Red Currant- Zone 3
Characteristics of the tree
Red currant bushes produce clusters of vibrant red fruit that are great for eating or making juices. It is one of the only fruit trees that can grow well in semi-shade.
Red currants are shiny red berry-like fruit averaging 6 mm in diameter. They hang on the plant in clusters of up to 20 berries. Their red skin has rib-like lines and is almost translucent, showing the seeds within. (The seeds are tiny and imperceptible when eaten).
The flavour is a combination of sweet and tart that is very pleasant when eaten fresh, and a popular component of many commercial juice mixes. Red currants are also a versatile ingredient in cooking, most popularly in cakes, puddings, syrups and jellies.
The red-currant shrub is on the small side, about 1 to 1.5 metres tall, with a compact shape. Red currants are native to Western Europe but were brought over to North America for cultivation long ago and have since naturalised in many areas, particularly the north-eastern United States and much of eastern Canada.
These low-maintenance plants do well in most soils but are most comfortable in moist, well drained locations like their natural habitats along riverbanks and damp shady broadleaved forest.
Red-currants can grow in full sun or partial shade, but in hot summer climates will be significantly happier with good afternoon shade. The harvest takes place during July and August. While a plant may take 4 to 5 years to become fully established and reach fruit-bearing potential, yields can be up to 3 to 4 kg per plant over the harvest period.
The red-currant shrub remains relatively small, measuring up to 1.5m (5ft) in height at maturity. It usually begins to give fruit in the first 2 years after planting, and lives for up to 30 years.
You should note that this illustration is meant only to give a general indication of what you can expect, and the growth of your shrub might look somewhat different. The development of a tree depends on the soil type, irrigation, fertilisation and climatic conditions. What we show here is based on our observation of the growth of red-currant bushes in zone 4, in rather poor soil. In zone 2, growth will probably be slower, while in a rich soil it could be faster.