Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

Hardy Plants for Waterwise Landscapes

Ribes sanguineum
Winter currant

Ribes sanguineum form (V.I. Lohr) Ribes sanguineum flowers (V.I. Lohr)
Ribes sanguineum fruit (V.I. Lohr)

Plant form

Deciduous, spring flowering, upright, woody shrub.


6 to 12 feet tall with similar spread.

Leaves and stems

Dark green leaves are lobed and very textured. Fall color is not usually noteworthy, as the leaves may simply turn brown before dropping; some years the leaves will develop some reddish overtones.


The intricate flowers hang in delicate clusters.  Flowers may be red, pink, or white.


Some plants may form clusters of fruit with a heavy wax coating that leaves them looking bluish-gray.

Native area

This shrub is native in the Pacific northwest.

Water use

Moderate; tolerates some drought.

Culture and maintenance

This shrub is easy to grow.  It may get scale insects. Prune to shape after flowering by removing unwanted branches where they originate.


Full sun or partial shade.


USDA Zone 5.


The nursery industry has introduced various cultivars with different flower colors; some cultivars even have doubled flowers. We have had good luck with Ribes sanguineum 'King Edward VII,' a cultivar with red flowers that stays slightly shorter than most winter currants.


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