May 26th, 2009
Red Currants were among the plants that I tried to grow from seed this past spring, and they were also among those that entirely failed to germinate. I was disappointed because they are an edible plant that will tolerate my Black Walnut trees, and they are quite attractive besides.
Someone told me that I could propagate Red Currants merely by clipping stalks and then planting them eight or ten inches into the dirt. I disbelieved, but I tried it anyway. The stalks have been sitting there for several weeks now, so I checked them yesterday. Much to my amazement, two if them are indeed producing leaves, though they will obviously not bear any fruit this year.
I was so excited that I went back to the parent bush to see if there were other likely candidates for planting in this way. I thought it would be interesting to experiment with how late I could plant these cuttings successfully. As I was looking through the bush, however, I noticed that some of the lower stalks had become covered with earth and mulch, so I went to uncover them, only to realize that they also had rooted.
I went and got my little garden spade to transplant the new seedlings, and I was just starting to dig when I made a third discovery: there, poking up from the mulch, were perhaps fifteen or twenty Red Currant seedlings that had germinated without any help from me at all. I had been under the impression that the seeds needed to pass through the intestinal system of a bird in order to germinate, but there seemed to be too many of the seedlings too close to the parent bush for this to be the case. Nevertheless, there they were.
So, though I had feared that I would have no new Red Currants at all, I now have two successful cuttings, two successful rootings, and twenty odd successful seedlings. My pleasure is inordinate.