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Ribes Sanguineum Red Currant
Ribes sanguineum is an excellent plant for a variety of landscaping needs in your garden. A well-established variety in the United Kingdom, it has been a favourite of gardeners for two centuries and has been given the Award of Garden Merit by the RHS. Red Flowering Currant is native to the mountain slopes of western North America, and was first grown in Britain in the first half of the 1800’s. It has become a garden stalwart because of its spring blooms. In March-April, the bushes are covered with highly fragrant bright red blossoms with long stamens that are similar to fuchsias. If left unpruned, the flowers will be followed by blue-black fruits in the autumn. Ribes sanguineum Red Currant has bright-green leaves throughout the growing season.
Fully hardy throughout the United Kingdom, Ribes sanguineum will grow to a mature height of 3 metres and spread of 2.5 metres. However, it is often pruned severely on an annual basis to keep it flowering profusely each year, both immediately after flowering by cutting back flowering branches to a strong lower bud, and again in the late summer to remove weak or dead branches to maintain an open shape. You can also cut back all flowering stems to the base of the plant at that time to ensure vigorous flowering the next year.
Spacing depends on how you are using Ribes sanguineum in your landscaping plans. If you want to quickly grow a dense hedge, you can plant them up to 7 per metre, but 3 per metre will more slowly grow in to fill the space available.
Flowering red currant will grow in a variety of growing conditions. While it will tolerate most soil ph, it will not thrive in very alkaline soil. It prefers a fertile, well-drained loamy soil with some moisture. As would be expected in a shrub that originated in the mountains of western North America, it can grow quite well in exposed locations, including along the coast. It will do best in full or partial sun, although it will tolerate light shade.
Ribes sanguineum is excellent as a hedging plant, whether pruned to be a low border in a formal setting, or as an informal, less structured hedge. Either way, the brilliant, scented blooms in the spring will make it a stand-out hedge in your landscape. Ribes sanguineum can also be grown against a house or garden wall to great effect or as a background shrub in a mixed border.
Ribes sanguineum will bring a burst of brilliant colour and scent every spring with its explosion of red flowers, and then its green leaves will be a stalwart backdrop to your garden throughout the rest of the growing season.