Alan Titchmarsh gardening tips: How to grow currants –

The commonest varieties of Ribes sanguineum (to give it its proper name) are ‘Pulborough Scarlet’ and ‘King Edward VII’. Both are a striking shade of rose pink. Paler is ‘Porky’s Pink’ which does, indeed, have the tone of a fattened pig (but which looks much more delicate) while ‘White Icicle’ and ‘Tydeman’s White’ both fit their descriptions.

If I were you, I’d give a home to any of them – they are such welcome sights in spring, as their buds begin to burst in February before finally opening in late March and decorating the stems with their dangling flowers.

You don’t need to take my dad’s approach to pruning – just trim off any unwanted stems after flowering and, when the bush is getting on a bit, take out one or two older branches fairly low down, so they can be replaced with youngsters.

That way, you will rejuvenate the shrub without it looking too bare.

When it comes to soil and situation, the flowering currant is as accommodating a plant as you could wish for. Well-drained soil and a reasonable amount of sunshine are its preference, but it will cope with a fair degree of shade and all kinds of earth.

Nip down to your local nursery or garden centre now and choose one that is just breaking into bloom; that way you can see exactly the colour of the flowers.

But then, I reckon any one of them will be as welcome as the flowers that bloom in the spring. 

Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column today and every day in the Daily Express. For more information on his range of gardening products, visit


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