Ribes sanguineum form in bloom (V. Lohr)

Ribes sanguineum
Winter currant

  • Water use: Moderate; tolerates some drought.
  • Light: Full sun or partial shade.
  • Size: 6 to 12 feet tall with similar spread.
  • Native Range: This shrub is native in the Pacific northwest.
  • Plant habit: Deciduous, spring flowering, upright, woody shrub.
Ribes sanguineum flower buds (V. Lohr)Ribes sanguineum leaves and flowers (V. Lohr)
  • Leaves: 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.
  • Flowers: The intricate flowers hang in delicate clusters.  Flowers may be red, pink, or white. They lack fragrance.
Ribes sanguineum flowers opening (Lohr)Ribes sanguineum fruit (Lohr)
  • Fruit: Some plants may form clusters of fruit with a heavy wax coating that leaves them looking bluish-gray.
  • Culture: This shrub is easy to grow.  It may get scale insects.
  • Maintenance: Prune this shrub to shape it after flowering by removing unwanted branches where they originate.
Ribes sanguineum in flower in early spring  (V. Lohr)
  • Cultivars: 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 and that stays slightly shorter than most winter currants.

Ribes sanguineum form in bloom after leaves open (V. Lohr)

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Water-conserving plant list
Page creators:
Virginia I. Lohr and Caroline H. Pearson-Mims
Dept. of Hort & LA, Washington St. Univ.
E-mail: pearson@wsu.edu
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Page updated: August 4, 2005