Currant

Currants grow on a thornless shrub that produces clusters of white and yellow flowers in the spring.

This many-stemmed, thornless shrub with three-inch lobed leaves and summer fruit that's ideal for jellies, preserves and syrups is an attractive addition to any landscape theme. Growing to five feet high and wide, currants produce drooping clusters of creamy white or yellow flowers in spring, followed by beautiful white, red or black sweet-tart fruits. (Note: black currants have five times (by weight) the vitamin C content of oranges.)

How to use it: Use as a foundation planting, in containers, such as large tubs, espaliers, in perennial borders or grown as a hedge. Because of its thick, bushy shape and branches that tend to sag to the ground, plants established under younger currant bushes are usually snuffed out eventually.

Cultivation: Currants prefer a healthy neutral soil with a pH of 5 to 7, but will tolerate heavy or sandy soil. Red currants are more sensitive to growing conditions and improve with the addition of compost and well-rotted manure. Since fruit is born on new wood, annual pruning of old canes is recommended. Easy to start new plants from one- to two-foot cuttings. Currant worms (gooseberry sawfly) can defoliate bushes.

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