Images of Ribes sanguineum

Ribes sanguineum

Ribes sanguineum is a deciduous shrub belonging to the Ribes genus. It is a currant plant which has its home in the western parts of coastal Northern America.

Common Name

Ribes sanguineum is commonly known as flowering currant or the red-flowering currant plant.

Ribes sanguineum Description

Height: The Ribes sanguineum is a deciduous shrub of medium size, growing to a height of almost 4 meters.

Spread: The branches of the shrub spreads to a length similar to that of the height of the plant.

Bark: The dark brownish-grey bark is composed of distinct pale-brown colored lenticels.

Leaves: The leaves are 2 to 4 inches long, dark green in color with a fine texture. The leaves are palmately lobed and have 3 t o 5 lobes. The leaves have a maple-like structure and are tooth serrated. The leaves turn to a brown shade during the fall season. However the leaves develop a reddish tone after a few years.

Flowers: The flowers bloom as early as in spring, almost at the same time as the dark green leaves start to emerge. Around 5 to 30 tube shaped flowers are arranged on 3 to 7 centimeter long racemes. They lack any distinct fragrance. Each flower has a diameter ranging between 5 mm to 10 mm. The flowers are composed of five pink or red petals. Occasionally the flowers can also be white. The intricate flowers are found to be hung in delicate clusters. The flowers have both the male and female organs, thus they are hermaphrodite. The inflorescence is pollinated by insects like the bees.

Ribes sanguineum Picture

Picture 1 – Ribes sanguineum

Fruits: The fruits are oval shaped berries having a dark purple coloration. Each of the berries is almost 1 cm long. The berries are edible but tasteless. The fruits are formed in clusters and have a heavy wax coating, giving them their characteristic bluish-gray or purple coloration.

Roots: These plants have a fibrous root system. The root of this plant reaches up to a minimum depth of 16 inches.

Ribes sanguineum Varieties

These plants come in two varieties.

  • Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum
  • Ribes sanguineum sanguineum

Some of the most popular cultivars of these plants include

  • White Icicle
  • Brocklebankii or Golden Currant
  • King Edward VII
  • Pulborough Scarlet

The White Icicle cultivar produces white flowers.

Ribes sanguineum Distribution

These plants are native to the western parts of coastal North America from northern, central California to central parts of British Columbia and the Cascade Mountains. They are also sometimes grown in Britain.

How to grow Ribes sanguineum

The Ribes sanguineum is a perennial plant. Find out its growing conditions.

Temperature: The plant enjoys moderate winter temperatures ranging between 32°F and 37°F  along with mild summer temperatures. The summers should be dry, the winters should be moist and wet.

Sunlight: The plant requires full, unobstructed sun for at least 6 hours a day. It also grows in partial sun but under such circumstances it won’t be able to grow adequate amount of healthy foliage and inflorescence.

Environments: The best environments to grow these plants are in dry areas on open sites or in a moist, wooded area. They are also easily grown on rocky slopes.

Soil: These plants prefer medium fertile soils. The soil should be well drained. The plant can easily grow well on slightly alkaline, neutral or acidic soils. The types of soil suitable for Ribes sanguineum are sandy, loamy or clay soils. The plants cannot tolerate saturated soil.

Soil pH: The optimum soil pH required for this plant should range between 6 and 7.5.

Ribes sanguineum Planting

Firstly, sow the seeds in a pot filled with soil. The soil should be moist and unsaturated. For the first few weeks, regularly water the plant and make sure that it gets adequate sunlight. After the plant has reached a certain height, you can then transfer it to its permanent ground.

While transferring the plant from the pot or container to its permanent ground, dig a hole that is at least twice the size of the root ball as well as deep enough so that you can plant the shrub at the same level it was in the container. If you find the soil to be of poor quality, you will have to dig the hole even wider so that you can fill it with a combination of the original soil and a soil amendment or compost.

Images of Ribes sanguineum
Picture 2 – Ribes sanguineum Image

After removing the shrub carefully from its original container and delicately separating the roots. Place the plant roots at the center of the hole, fill the hole with the mixture of the original soil and the compost. You can also construct a water well in case you have larger shrubs. The soil should be firm enough to support the growing shrub. Finish the process by mulching or placing a protective covering over the soil and again watering well.

In case your shrub is without roots, try to find out a point of discoloration near the base. This area point out where the original soil line was. In case your soil is too clayey or too sandy, you can add organic matter to your soil. The organic matter will help in drainage as well as in increasing the water holding capacity of the soil.

Ribes sanguineum Watering

The container plants need to be watered weekly on a regular basis for the first summer. In cases of extreme heat, the plants should be watered more frequently. Regularly watering the plant at its growing stages is essential for the plant to develop a deeply branching and extensive root system. The soil should be kept moist but water logging should be avoided. The plants prefer around 1 inch of watering per week. The Ribes sanguineum is capable of tolerating around 14 inches to 30 inches of precipitation per year.

Ribes sanguineum Fertilizer

A general purpose fertilizer should be added to the soil during springtime just when the new growth is about to begin. The plants should be fertilized yearly. In case a specific nutrient is low or missing from the soil, only a fertilizer rich in that nutrient should be added instead of an all purpose one. Adding Nitrogen-rich fertilizers can lead to the growth of abundant green foliage. However, adding too much nitrogen to the soil can lead to disease like powdery mildew. Fertilizers rich in phosphorus, potassium and magnesium can be used for this plant as well.

Ribes sanguineum Caring

It is very importan to take proper care of your garden plants to prevent them from becoming weeds.

Ribes sanguineum Pruning

Pruning becomes necessary if the shrubs develop a leggy appearance after flowering.

Ribes sanguineum Propagation

These plants can be easily propagated from seeds which are highly abundant. The seeds should be sown as soon as they ripen. It is best to sow them earlier in the year if possible. The stored seeds should pass through a cold stratification process between 0 and 5°c temperatures. If stored under standard conditions, the seeds remain capable of germination for around 17 years. The seedlings should be transferred into individual pots when they grow large enough, and then planted out around late spring the next year.

If propagating from cuttings, 10 cm to 15 cm long cuttings with heel should be collected and placed in a frame around July or August. The cuttings should be placed in sheltered bed outdoors or in a cold frame around November to February.

Ribes sanguineum Pests and Diseases

These plants are mostly pest-free and disease-resistant. However, the Ribes sanguineum have been known to be affected from fungal diseases such as Powdery Mildew, Blister Rust and Anthracnose. These plants are capable of getting infected from white pine blister rust and so they should not be planted anywhere near pine trees. They are also known to be infected by honey fungus.

Ribes sanguineum Harvesting

The fruits ripen during the months from mid-July to late-August. The seeds should be harvested as soon as the fruits ripen.

Storage: The clean and dry seeds should be placed in an airtight box or container then stored in a cool, dry place. The ideal temperature required for storage should range between 34°F and 38°F. The seeds should not be exposed to frost or freezing temperatures.

Ribes sanguineum Uses

Here are some of the most well known uses of these plants.

Edible Usage

The fruits are eaten either raw or cooked. The fruits do not have a good flavor but can be collected and kept till November. By this time the flavor goes through a change and improves slightly.

Other Usage

The plant is capable of tolerating maritime exposure. Due to this, it can be grown as a hedge. The plant gives adequate shelter during the summer months when it is full of leaves but provides little protection during the barren winter months.

Ribes sanguineum Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts about these plants:

  • The flowers of these plants are a popular source of food for the butterflies.
  • In 1825, the Ribes sanguineum plant was first introduced into cultivation by David Douglas, the 19th century Scottish botanist.
  • These plants have fragrant leaves and non-fragrant flowers.


Ribes sanguineum Images

Here are some images showing the Ribes sanguineum plants.

Pictures of Ribes sanguineum
Picture 3 – Ribes sanguineum Picture

Photos of Ribes sanguineum
Picture 4 – Ribes sanguineum Photo

The Ribes sanguineum plants are very strong and hardy shrubs which make important gardening plants. They offer hedge and support to the garden along with a picturesque to look at.


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