Will my redcurrant grow a leg?

NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 2,814
Hello all,

I jusr finished planting out a load of rasperry canes and blackcurrant bushes, but temporarily put the redcurrant in a pot. Main reason is I run out of space in my newly dug woodland fruit bed.

However, the redcurrant is lacking the usual short ‘leg’ - the roots start directly below a knobbly bit, where you can see some pruning has been done (maybe to try and encourage it to grow one), then the branches start to splay out immediately above the knobbly bit. I was wondering if it will grow a leg in time or continue to look more like a blackcurrant stool? Does being legless matter?

All were from Blackmoor nursery and look healthy enough.

Any thoughts folks?


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,380
    I've always understood that it's better to plant red currants deep and have several stems rather like a blackcurrant 'stool' rather than grow a bush on a 'leg' ... maybe that's the supplier's intention?
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 8,234
    I agree.  When I moved here there was an old redcurrant which had been left to its own devices for a decade or three.  It had grown into a rough circle of shoots about 2m in diameter with very little growing in the centre, so I would say these bushes naturally grow and spread by self-layering or by shoots from below ground so 'stooling' them is probably intentional.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 2,814
    Oh thats interesting, thank you @Dovefromabove and @BobTheGardener. I was going by the supplier’s own label which said ‘bushes are grown on a short leg’, the advice on my RHS book ‘Growing Fruit’ - again on a short leg ‘like a miniature apple tree’ and the fact I recalled the bush in my last allotment was on a leg... thats why I was somewhat confused by this one. It was a bare root plant that I soaked before potting it up (stupidly I didnt look closely enough to ascertain the original soil level before soaking). Heres how its looking today now the stems have dried out a bit, do you think when I plant it in the ground I should bury the knobbly part?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,380
    I would  :)
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 2,814
    Yes, I think I will, thanks! I must say Blackmoor’s labelling and planting instructions were confusing in general. I bought Ben Sarek blackcurrants as it was meant to be a compact plant you could space at 45cm, but their plant label said space at 1m and the swing tag 1.5m - so I ended up spacing them wider than planned, hence running out of space for the redcurrant. Ah well, yet more digging to do to extend the bed  :/
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 654
    I also have 30+ year old redcurrents and they don't have any "leg" they are just a mass of stems coming out in a small circle, they've layered themselves over the years and it's very hard to see where the  original plants were.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 2,814
    Thanks Skandi, wow, 30 year’s old - i look forward to tasting my first redcurrants from my legless plant!
  • I have been offered done redcurrents and white-currents from a friend as long as I dig them up. I plan to do it over the Christmas break. 

    Two questions, is it vital I dig deep to get the main root and secondly do they need any special preparation for replanting?

    thanks and merry Christmas 
  • Hello Richard, ideally get as much root as possible but it is not critical. If you don't get too much root then prune the top back a bit to match. I'd check with your friend though if they know of any particular soil borne diseases they have.
    You could take cuttings this time of year, though you won't then get any fruit for a couple of years. 12" stems half buried should do the trick.
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