Due to a trimmer accident I currently have an entire branch of a red currant bush at my hands.

All sources I could find tell me that currants are best propagated in fall from one-year old wood cuttings. Instead I have "old wood" parts that were fruiting and "very new" soft green growth:

enter image description here (click to enlarge)

Is there a chance that I could get at least a new plant out of the accident and how should I proceed? Where do I cut and should I keep or remove the leaves? How about the tips of the branches? Right now the branch is in a bottle of water (in the shade!) until the community chimes in.

Or should I dump it in the compost and mourn the loss in silence?

Just a quick update:
Out of the five sticks I cut the original branch into, four are growing strong, even without special protection during the winter. They are even so bold as to bloom (which I will remove, to encourage growth not fruiting).

enter image description here

  • I'd chop it at the fork so as to have two new branches, carefully snip the lowest leaves, dip in rooting compound, immerse to the lowest "leaf stumps" and wait. This is a guess. Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 13:52
  • 2
    You better cut all the fruit off. Fruit is an energy sucker.
    – jeremy
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 14:56

2 Answers 2


The best way to propagate ribes (currents, gooseberries,jostaberries) is by layering, however cuttings can work, but they work best in the late fall like many fruit trees by overwintering the scion and rooting it as the spring thaw begins.

However, if you put your cutting in some wet sand that is mixed with some ground willow bark, and denude the branch except for a couple of tip leaves (this reduces water loss to respiration) you may induce rooting. I would be reluctant however to put the cutting in the ground until the worst of the summer heat has passed, and wait until september-ish before putting in the ground.

  • Could you explain a bit about the willow bark, please? What does it do, how much, etc.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 21:44
  • Willow bark is a natural source if rooting hormone. By mixing it with the sand the cutting is continuously being subjected to the hormone rather than a quick hit from hormone powder. Since it's a hardwood cutting this will help (but not guarantee) successful rooting, whereas hormone powder is just fine for green cuttings.
    – Escoce
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 5:06
  • Can I just collect some bark (fresh tips, if my googling is correct) and chop them up?
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 5:35
  • Yeah I think that's ok. The finer the chop, the more hormone available.
    – Escoce
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 14:34
  • I also just amended the answer to say wet sand...like put the sand in a plastic bag add water, stick the cutting in and hang the bag near a window in bright but indirect sunlight. Stuff I know you already know, but I figured I ought to say outright.
    – Escoce
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 14:37

I find that most things that are in the garden will root given time. But it must have the right conditions. Since you have two cuttings if you split it at the fork, you could try rooting one in sand as Escoce says. The other way is just stick it in hydroponic solution, and use a bubbler to keep the water oxygenated. If you had an aquarium once, you probably have one lying around. I find it a useful technique to get things to root without needing to purchase rooting hormones, or making it myself. You do need to cover the glass bottle from sunlight to stop algae forming, and reduce the number of leaves.

  • I know ... but you can keep it alive this way if you keep the water oxygenated with some nutrients. Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 21:49

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