En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - January 16, 2010

From: Enoch, UT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Pollinators, Propagation, Transplants, Vines
Title: Blossoms but no fruit for gooseberries in Enoch UT
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My gooseberries always get loads of blossoms, but I never get fruit. I think they need more sun, and thus, want to transplant them to a sunnier location. What (and when) is the best way to do this?

ANSWER:

There are 11 gooseberries (or currants) native to North America, of which 2 are native to Utah, Ribes leptanthum (trumpet gooseberry) and Ribes oxyacanthoides (Canadian gooseberry). Of these, only Ribes leptanthum (trumpet gooseberry) is seen as native to Iron County in this USDA Plant Profile.  That may not be exactly the species you have, but good enough to use as an example.  All members of the Ribes species are considered sunny woodland edge plants, tolerating some light shade but preferring sun. They generally begin fruiting after about 3 years in the ground.

We're wondering if possibly the problem could be in pollination. Apparently, these plants are pollinated by insects, more specifically, bees.  Since they tend to grow more in higher elevations, that may cut down the amount of time the bees have on a daily basis to do the pollination, because they are more active in warmer weather.  The flowers of the gooseberry are hermaphrodites, meaning there are both male and female organs on each flowers. There is some self-pollination, but the fruit of self-pollination drops easily at the time of ripening, which could mean the fruit was falling off before it became mature. Have you observed small immature fruits on the ground beneath your gooseberries? 

The plants obviously get a higher level of fruiting when the pollinators are present; however, there are some problems with that. One problem is if the gooseberries are not located in an area with an abundance of flowering plants, the bees may not be attracted to the area. Another problem is the increasing shortage of bees in the environment. Many factors have contributed to this shortage, and it is still something of a mystery, but loss of habitat and spraying of pesticides are two of the most likely suspects.  Have you observed bees working in the area of your gooseberry bushes during the flowering period of from April to June? One other consideration is theft by birds and small animals, all of which find the fruits of this plant very attractive. If you are not where you can observe your plants during different parts of the day, that could be what is happening.

In terms of when to plant, early Spring, before it begins to get warm, is the best time. We think this article from USA Gardener How to Grow Gooseberries covers the whole area very well. 

Pictures from Google

 

From the Image Gallery


Trumpet gooseberry
Ribes leptanthum

Trumpet gooseberry
Ribes leptanthum

More Transplants Questions

Native plants for sandy soil and not much water
April 14, 2008 - I am planning a new garden at home and would like to grow native plants that can handle sandy soil and don't need much water. I do not water my gardens.I would prefer plants that can have more than o...
view the full question and answer

Potting soil used in Wildflower Center nursery
October 23, 2008 - I recently purchased several beautiful little plants at your Fall plant sale and notice how very happy and healthy they all are! Please tell me if you mix your own potting soil and what your potting ...
view the full question and answer

Transplant of non-native Lathyrus tuberosus in North Carolina
June 13, 2006 - I have a tuberous sweetpea vine that grows wild on our property. When would be a good time to move this plant to a better location?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting and germination of Pride of Barbados in Adkins, TX
April 02, 2012 - What is the root system like of the Pride of Barbados? I have a lot of new plants coming up in my beds from seeds. Can these be transplanted to a new location easily without damaging the plants? If...
view the full question and answer

Laurel oak tree not leafing out in Pasadena TX
April 13, 2010 - Hurricane Ike blew down our red bud in the backyard. Had a large 25' laurel oak planted early March 2010. When it was put in the ground, the leaves were on it, but they were all brown and dried. T...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center