Ulysses Prentiss Hedrick et al., USDA Corvallis
RIBES rubrum 'White Imperial'
Plant Common Name
Grown for its flavorful berries, red currant is a small to medium-sized deciduous shrub from Eurasia. The albino-fruited cultivar 'White Imperial' originated in New York about 1890. It produces medium to long bunches of sweetly flavored, medium to large currants that ripen to translucent creamy-white in early summer. They are preceded by drooping clusters of inconspicuous green flowers in early spring. The slightly tart, juicy, translucent, tender-skinned fruits are excellent for jellies, sauces, and cooked desserts, and are among the best currants for eating fresh. They are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants. Plants are self-fruitful. The toothed, three-lobed, maple-like leaves are medium-green and hairless. This cultivar forms a relatively small, spreading shrub. Red currant plants may escape gardens via self-sowing.
For best growth and fruiting, plant this shrub in full to partial sun and moist well-drained soil. Extremely cold-hardy, it requires some winter chill to perform well. In climates with hot summers, choose a site that has little or no afternoon sun. Mulch the plant to help provide even moisture and cool the soil. Remove two-year old stems to make room for new stems that are more productive and to allow sun to reach all the stems.
Use red currant in mixed edible plantings and hedges. As a possible alternate host for white pine blister rust, it may be banned in areas where that disease is extant (http://plantclinic.cornell.edu/FactSheets/wpineblister/wpineblister.htm). This cultivar is susceptible to rust.
AHS Heat Zone
7 - 1
USDA Hardiness Zone
3 - 8
Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
4'-5' / 1.2m - 1.5m
4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m
Europe, Central Asia, Western Asia