Red Flowering Currant

Red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum)
Ribes sanguineum var. sanguineum

Red flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) is an upright, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub that can get 6-10 feet tall, and is considered one of our prettiest native shrubs. Its bright pink, dangling flower clusters in late February and March are welcome signs of spring!

The bark is dark brownish-grey with pale brown lenticels. The palmate leaves have five lobes, and young leaves and flowers have a scent variously described as spicy or resinous. The fruits form as clusters of dark purple berries which contrast beautifully with the rosy gold fall foliage.

Keep a pair of binoculars handy if you plant this lovely shrub, because red flowering currant is a favorite of hummingbirds and other wildlife all year long. The flowers are important early spring nectar sources for rufous and Anna’s hummingbirds, spring azure and mourning cloak butterflies, and many native bees. Many birds eat the berries in the fall and winter, including towhees, thrushes, cedar waxwings, and sparrows. This charming plant also hosts the eggs of zephyr butterflies, and provides shelter for songbirds.

Red flowering currant can tolerate shade, but grows best (and blooms the most) in sunny locations with well drained soils.

  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Spreads:
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
  • Fire-resistant: Yes
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 4-10ft
  • Mature Width:3-10ft