Plant DetailShow Menu

Red Flowering Current Ribes sanguineum

Phonetic Spelling
RYE-bees san-GWIN-ee-um
Description

Red Flowering Currant is a deciduous shrub in the gooseberry family that is native to western North America.  It can be found growing in numerous habitats, including forest and woodland and areas where shrubs, bushes, and where small trees make up the landscape, typically along the coast on north-facing slopes.   Plant in the full sun, in well-drained soil.  It will tolerate shade but it will not bloom as well.  Once established it will tolerate drought once established.  This plant requires little pruning.

When in bloom, the flowers hang down and cover the stems with 10 to 30 pink to red flowers in each cluster.  The flowers have a spicy fragrance and are favorited by hummingbirds, providing early spring nectar.  Use it in the landscape as a filler in a shrub border, or informal screen.  It works well planted as a backgdrop to spring bulbs providing a great pop of color coming out of winter.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Female plants are an alternative host for white pine blister rust.  All Ribes are prohibited in North Carolina at this time. 

SECTION .0400 -WHITE PINE BLISTER RUST02 NCAC 48A .0401CURRANT AND GOOSEBERRY PLANTS

 (a) All wild and cultivated currant and gooseberry plants in North Carolina are hereby declared to be dangerous plants and are consequently subject to destruction by the Commissioner of Agriculture or authorized agents wherever found.(b) No person shall knowingly and willfully keep upon his premises any currant or gooseberry plant, or permit such plants to mature seed or otherwise multiply upon his land.

History Note: Authority G.S. 106-65.45; 106-65.46; 106-284.18; 106-420; Eff. January 1, 1985.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Elk River Red'
    Red flowers, 8-10'x7'
  • 'King Edward VII'
    Compact, pinkish-red flowers
  • 'Pokey's Pink'
    Light pink flowers
  • 'Pulborough Scarlet'
    Red flowers with white centers
  • 'White Icicle'
    White flowers, blooms early
'Elk River Red', 'King Edward VII', 'Pokey's Pink', 'Pulborough Scarlet', 'White Icicle'
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#deciduous#red flowers#fragrant leaves#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#spring flowers#food source#deer resistant#blue fruits#cold tolerant#black fruits#sensory garden#nectar plant early spring#winter flowers
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Elk River Red'
    Red flowers, 8-10'x7'
  • 'King Edward VII'
    Compact, pinkish-red flowers
  • 'Pokey's Pink'
    Light pink flowers
  • 'Pulborough Scarlet'
    Red flowers with white centers
  • 'White Icicle'
    White flowers, blooms early
'Elk River Red', 'King Edward VII', 'Pokey's Pink', 'Pulborough Scarlet', 'White Icicle'
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#deciduous#red flowers#fragrant leaves#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#spring flowers#food source#deer resistant#blue fruits#cold tolerant#black fruits#sensory garden#nectar plant early spring#winter flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ribes
    Species:
    sanguineum
    Family:
    Grossulariaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The tart fruits of this plant are sometimes used in jams. Native Americans are known to have eaten the fruits of this plant fresh and dried.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Western Canada, and U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    CA, ID, OR, WA, Canada BC
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees and hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar in flowers. A host plant for the Hyalophora euryalus moth. Birds are attracted to the fruits.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Edibility:
    Fruits are technically edible but better left for the birds.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 13 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 7 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Blue-black round fruits with white bloom, technically edible but are quite sour.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Early spring 1"-3" long clusters of tiny red, pink, or white star-shaped tubular flowers covering the stems with 10-30 flowers in each cluster.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Velvety
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Palmatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    1"-3" long and wide fragrant leaves with a resinous scent, dark green pubesent above with lighter color below. The leaf margins are slightly toothed and have deep veins giving it a wrinkly appearance.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Pollinator Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Hummingbirds
    Moths
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer