‘Big Ben’ is a breakthrough blackcurrant with many good qualities but one very special feature. The fruits are huge, far far larger than the fruits of other blackcurrants.
Most blackcurrant berries weigh in at about 1.1g, but the average weight for a ‘Big Ben’ berry is 2.9g – that’s almost three times the size. The result is that each mature plant can produce 4.5kg (10lb) of fruit ripening about eight to ten days before the well known ‘Ben Lomond’.
Mature bushes of ‘Big Ben’ develop a slightly arching habit – not because they’re weak, they’re not, the branches are strong but just grow that way. It makes the fruit easier to pick and allows the plants to be trained on wires more easily if that’s what you prefer.
Developed specially as a variety for eating fresh – most new blackcurrants are developed specifically for commercial juice production – the large fruits are shiny, with a strong skin and are relatively sweet. They’re ideal for eating fresh.
Also valuable is the fact that ‘Big Ben’ is resistant to both powdery mildew and leafspot so you won;t need to spray to control these diseases.
‘Big Ben’ blackcurrant was developed at the Scottish Crops Research Institute near Dundee. All their previous blackcurrants have been named for Scottish mountains - ‘Ben Lomond’, ‘Ben Hope’ etc – but the enormous berries of ‘Big Ben’ led to an adjustment to their naming theme this one time.
Blackcurrant ‘Big Ben’ is available from these RHS Plantfinder nurseries as well as Blackmoor Nurseries, Crocus, Garden Bargains and Suttons.