Pink Flowering Currant-Ribes sanguineum var glutinosum ‘Claremont’

Golden West College Native Garden – Plant of the Month 2010 February

By Dan Songster


Type: Deciduous Shrub
Light: Sun to Part Shade
Soil: Adapts well
Water: Infrequent to Moderate

This lovely, deciduous shrub is now starting to bloom with pendulous clusters of almost pure pink (just a touch of red). This to me is the beginning of the Garden’s season of color. Yes, Manzanita’s have already been doing their thing for a few weeks but in our garden’s clay soils they are not as floriferous as this dependable Currant.

The Pink Flowering Currant is a very clay tolerant plant and is perhaps the most dependable and showy of all the Currant selections we have tried here at the Garden.  It is a stunning shrub in winter and spring when it is covered in bright pink flower clusters often half a foot long. Its foliage also recommends it with lobed, maple like leaves of a soft green. Hummingbirds love the flowers, and songbirds (and some people) are attracted by the blue/black fruits that develop in the summer. It grows pretty quickly and ranges in size form 5-8 feet in height with a pleasant vase or rounded shape. It may look its best used in a woodsy landscape design along with Coffeeberry, Giant Chain Fern, and Meadow Rue. Also, if planted near pink forms of Coral Bells like ‘Wendy’ their colors can echo each other since their bloom times overlap. In small gardens where a tree might be too dominant, it can it can serve as a focal point.

Although drought tolerant it grows faster with some summer water. That’s right- it can take summer water even in partial shade-but don’t overdo the water in heavy soils. It appreciates some light shade or dappled light unless planted very near the coast where it enjoys full sun.

If you wish to view it in the Garden it is in the north end of the Mixed Evergreen Forest on either side of the easily recognized Incense Cedar. It is just now beginning to push out its blooms, so no rush. But be sure to see one of our very best natives in action.


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