Ribes 'Poorman'
Common Name: gooseberry
Type: Fruit
Family: Grossulariaceae
Zone: 4 to 6
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Greenish-yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Rabbit

Culture

Best grown in organically rich, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained clay or silt loams in full sun to part shade. Prefers full sun, but some part afternoon shade is appreciated in hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Gooseberries generally do not perform well in the hot and humid climates south of USDA Zone 6. Plants are best sited in locations protected from strong winds and frost pockets. Plant bare root bushes in October or November. Apply a good compost mulch to the root zone. Water regularly as needed to keep soils uniformly moist. Avoid overhead watering however. Plants are self-fertile. Renewal prune in late winter to early spring each year. Younger branches produce the most fruit, so older, weakened and/or damaged branches should be removed to open up the bush and promote more abundant fruiting. Easier to prune than some other gooseberries because it is almost thornless.

Noteworthy Characteristics

‘Poorman’ is a red gooseberry cultivar. It is a compact, mounding, deciduous shrub that typically grows 3-4’ tall. This is an old American variety (introduced in 1888) that produces medium sized fruit. Clusters of greenish-yellow flowers bloom in spring, but are not particularly ornamental. Flowers give way to oval-rounded gooseberies that ripen in late season (July in St. Louis). Lobed, medium green leaves are aromatic when crushed. Gooseberries may be eaten ripe off the shrub or used to make jams, jellies and pies.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. In wet, humid conditions, anthracnose, powdery mildew and fungal leaf spot can be troublesome. Aphids, scale and bud mite are potential insect pests in some areas. Gooseberries are an alternate host for white pine blister rust, a usually fatal disease for white pines. Fourteen (14) states currently maintain various types of bans on Ribes species plants, the most restrictive being the total ban on all Ribes plants in North Carolina. Missouri has no restrictions. Notwithstanding state and local legislation, gooseberries should not be planted in any area where the disease is prevalent (particularly the East and Northwest). In areas where the disease is not prevalent (such as Missouri), it is still best to avoid planting gooseberries in locations where white pines are growing unless rust-resistant cultivars are used. ‘Poorman’ is resistant to white pine blister rust and mildew.

Garden Uses

Fruit or vegetable gardens. Grow as shrubs or train as an espalier. Can also make an attractive hedge in the landscape for property lines or remote areas.