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How To Propagate Currants From Cuttings

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If you want to grow more currants but don’t want the expense of buying more plants learning how to propagate currants from cuttings is a quick and easy way to expand your fruit garden.

Currants have always been one of my favorite fruits to grow in our garden. They are hardy and fast-growing fruit bushes that do well in many growing zones.

But currants can be hard to find for sale at farmers markets and when you do find the berries for sale they can be pretty expensive.

That makes growing your own currants a great choice for adding fruit to your backyard garden.

Since currants grow well in partly shaded and damp areas of your yard, you can find a place to plant them and save the full sun areas of your garden for vegetables and other fruit.

Young currant plant in a 1 gallon pot. Text overlay says How To Start Currants From Cuttings.

Where To Get Currant Cuttings?

If you have a currant bush growing in your garden already, or have a friend who has some plants you can easily start new plants from cuttings for free! The process is very simple and you can start a new currant bush in a few minutes.

How To Propagate Currants From Cuttings

There are two easy methods of starting currants from cuttings. One uses a mix of older and new wood and the other uses just 1-year-old growth.

Method 1. Removing Full Branches

The first method is to cut one entire stem from the plant right at the base. Of course, make sure that the stem is nice and healthy.

Cut no more than 2 branches off each bush.

Then cut the branch down into 9 to 11 inches (25 to 30 cm) long lengths, leaving 3 to 4 buds at the top of each stem. Then place these into containers or a planting bed.

This way you have a mix of cuttings from older growth and new growth from the past growing season. It does work but I’ve found better results with just using new growth.

Method 2. Cuttings From Last Years Growth

The second way of taking cuttings from currant bushes is my personal favorite. I’ve tried both methods and found that the newer the stem is, the better results I have with it rooting.

Step 1. Take Cuttings

Cutting last years growth branch.
Cut the branch were last years growth meets the older wood.

With this method you don’t cut the entire branch from the bush, instead, you cut off the previous years growth just above where it meets the older wood.

Step 2.

Then cut them into sections 9 to 11 inches (25 to 30 cm) long making sure there is a bud at the top.

Step 3. Remove Extra Buds

Scrape off the buds on the cutting.
Scrape off all but 3 or 4 buds on the top of the branch.

With a sharp knife remove all but the top 3 or 4 buds on the stem.

Step 4. Remove Bark

Scraping the bark off the bottom of the stem to expose the green layer.
Scraping the bark off the bottom of the stem to expose the green layer.

Next gently scrape the bottom of the stem to remove the bark and expose the green layer. This can help the plant to form more roots.

Step 5. Plant Cuttings

Currant cutting in a white foam cup.
Bury the cutting to half its length in pot or in the ground.

Place the cuttings into pots or even large cups like these that have been filled with good quality potting mix.

The cuttings should go into the soil at about half of their length. Then set the cuttings into your greenhouse, cold frame, or an out-of-the-way place.

A tray of red and white currant cuttings.
Red and white currant cuttings.

Keep them watered well, but other than that they don’t need any extra care.

By fall they should have developed enough roots to be transplanted in to your garden. But you can also leave them until the following spring if you like.

Young red currant plant started from cuttings.
Young red currant plant started from cuttings.

What is the best time to propagate currant cuttings?

The best time to propagate currant cuttings is in the spring or late fall. If you are taking cuttings in the fall wait until all the leaves have fallen off the bush and it’s gone dormant.

Spring is my preferred time to take cuttings. If you take currant cuttings in the spring try to do it early in the season before the plant has broken dormancy.

Can I take cuttings from blackcurrants?

Yes, you can take cuttings from blackcurrants as well. The process for starting black currants is the same as red ones.

Why Do You Remove Buds From The Stems?

It’s important to remove all but 3 or 4 buds from the currant stems. This will promote root growth instead of more top growth which can lead to dying back.

The young plants need time to develop a good root system and trying to support a lot of top leaf growth can add too much stress to the plants.

Do I Have To Use Rooting Hormone?

No, you don’t have to use rooting hormones when you take cuttings from currants. Some say they increase the success rate of the cuttings. But I’ve started many plants over the years and have always had a high success rate without it.

If you want to try using it you should be able to get rooting hormone at your local garden center, but if you can’t then you can purchase it online.

When can I transplant red currants?

Currant cuttings should be transplanted once they have developed roots. This could be in the first fall after you started the new cuttings. But it’s ok to wait until the next spring as well.

Currant bushes are very hardy and while some say it’s best to transplant them while they are dormant in the spring or fall I’ve transplanted many successfully in the middle of summer.

Starting new currant bushes from cuttings is a simple process that takes only a few minutes of work. It’s easy to start many new plants every year or as needed to expand your garden or to sell to make extra money.

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