in full shade.

Currants are self-pollinating.

Currants only fruit on wood produced the previous year. After planting, cut the shoots down to leave about 2 buds above ground level. This will encourage a strong root system to develop. Do not cut away any shoots the following winter. In the third or fourth winter, cut some of the old wood out of the bush and any crossing or crowded shoots, to make room for new shoots the following year. As a general rule, it is best to cut out a third of the old wood each year, making the cut as close to the soil level as possible.

Red Currants
Redcurrants produce fruit on three-year-old wood, with Rovada cropping on younger wood.




Unless otherwise noted, gooseberries are hardy to zone 3, and should be planted 3-4 feet apart.

Ribes Black Velvet, a Red Champagne Gooseberry x Worcesterberry (Ribes divaricatum from the Pacific northwest) cross. Grape sized fruit and impressive growth. Produces heavy yields of dark red fruit. Features outstanding flavor and a beautiful berry color. Complete resistance to mildew. Zones 4a-8b but trials are being conducted in zone 3a with success so far.

Ribes Captivator Almost thornfree, mildew resistant, sweet purple fruit.

Ribes Hinomaki Red This Hinnomaki cultivar from Finland is sweet and flavourful. Heavy crops of red medium sized fruit are borne on upright plants that have good mildew resistance.

Hinnomaki Yellow is unavailable this year, but drop us a note if you're interested.

Ribes Invicta is considered by some to be the best gooseberry available in North America. Originally from England, 1983, it produces very large green-yellow berries that can be eaten fresh when fully ripe, or used in pies, jams and jellies.

Ribes Jahn's Prairie This cultivar is an Alberta native! It was selected in 1984 by the late Dr. Otto Jahn from native gooseberries growing in the Red Deer river valley. Found to have good mildew and mold resistance, it produces large (3.8g) dark red fruit that are comparable to European dessert gooseberries.

Ribes Jahn's Prairie This cultivar is an Alberta native! It was selected in 1984 by the late Dr. Otto Jahn from native gooseberries growing in the Red Deer river valley. Found to have good mildew and mold resistance, it produces large (3.8g) dark red fruit that are comparable to European dessert gooseberries.

Ribes hirtellum Jeanne is a late-ripening, dark red, dessert gooseberry eaten fresh or used in baking and preserves. It tends to be spreading, growing to 5' x 5', and has single, nodal thorns. The leaves and fruits of ‘Jeanne’ are highly resistant to powdery mildew. Self pollinating. More info.

Ribes uva crispa Tixia™has an upgright, vigorous growth habit producing many large, bright red berries. This semi-thornless, 3-5' tall, mildew resistant cultivar originated in Rafz, Switzerland. Berries can be eaten fresh, or used in baking and preserves. Self pollinating.


Ribes Jostaberry grows to 6 feet tall and is thornless. It features a large black berry slightly larger than a black currant and smaller than a gooseberry. "Josta" is a combination of the German words for blackcurrant and gooseberry, and is indeed a cross between the two. Thorn-free, vigorous, and disease resistant. High in vitamin C. Delicious fresh or processed. Grows approx 3' tall. USDA zone 3-8.




Ribes Pests


Green worms You may be able to get rid of them by using Castile soap. 1 tbsp per gallon of water. Spray on leaves (top and bottom) and the worms dry up. Might take a few applications. But it's a good cheap fix and doesn't burn the plants.

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