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RIBES rubrum

Image of Ribes rubrum

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Grossulariaceae

Botanical Name

RIBES rubrum

Plant Common Name

Red Currant

General Description

Grown for its flavorful berries, this small to medium-sized deciduous shrub from Eurasia produces bunches of small translucent few-seeded fruits that ripen to red in early summer. They are preceded by drooping clusters of inconspicuous greenish flowers in early spring. High in vitamin C and other antioxidants, the tart fruits are excellent for jellies, sauces, and cooked desserts, and are also eaten fresh. Plants are self-fruitful. The toothed, three-lobed, maple-like leaves are medium-green and hairless. Numerous cultivars are available, including red-, white-, and pink-fruited selections. This plant sometimes escapes 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). Some cultivars such as 'Rondom' are rust resistant.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Plant Type

    Fruit

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Width

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring

  • Native To

    Europe, Central Asia, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Green

  • Fruit Color

    White, Red, Pink, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Hedges, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes