Looking for currant plants/seeds.

hollyrose08January 29, 2014

This is my first time posting on this site so I'm not really sure how it works. My boyfriend and I have been looking into re-landscaping our yard, and decided we wanted to use bushes or shrubs that not only were aesthetically pleasing, but also served another purpose. We decided on White, Red, and Black Currants, but we are unsure where to find seeds or already growing plants in the area. We are located in Saginaw County, Michigan. If anyone could help us out in finding currant plants that would be great!

Thanks, Holly

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Currants are rather unruly bushes, not very defined like most ornamental bushes. Propagation is almost entirely by cuttings. I don't think I have ever seen seeds for sale?
You can buy plants online Google Nourse Farms, Raintree Nursery, and One Green World to start. Remember only to plant blank currants that are white pine rust resistant, it's illegal to do otherwise in Michigan.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:07AM
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Drew, I have quite a few black currants, red, white and pink. They are not unruly and like any other small shrub they can be pruned, as are mine. Actually my black currants are beginning to form a very nice, small hedge. Nourse Farms is one of the best 'berry' farms to purchase currants. Nurseries selling currants will automatically (not ship to given designations of a specific plant and host disease area/state). Do you grow currants, Drew?

Currants to not have pretty leaves that change color in the fall, however, they do stay green for a very long time then turn brown and fall off. What is good about currants is that you will begin your first small harvest in about two years or a year and a half after planting. In order to do anything with your currants you need at least four bushes of black currants, and more of the 'red, white and pink' as they are smaller in size. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 10:43AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Thanks for the input MrsG, mine are grown in a rough environment and are not that pretty compared to many shrubs. I have about 10 plants. No blacks. They fight with the forest environment for resources. i help, but still a struggle for them. I have evergreens here in the city, and they form so well. To maximize currant berry production i don't shape them. I have 2 here in the city, but I'm growing a cordon, not a bush. They were just planted last year. it wil
be a few years before they produce due to pruning to shape.
Here's a photo of one as I form the cordon up the fence. it's almost at the top in the first season.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 11:14AM
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Thanks for the info. I really appreciate it!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 11:14AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Here is Lee Reich's Red Radova codon fully formed. What I'm hoping to acomplish. One currant plant can produce plenty of berries....

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 11:17AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Elderberries are excellent edible and ornamentals. Some of the ornamentals are harder to grow but are beautiful.Here is Black Beauty

Here is Black Lace
[Here is a variegated cultivar

A second different variegated cultivar

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 11:38AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Cornus Mas The dogwood often called the cornelian cherry tree makes a nice hedge. It takes years to form. I'm forming one at my cottage with 14 trees.
Here is one from a park, the hedge on the right is the dogwood.

Here is a close up

The fruit has to be processed, it is too tart raw. here is a close up of ripe berries

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 11:45AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Hollyrose08, whatever you decide on, buy named cultivars or obtain cuttings from named cultivars. Both red and black currants grow extremely easily from cuttings. Seed grown currants will be much inferior to the cultivars people have spent years on developing for optimum yield, habit, berry size and flavour. Don't buy anything simply labelled 'red currant' or 'black currant'. As another poster said, red and white currants make good cordons and fans which can be productive and attractive. Blackcurrants are a different species, fruit on new wood and do not make good cordons. However, they can easily be kept at three to four feet high and wide since they need pruning every year anyway.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 1:03PM
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My favorite place to shop for currants and gooseberries is Whitman Farms. Lucille has an enormous selection and is very candid about the virtues and shortcomings of the varieties. Her plants are excellent bareroot specimens at a good price. As noted, be aware that pruning of red and black varieties is different. They are very easy to propagate. either by pegging or simply planting your spring prunings.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 2:15PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I have to try black currants at some point myself. Good Luck with it! Good advice about making sure it has a name! Like Rovada Red currant, Jonkheer Van Tets red currant, Pink Champagne Currant, White Imperial Currant, or Primus White Currant. Those are all decent btw.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 3:51PM
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You will see a lot of talk about white pine blister rust. you should know that the rust has recently mutated and now infects many immune and resistant varieties. It's a very complex disease with a great story. Currants are still worth growing, but keep an eye on five needled pines in the area.
Here is the link to an article I wrote about the disease if you want to know more

Here is a link that might be useful: Article

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 8:22AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Pandora's box is open, we will not give up the plants now.
I can't find any possible preventative either. I guess if one sees orange rust, or severe leaf spotting, one should destroy the bushes. I currently use sulfur to prevent cane dieback, which is in epidemic proportions in the USA. It won't help with rust.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 9:34AM
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Americanchestnut! The article was excellent. I have often wondered, owning houses from Maine to RI, why I could not have currants shipped to very southern Maine (no pine tree industry there), but I could have them shipped to RI. Now many berry farms ship currants anywhere. I have no white pine in my immediate vacinity, so I hope I am OK with the bushes I have. It is interesting to find out about how it was discovered that the wilds currants were the problem with white pine blister rust. One of the largest suppliers of berries is in MA, and they are but hours from my home in RI. I have bought my currants from them and others (that are farther away). Will we see the ban back in print soon? Many thanks Mrs. G

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 11:16AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I'm surprised they sold you black currants as they are banned in RI.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 11:54AM
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NYC_FruitKing(New Rochelle, NY, Zone 6)

Like it was mentioned above, propagating currants is best done through dormant hardwood cuttings, something about a foot long and no thicker than a pencil will do. However you're better off buying an established plant and planting it during the fall if you want fruit asap, planting it any other time of the year works too though. Relatively undemanding plants, will grow in poor soil but responds very well to organic fertilizers and composted manure/compost, just don't over-fertilize them. If it's a nice landscaping hedge that isn't just for looks that you're looking for, elderberries are a great choice too. I myself just bought a 3-gal Cherry Red currant from ediblelandscaping and am expecting some good fruit this upcoming July. Their website has a growing guide and facts of each variety they sell and I'm sure they'll ship to Michigan :)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 5:00PM
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Drew, black currants are not banned in RI. You know a lot but not all. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 5:10PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

"Drew, black currants are not banned in RI. You know a lot but not all. Mrs. G"

So the law has changed since 2004?
Best tell Raintree and other nurseries as they won't sell them to you.

The cultivated black currant (Ribes nigrum L.) or any variety of this species is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and it shall be unlawful for any person to possess, transport, plant, propagate, sell or offer for sale, plants, roots, scions, seeds or cuttings of these plants in the State of Rhode Island. - Chapters 42-35, 42-17.1, and 2-17 of the Rhode Island General Laws.

Excerpt from your state law as of December 29th 2004
Grease my palm, and I won't say anything :)

Here is a link that might be useful: RI Department of Environmental Management

This post was edited by Drew51 on Fri, Jan 31, 14 at 19:39

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 7:28PM
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Drew, if one does not live in specific areas of the state it is just fine to grow currants here. They are sold in our nurseries as well. In other areas you might need a permit. Let the bone go.

D) The following towns or parts of towns in th
e State of Rhode Island have been set aside as
W h
ite Pine Bliste
r Rust contro
l are
a s
: Burrillv
ille except f
o r the clo
s ely b
u ilt up d
i stricts
(as defined by Section 1, definition 16 of
the Motor Vehicle Laws of Rhode Island,
published in 1927) in the village
of Pascoag and Harrisville, th
at part of North Sm
lying west of the city line of W
and the state highway known as the Farnum
Pike (R-104), Glocester, Foster, Scituate,
Coventry, W
e st Gr
eenwich, Goddard Memorial
Park in the town of Warwick and that part
of Exeter lying west
of the state highway
known as Nooseneck Hill Road (R-1 A) and
the possession and planting of all plants,
roots, scions, seeds or
cuttings of the genus
in these areas prohibited.

This post was edited by MrsG47 on Fri, Jan 31, 14 at 20:19

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 8:16PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Everybody can read it for themselves. It is very clear no black currants are allowed in RI. As it appears many nurseries read it like I do. Including Raintree, Burpee, and Henry Fields. None of these nurseries will ship black currants to RI. The other rules are for other species of Ribes. it appears flowering currants are also banned. Three species of currants are named and banned. Red currant is not named Ribes rubrum. White and pink are also Ribes rubrum. They are sports of the red.
Rubrum is not banned I agree. It is restricted though. What you quote is an area no currants are allowed. Ribes species other than Ribes nigrum L, Ribes aureum and Ribes odoratum can be grown.
You can't ignore the clear statement I quoted. Well I guess you did. I really have nothing else to say on the subject. The document speaks for itself. I side with the nurseries on this one.
We can agree to disagree. Everybody can read it if they care and make their own minds up what it says, If I was you, I would keep growing them, just pull if they become diseased.
Even though we can grow rust resistant blacks in MI. I'm hesitant to do so. I have 12 currant plants or so, they are all Ribes rubrum. No blacks. Now with this article 'I'm even more apprehensive. I would like to try, but man, we have a lot of white pine around. I'm still up in the air, I may grow them in the future. I want to see what the state of MI says about this fairly new strain of fungus first.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Sat, Feb 1, 14 at 0:44

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 12:29AM
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