Ribes 'Pixwell'

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: May to June
Bloom Description: Red/green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Rabbit


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.

'Pixwell' is easier to prune than some other gooseberries because it is almost thornless.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Gooseberry is a deciduous shrub which is primarily grown for its edible berries. Gooseberries may be eaten ripe off the shrub or used to make jams, jellies and pies.

Genus name comes from the Danish word ribs meaning red currant.

'Pixwell' was introduced in 1932 by the North Dakota Experiment Station from a gooseberry breeding program started in 1920. It resulted from a cross of Ribes 'Oregon Champion' and Ribes missouriense. It is noted for its good fruit yields. Insignificant flowers appear in April followed by medium to large, tart, pink gooseberries that ripen in July. Vigorous growth habit.


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.

‘Pixwell’ is reportedly resistant to white pine blister rust and powdery mildew but in trials in North Dakota it proved very susceptible to powdery 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.