Flowering Current: Prized For Its Bright Red Tubular Flowers

Flowering Current: Prized For Its Bright Red Tubular Flowers

Flowering Current

Photo Compliments of Hamish Irvine

Ribes sanguineum ‘Pulborough Scarlet’ or more commonly referred to as flowering currant is a hardy cultivar of our native flowering currant. ‘Pulborough Scarlet’ is prized for the clusters of pendant dark red buds that open to bright red tubular flowers with white centers. Flowers are held in pendant racemes, 2 to 4 inches long that are followed by rounded, glaucous, black fruit, 1/4 inches across.

This flowering current is a spineless, upright, deciduous, vigorous shrub. It can reach a height of 10 feet tall and a width of 8 feet. Dark green leaves are slightly hairy, rounded, 3 to 5 lobed, toothed and heart-shaped at the bases; leaves reach 2 to 4 inches in length. You can deploy this plant as a single filler shrub to add a splash of spring color or you can group them together to form an informal screen. Flowering current can be combined with hellebores, spring bulbs, or early rhododendrons to create an excellent foil for the blooms.

How To Make Your Flowering Current Thrive

Tough and durable, flowering currant tolerates sand or clay as long as the soil is well-drained. Once it is established it is drought tolerant, but it will appreciate occasional watering during dry weather. The best bloom is in full sun, but it will still have plenty of flowers in light or open shade. Very little pruning is required to maintain the loose upright habit. This plant will sucker to form a small patch so you need to watch for this.

To prevent the plant from becoming congested in late summer remove any dead or diseased branches and reduce the flowered shoots to a strong, lower bud.

General Flowering Current Information

Pests and Diseases

Aphids may be a problem. Red flowering current may be affected by leaf spot, powdery mildew, honey fungus, and coral spot.


Propagate by hardwood cuttings in winter.

Garden Uses

This popular form of flowering currant is compact and upright in habit making it ideal for your border where space is limited, or for growing as an informal, flowering hedge.

Additional Information

  • Family: Grossulariaceae
  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Foliage Type: Deciduous
  • Habit: Bushy
  • Plant Height: 8 to 10 feet (maturity is reached in 5 to 10 years)
  • Plant Width: 6 to 8 feet
  • Bloom Time: April, spring
  • Bloom Color: Red
  • Fruit: Black and blue in summer
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 6 to 9
  • Light Exposure: Full sun, afternoon shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist and well drained
  • Soil Range: Sandy, loam, some clay
  • Growth Rate: Average to fast growing
  • Tolerates: Deer

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