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Black Currants (Cassisima)

Blackcurrants Cassissima Blackbells Lubera

Our blackcurrants are pleasingly robust, require remarkably low maintenance and offer excellent yields.  Not only this, but they are less susceptible or even completely resistant to frost damage, mildew and other diseases. The trend in blackcurrants – at least in our own varieties in the Lubera plant shop – is clearly towards larger as well as sweeter fruits. These blackcurrants taste so intense that they are suitable for making wonderfully aromatic jams, jellies and juices as well as delicious, sweet-tasting fruits, which are best eaten straight from the bush. We would like to briefly introduce some of our most popular varieties at this point, as they are "special" in their very own way, each and every one of them, and precisely for that reason they are among the absolute favourites of our customers in recent years.

The Best Blackcurrants in the Lubera Plant Shop

- The sweetest black currant Cassissima® Noiroma: not only is our Cassissima® Noiroma® particularly resistant to mildew, it is also one of the most sugar-rich cassis varieties, which is especially suitable as a fresh treat for gourmets, eaten directly from the shrub. The slightly lighter leaves are typical of this variety.

- The earliest and largest blackcurrant Cassissima® Black Marble: with our Cassissima® Black Marble you can opt for particularly juicy and above-average blackcurrants, which are ready for harvest at the end of June. The berries, which are up to 14/15 mm in diameter, melt almost by themselves in the mouth due to their jelly-like flesh and they can be perfectly processed into juices and jellies. The Black Marble fruits can also be individually picked and then displayed in a fruit bowl as fruits on their own and not on strings.

   
 
Blackcurrant with red leafs Black'n'Red® Premiere

The first currant with ornamental, red leaves

£20.40 *

Cassissima® Black Marble

The giant of the biggest

From £9.40 *

Cassissima® Blackbells®

The variety with the most beautiful and longest strings

From £9.40 *

Cassissima® Greenlife

Green currants!

£17.90 *

Cassissima® Late Night®

Blackcurrant flavour, even in August

£17.90 *

Cassissima® Neva®

The most beautiful blackcurrant from Lubera

From £8.40 *

Cassissima® Nimue®

The compact blackcurrant

From £8.40 *

Cassissima® Noiroma®

Highly tolerant to mildew; a currant for enjoying fresh

From £8.40 *

Lowberry® Little Black Sugar

Compact, sweet cassis variety

£17.90 *

Moreberry®: black AND green currants in one pot

Blackcurrant Cassissima® Blackbells® and green currant Cassissima® Greenlife; Ribes nigrum

£19.40 *

   
 

- Lubera's most compact blackcurrant Cassissima® Nimue: whether as a shrub or standard tree, our compact growing Cassissima® Nimue®, with a maximum of 80 centimetres (final width and height), still has enough space even in the smallest home garden. Nimue can also be grown well in a pot or container. Thanks to the absolute resistance to powdery mildew this plant keeps its leaves even in the autumn. With its beautiful, yellow-green flowers and fruits that can even be harvested individually from mid-June, it also becomes an ultimate eye-catcher on the garden terrace or the sunlight-flooded balcony of your city apartment.

- Our most vigorous blackcurrant Cassissima® Neva: with its dark green leaves, the particularly upright growing Cassissima® Neva® is one of our most beautiful breeds in terms of appearance. The large, sweet berries hanging from long strings are easy to pick, rather sour than the newest varieties, but thanks to their high yields and fruity acidity they are excellent for preserves, also in combination with other types of fruit. Cassissima® Neva is also one of the few varieties of blackcurrant which, due to the upright, firm growth, is also good as a trellis hedge, e.g. can be trained as a 3-branch trellis.

- Our latest blackcurrant with the added benefit of vitamin C: Cassissima® Late Night® is a particularly aromatic variety whose tart note will last you well into August. The almost endlessly long strings are a real breeding breakthrough, while the extremely long matured blackcurrants are particularly rich in healthy ingredients. This variety, like Cassissima® Neva, is more suitable for processing. Since the berries are rather small in comparison to Blackbells or Black Marble, the proportion of the fruit skin is much larger and here in addition to the vitamin C the anthocyanin content is significantly increased.

 

- The most beautiful of all blackcurrants Cassissima® Blackbells: ten to fifteen berries per string with at the same time particularly upright as well as broad growth of individually or group planted shrubs gives this variety a remarkable appearance. In addition, the Cassissima® Blackbells® with their distinctly sweet berries are also highly tolerant of mildew and delicious eaten right away off the shrub.

- The first blackcurrant with red leaves Black'n'Red premiere: this type of cassis is a veritable breeding breakthrough, as it makes the blackcurrant an ornamental shrub. The leaves turn redder and redder when exposed to sunlight, and from midsummer the entire shrub is dark red in colour. First, it sweetens garden life with its sweet fruits, and after the harvest it transforms into an ornamental shrub. What more can you wish for!

The Right Location for Blackcurrants in the Garden

Since blackcurrants have their origin in the cooler climatic zones of the world, they thrive in northern regions very well, as long as they are placed in as sunny a location as possible, where they are reliably protected during the flowering period against excessive frost. Ideally, choose a suitable place in the garden where the wind does not blow too much. Yes, blackcurrants even grow in the shade (I always had to harvest them as a kid...), but in the sun or partial shade, the sugar content is much larger and the cassis aroma also gains in volume. Blackcurrants tolerate a pH of 5.5 to 7.5, so they can be planted almost anywhere, even the type of soil can vary from heavy to light, if there is no waterlogging. If you have a choice, blackcurrants naturally prefer humus-rich soils, so before planting in a light soil it is still worthwhile to add proper compost or a sack of Fruitful Soil No. 2 – the plant will thank you with much nicer early growth!

Growing Blackcurrants in a Container

Blackcurrants can alternatively grow in a sufficiently large container, which can be quickly placed under protective glass when there are threatening night frosts in the spring months. A pot of at least 30 to 45 centimetres in diameter should be planted with potting soil (Lubera's Fruitful Soil No.1) and a little gravel should be placed in the bottom of the pot to ensure efficient drainage. A portion of Frutilizer® Seasonal Fertiliser Plus (20g per 5 L pot volume), incorporated in the spring, provides the necessary nutrients and if the containers are also watered regularly in periods of dryness, excellent yields can also be achieved with blackcurrant container plantings depending on the variety. Of course, the compact black currant Nimue® and the red-leaved blackcurrant Black'n'Red® Premiere are all in the foreground of the pot cultivation.

Planting Blackcurrants in the Garden

While bare root plants are supposed to be in the soil exclusively from October to March, our container-grown blackcurrant plants such as Lowberry® Little Black Sugar or the black-green Moreberry ® can be grown in any season.  

- The planting hole should be deep and wide enough so that all roots remain undamaged. At the bottom you can fill the pit with a bit of rotten compost and manure.

- Rip apart matted root balls: after the plant is removed from the pot, the root ball must be torn which will later enable reliable as well as complete start of growth in the garden soil.

- Planting depth: the black varieties must be planted as deep as possible so that at least a five to eight centimetres thick layer of soil can be heaped up above the root ball. This ensures that the plants below the soil will bear shoots later and will grow unhindered in the subsequent period.

 

- Planting and watering: the planting hole can then be carefully filled with soil so that in the end no air remains between the fine roots. Then the soil should be pressed, compacted and watered generously.

- Fertilisation: the first fertiliser can now also be applied.

Planting Distances of Blackcurrants

Between the bushes, as well as the individual rows of plants, leave a distance of 1.5 metres free. Although the small shrubs look a bit lost on the large area at first, in a few years they will already reach a stately size and occupy far more space than was the case at the time of planting. But see for yourself which dimensions must be expected for the different varieties of shrubs:

Currant variety                               End height in centimetres                          End width in centimetres

Cassissima® Noiroma®                 140 to 180                                                     80 to 120

Cassissima® Neva®                        160 to 180                                                     80 to 140

Lowberry® Little Black Sugar       80 to 100                                                       60 to 80

Cassissima® Nimue®                     60 to 80                                                         60 to 80

Cassissima® Black Marble            140 to 180                                                     100 to 120

Cassissima® Blackbells®               140 to 180                                                     100 to 120

Cassissima® Late Night®               120 to 140                                                     80 to 100

 

The relatively abundant planting distance of the blackcurrant not only allows unhindered and natural growth of the shrubs, but it also helps the bushes dry after long periods of rain, which in turn significantly reduces the spread of harmful plant diseases.

The Four Different Plant Sizes of Blackcurrants

Blackcurrants are available in the Lubera® Plant Shop in four different sizes:

- Strong plants in 5 L pots: this is our standard quality, which is stronger than most plants offered in garden centres and DIY stores. The plant is 2-3 years old, usually bears fruit already in the planting year (spring planting) and provides a full yield at the latest in the 3rd year at its location.

- Young plants in 1.3 L pots: these plants correspond to the plant size usually offered in garden centres and DIY stores; they are grown once a year, bear the first fruits in the 2nd year and need to complete development about 2 years longer than the 5 L pots. But if you are planning a bigger planting, they are a good and cheap alternative.

-Luberissima® specimen plants in 15 L containers: in the future, we will also offer some selected cassis varieties in 15 L containers as ready-to-use specimens, which immediately offer a full yield. They can be further cultivated in the container and they allow you to plant a ready-made berry garden right away.

Blackcurrant standards: Finally, we also offer Noiroma and Nimue as standard trees. They allow you to have an upright harvest. 

Training & Pruning Blackcurrants

Blackcurrants belong to the Ribes family and have the same fertility as redcurrant and gooseberry: they flower and fruit mainly on young, 1-year or 2-year-old wood. If there is a difference to the red currants, then one would like to mention above all that the growth is generally stronger and allows an even faster renewal of the shoots. In addition, the base is even more developed in the blackcurrant than in the red currant, so they tend to form more basal shoots, making the training of spindles or hedgerows almost impossible. The training of a three-branch or multi-hedge is recommended only with the upright growing variety Neva. The focus is therefore to train as a shrub or standard. Basically, both forms of training are concerned with removing 3 to 5-year-old wood to stubs, conserving young, freshly grown wood for fruiting and encouraging the formation of new branches.

Training Blackcurrants as a Bush or Shrub

Old branches should be cut back to the ground or to a stub of 5 cm; new wood is left untouched.  Then after the 3rd year, remove 2-3 of the oldest branches every year.

Training Blackcurrants as Standards

Ultimately, the same cut as for the shrub must be done, but 80 cm higher. Here, too, old worn out branches, usually hanging from the blackcurrant, should be removed. Since we cannot count in the crown which root shoots originate from the root, stubs of a few centimetres must always be left when pruning old branches in order to allow the formation of new shoots.

Fertilising Blackcurrants

Almost the only exception in the world of berries is the principle: more is better. Since fruit quality, fruit size and harvest quantity are directly dependent on strong growth and the formation of new shoots, more fertilisation almost always brings more. Of course, this cannot be increased infinitely (it doesn't make any sense either), but Ribes are almost the only garden plants where we speak of strong fertilisation. In early spring, early March, up to 80 g of Frutilizer fertiliser can be used per m² or per plant and in February we also recommend the application and incorporation of a 3-5 cm layer of compost.

Maintaining and Harvesting Blackcurrants

The regular and generous cutting of the blackcurrant shrubs is one of the most important prerequisites for the highest possible yields of the plants over the years.

The growth of the currant plants should be observed every month and actually requires only a very small amount of time and effort:

- February: this is a good time to look at the blackcurrants for possible signs of impending diseases (reversion virus and gall mites). If the soil is frost-free, bare root plants may be brought into the soil. For older shrubs, which were neglected in the last years, now would have come the ideal cutting time! Apply compost and hack into the top soil layer; a 3-5 cm thick layer of compost is sufficient.

- March: just before the plants start to bloom on the shrub, you can help the growth with an adequate amount of fertiliser. If necessary, older blackcurrant plants may also be mulched sparingly. Note: this should only be done after the 2nd or 3rd year, as mulching (with bark or other material) tends to lead to growth depression. And one more thing: if you mulch, you should automatically increase the fertiliser level by 30%. This is because nitrogen is bound in the decay process of the mulch material, which is then no longer available to the plant.

Important: protect the leaves and first flowers with a suitable garden fleece against possible frost!

- April: enjoy your garden and enjoy the now open, colourful flowers of the shrubs and standards, where now at best the pollinating insects will do their job.

- May: the first berries begin to form and become pleasingly thicker. In case of prolonged drought, water thoroughly, weed regularly and check your shrubs for any infestations by sawfly larvae.

- June: now that the fruit is starting to ripen, protect your harvest as early as possible with a suitable protective net against premature balding by uninvited (bird) guests.

- July: the time has come for the harvest of the early and medium early varieties. If the branches are still too dense and are shading each other too much, older branches can be cut out together with the harvest (of course not without harvesting the fruits).

- August: the harvest season for the medium late to late blackcurrants is approaching. Since for an average shrub that is several years old, however depending on the variety and weather, it is not uncommon to have yields between four and five kilograms of fruit, perhaps some alternative processing options such as juice, currant jam or a tasty liqueur must be considered?

- October: have you got much more appetite for the delicious, black-coloured power fruits? Then you should now take healthy cuttings for propagating your bushes or order some of our strong container young plants in the Lubera shop, which can be planted without hesitation until November.

- November: the best planting season for blackcurrants begins, as it will probably take a few more weeks until the first frost. But we are still holding back with the cut. In the spring, with the swelling buds, it is much easier to recognise the fertile young branches and to part with the old woody branches. Then it’s now or never!

The recent history of blackcurrants: from the sour, scratchy-sharp processing fruit to the sweet delights of today!

Looking back two or three decades, the history of Ribes nigrum, often called cassis, was far less exciting than described above and relatively unspectacular. At the time, a certain bitterness was the least to be expected. The elderly among us may now only briefly think of their childhood memories and reminisce about the perceptions or better still the unambiguous facial expressions of the rather astringent taste of blackcurrants of that time! Not that long ago, blackcurrant varieties were the most intensively processed plants of all Ribes species. Unfortunately, this was not for the sake of good taste, but in favour of the valuable ingredients such as anthocyanins, polyphenols, and vitamins, which turned the pharmaceutical industry into a particularly profitable sounding coin. Thus, the fruits harvested mechanically on huge acreage landed, instead of in grocery stores or supermarkets or cideries, in considerably more profitable perfume manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies in order to produce fragrance lamps, perfumes, throat pastilles, sauna infusions and beauty cosmetics from the components of black currant aromas.

At Lubera, we have gone a completely different way with our own varieties of blackcurrants, namely away from the uniform, industrial fruit and to the aromatic, delicious fruit. After several years of intensive cultivation, following the motto "To each his own", we succeeded in using several completely new blackcurrant varieties, each of which has a particularly pronounced profile. This enables us to offer our customers one of the fastest, earliest, latest, largest, sweetest, most compact and, thanks to our long-stringed Cassissima® Blackbells®, even the most beautiful black cassis varieties. With the red-leaved variety Black'n'Red Premiere, we even offer an ornamental shrub variety with sweet cassis fruit!

 

- Link: "Cassissima® Blackbells®" http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/soft-fruit/currants/black-currants-cassisima/cassissima-blackbells

- Link: "Cassissima® Noiroma®" http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/soft-fruit/currants/black-currants-cassisima/cassissima-noiroma

- Link: "Cassissima® Black Marble" http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/soft-fruit/currants/black-currants-cassisima/cassissima-black-marble

- Link: "Cassissima® Nimue®" http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/soft-fruit/currants/black-currants-cassisima/cassissima-nimue

- Link: "Cassissima® Neva®" http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/soft-fruit/currants/black-currants-cassisima/cassissima-neva

- Link: "Cassissima® Late Night http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/soft-fruit/superfood-berries/cassissima-late-night

- Link: "Cassissima® Blackbells®" http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/soft-fruit/currants/black-currants-cassisima/cassissima-blackbells

- Link: "Frutilizer® Seasonal Fertiliser Plus" http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/fruit-trees/pear-trees/pear-varieties/frutilizer-seasonal-fertiliser-plus

- Link: "Lowberry® Little Black Sugar" http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/soft-fruit/lubera-lowberries/lowberry-little-black-sugar

- Link: "Black – Green Moreberry®" http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/soft-fruit/moreberries/moreberry-black-and-green-currants-in-one-pot

- Link: "interesting video" https://youtu.be/cogtlByygRY

- Link: "Garden Fleece" http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/vegetables/wild-tomatoes/tomato-fleece-/-plant-protection-cover

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