Great Plant Pick: Ribes sanguineum ‘Pulborough Scarlet’

“Pulborough Scarlet” flowers have a spicy fragrance and are a favorite of over-wintering hummingbirds. (Richie Steffen)

“Pulborough Scarlet” flowers have a spicy fragrance and are a favorite of over-wintering hummingbirds. (Richie Steffen)

What: A cultivar of the native flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum “Pulborough Scarlet” was selected for its deep, cardinal-red flowers opening to a rich, rose red. The early spring flowers have a spicy fragrance and are a favorite of over-wintering hummingbirds. This deciduous shrub has longer flower chains than the typical flowering currant and is a reliable performer in the garden. Use as a single filler shrub to add a splash of spring color or group together to form an informal screen. Combinations with hellebores, spring bulbs or early rhododendrons create an excellent foil for the sparkling blooms.

Where: Tough and durable, flowering currant tolerates sand or clay as long as the soil is well-drained. The best bloom is in full sun, but it will still have plenty of flowers in light or open shade.

Size: “Pulborough Scarlet” grows to 8 inches tall and 8 inches wide when mature.

Care: Once established it is drought tolerant, but it will appreciate occasional watering during dry weather. Very little pruning is required to maintain the loose upright habit. If a branch strays too much out of bounds, it can be removed. Plants will often sucker to form a small patch.

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

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