The American gooseberry bush is a deciduous plant that can grow 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide with leaves that are a light green or mild gray. Harvesting dessert or dual-purpose varieties in stages gives early, under-ripe fruits for cooking, then later fruits to enjoy sweet and fresh. All kidding aside, the thorns on these plants are no joke, and they make it difficult to prune. The plants do have lots of thorns but they are upright and strong growers. Currants and gooseberries are easily distinguished by the presence or absence of thorns; gooseberries have thorns, while currants do not. Try planting them on the north side of a building. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! In the US, most cultivars are American species crossed with European varieties to improve the size and flavor of the berries while retaining the disease resistance. These won’t hurt you, but they don’t taste good. There is one catch, however: Depending on the variety, gooseberries can be armed with wicked thorns. Commence tasting. Set the cutting outside in soil – bottom cut side down – with a third of the plant buried under the earth. I never tasted anything like them before, they have sort of a custard taste. This plant has small-to-medium blush pink fruit and a longer harvest season than most other varieties, producing for up to six weeks. Shoots may die, or they may emerge late the following year and be stunted. While gooseberries aren’t too fussy about the soil they’re growing in, they can’t handle sandy soil because it dries up too quickly. Even though they can scratch or poke you, gooseberry thorns aren’t poisonous, though it can feel that way if you get poked in a joint. ‘Pixwell’, an American gooseberry (Ribes hirtellum), is somewhat smaller than European gooseberries (Ribes grossularia), but, unlike European gooseberries, the plants have very few thorns; ‘Pixwell’ is known for its productivity. The fruits don’t ripen all at once – it happens over a four to six week period, so you will need to go out several times to pick everything. Really, the best way to decide if the berry is where you want it … The skin will be translucent and they’ll feel plump and juicy when they’re ready. The light green larvae are about 3/4 of an inch long. Anthracnose, caused by the fungus Drepanopeziza ribis, isn’t as common as powdery mildew, but it’s more devastating. In the early spring of the second year, you’ll want to pick five or six of the largest, most robust canes to keep in place, and prune out everything else. It also has fewer spines than some other varieties. The adults have shiny black bodies and brownish-yellow legs. But I like to get creative. Look for the adults, called currant clearwing moths (Synanthedon tipuliformis). A range of pests and diseases bother gooseberries, sadly. Instead, you can layer them. Semi-translucent green in colour, gooseberries (Ribes grossularia) are ideal for dishes requiring a crisp acidity to complement either sweet or savoury dishes.Gooseberries are great for garden spaces with a lot of shade. You can find ‘Pixwell’ plants for your garden at Nature Hills Nursery. Let me know if you run into any issues and what varieties you decide to grow in your space. Rokula – This German variety resists mildew, and it fruits a good week earlier than other berries.It has a compact growth habit and the dark red berries are incredibly sweet. Each gooseberry is pierced with a thin needle so that the pressure can escape later. I see it as a few free plants. But if you are unlucky , tiny bits of plant matter can end up lodged in the wound and cause swelling, pain and a condition known as plant thorn arthritis that may be mistaken for poisoning and could require medical treatment. we had red and black currents in Toronto Canada i think gooseberries would do fine. Thorns are some protection against wildlife eating the fruit and browsing the shrubs. Gooseberries are two times a labor of love, in the picking and the prepping. Keep them moist until seedlings emerge. You can also combine five pounds of table sugar in with quarts of warm water and stir until it is dissolved. The good news is that, with the exception of mildew, most of these aren’t very aren’t common and may be managed easily. The aphids themselves are brown and wingless for the first few generations, which start emerging in early spring, and then a generation with wings typically hatches out in the fall. Consider wearing gloves to make picking the berries less painful. You may want to check with your local nursery for recommendations regarding planting depth, since different varieties have different depth requirements. There was a demand to have gooseberry-type fruits on thornless plants, and the first successful attempt to cross blackcurrant (R. nigrum) with European gooseberry (R. uva-crispa) was carried out by Culverwell [clarification needed] in Yorkshire, England in 1880.This hybrid was termed Ribes × culverwellii and was nearly sterile. Unlike currants, which are quite tart, gooseberries can range from sweet to mildly tart. Berries grown in shade will produce fruit that tastes more tart and tasty than fruit grown in the sun. Both types reach about five feet tall and six feet wide at maturity, and most of them have thorns. European varieties don’t do as well when propagated via cuttings. American types have pale or gray-green leaves. Most cultivated currants are of European origin, though there are many native North American species (Bratsch and Williams, 2009). In the late winter or early spring while the plant is still dormant, get the pruners and gloves out. To remove a cane, clip it at the base of the plant using a sharp pair of pruners. anon43619 August 31, 2009 . Plants grow to a mature height of two to three feet, with a spread of three to four feet. Currant and gooseberry flowers are very popular with hummingbirds. In parts of England, there used to be dozens of clubs aimed at growing the largest, tastiest berries. Once you’ve gotten your new plant in the ground, water it in well. Keep plants well watered with an inch of water a week. For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides. They do unfortunately have long thorns. They also are tolerant of many soil types, thriving in often less-then-perfect locations, including alkaline soil. Allow the sugar mixture to cool before pouring it over the gooseberries. Check local laws before planting since gooseberries are prohibited in some parts of the country, as they carry white pine blister rust, which kills five-needle pines. One plant will do. Gooseberries thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 through 8. The thorns on gooseberry bushes discourage cattle and other large animals from grazing on these shrubs. Most of these older cultivars have disappeared, but a few persist today. Plants that have been subject to drought may make a new growth flush after deep irrigation. The cuttings are now about 500mm high although still quite gangly but they all have quite vicious looking thorns unlike the parent plant. They have translucent wings with black bands. Watch for cupping, distortion, and discoloration on plant leaves. Here is more about what we do. Picking gooseberries must be done carefully those thorns hurt. Some New England states regulate aspects of Ribes spp. European plants have deeply lobed, glossy, dark green leaves. You can learn about making jams and jellies on our sister site, Foodal. They have great flowers, tasty fruit, fragrant foliage, good fall color, and much more. You can also prune these small shrubs into standards – or small trees – to enhance their ornamental appeal. They love the cold in winter but need a sheltered spot to protect the new spring growth and flowers. Pax – Pax lacks the spines that some other gooseberries have.It’s mildew resistant and perfect for desserts. Gooseberries are low in calories; 100 g of fresh berries hold just 44 calories. Like other American types, ‘Captivator’ is resistant to powdery mildew. The first batch of these pests usually appears in mid- to late spring, and there can be two generations after that, so you need to keep an eye out all summer long. Ladybugs are a natural predator. In respect to this, what berries have thorns? Loosen the root ball and cut away any dead roots. You can also take a cutting in early spring before the leaf buds emerge. If you have sandy or heavy clay soil, work compost, peat, or manure into the soil at planting time. You can mix up four 0.14-ounce packets of unsweetened Kool-Aid with a gallon of water and spray it on plants when the berries are starting to mature. You can also use them in meat pies, in tarts, as an accompaniment to cheese, in fruit salad, muddled in cocktails, chopped and baked on salmon, or as a sauce for a holiday goose or turkey. If the local precipitation doesn’t do this for you, add supplemental irrigation (this is where a rain gauge comes in handy!). Plant as soon as you can work the soil. Birds love fresh gooseberries, and you can hardly blame them. You can use a fertilizer that contains chlorine. Cover with straw so just the tip is showing. In the fall before you intend to plant, clear out all the weeds and amend the soil, if needed. Even though they can scratch you, gooseberry thorns aren’t poisonous. A partially shaded site will still do well however, so don't be put off if you can't provide the ideal location. In nature, the purpose of thorns, spines and prickles is to protect plants from would be predators. I do it with kitchen shears, clipping as close to the berry as possible. The adults are mottled gray and brown with an inch-wide wingspan. Why Does My Broccoli Have Loose, Bitter Heads? Put the berries in a shallow container rather than a deep bucket, or use small containers, because gooseberries can get crushed by the weight of the other berries. There are some specially bred thornless varieties and hybrids, however; for instance, the jostaberry, a gooseberry/blackcurrent hybrid, has no thorns. This cultivar is named after Dr Otto Jahn, who discovered it in the Red Deer river valley, in Alberta, Canada in 1984. The shrubs have scalloped-edged leaves with slightly rounded tips. 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