Flowering currant bears magnificent blooms in spring.
Key Flowering currant facts
Name – Ribes sanguineum
Family – Grossulariaceae
Type – shrub
Height – 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 m)
Exposure – full sun
Soil: ordinary – Foliage: deciduous – Flowering: mid→end spring
Easy to care for, planting and pruning will help you boost its growth and bear beautiful flowers.
Planting flowering currant
Favor planting in fall or in spring but avoid freezing temperatures or high temperatures.
- Follow the Nature-and-Garden tips on how to plant a shrub.
In a hedge, space each plant at least 30 inches (80 cm) apart.
Propagating flowering currant
It is very easy to propagate flowering currant through cuttings at the end of winter.
- Collect the cuttings around March.
- Remove lower leaves, keeping only the topmost one or two pairs at the crest.
- Dip the base of the cuttings in powdered rooting agents.
- Transplant directly in the ground in a blend of cutting soil mix and garden soil.
Water abundantly during the first year to make sure it settles in well.
Occasionally, you might notice seeds sprouting from fallen seeds. Transplant them to a pot to plant elsewhere or give away to friends!
Pruning flowering currant
Like most flowering shrubs, pruning serves to increase foliage density and enhance flowering year after year.
- Flowering currant can live for two to three decades.
- After that, it may lose its vigor, even if you prune it diligently.
1st pruning flowering currant after planting
For the first year, only light pruning is needed that will guide the shrub into producing more stems.
No need to prune drastically, the flowering currant might suffer from it.
- Simply snip an inch (a couple centimeters) or so off the tip of all branches.
Maintenance pruning of flowering currant
This is a regular pruning that can be repeated yearly, that increases the blooming and the growth of the shrub.
- After the blooming, cut branches that have born flowers back to ⅔.
- Cut back those branches that did not bear flowers to about half.
- Follow our advice on pruning shrubs.
Finally, to recover a tightly-bound silhouette and avoid it growing sparse at the foot, you can prune drastically after a couple years.
Diseases and parasites that attack flowering currant
Even though it is quite hardy, flowering currant does nonetheless fall victim to certain diseases and parasites such as powdery mildew and aphids.
- Here is how to fend off powdery mildew, the fine layer of white mold developing on leaves.
- Here is how to fight aphids off, those insects that invade leaves.
Learn more about flowering currant
Hardy to the cold and freezing, it can cope with temperatures dropping down to 5°F (-15°C).
This shrub has the advantage of flowering abundantly in bunches, and this creates a true “wall of flowers” when planted as a hedge.
But it is also liked just as much when standing isolated in the garden, in shrub beds and even in pots or garden boxes on a terrace or balcony.
It is hardy and grows fast, which makes it an easy shrub to grow that will reward you with quick results.
Remarkable flowering currant varieties
- Ribes sanguineum ‘King Edward VII’ – late flowers that are bright red.
- Ribes sanguineum ‘Koja’ – dense vegetation and nice red flowers.
A white-flowered variety also stands out:
- Ribes sanguineum ‘White icicle’ – big bunches of white flowers.
Smart tip about flowering currant
If it grows too large or to renew its vigor, proceed to prune drastically every 4 to 5 years!
Just a note to let you know that my flowering currant is blooming nicely! It’s the one you suggested that I prune back more than I might usually do. It looks so nice, and another one is blooming, also. I have 3 seedlings but they won’t bloom this year. Probably my favorite shrub!
I think I will try the cuttings. Thanks so much!
I have four flowering currants, and love them. Loaded with blossoms except for my newest one, planted last Spring. My oldest plant did not bloom as heavily this year or last. I plan to prune like you have suggested. Thanks for the advice.
Sure thing! Happy to have been of service. Take a few cuttings from what you prune, too. Though it isn’t the season (after the blooming isn’t best for cuttings), a portion of them might make it. You can grow them in pots at the beginning and gift them to friends and neighbors!