Red currant - <em>Ribes rubrum</em> - Zone 3 -

Red currant - Ribes rubrum - Zone 3

Sorry, unavailable for Fall 2020- Spring 2021 orders. 


Red Currant bushes are small deciduous shrubs that produce clusters of super healthy red fruit that are great for eating or making juices. It is one of the only fruit tree/shrub that can grow will in mid-shade.

The Fruit

Red currants are shiny red berry-like fruit averaging 6 mm in diameter. They hang on the plant in clusters of up to 20 berries. Their red skin has rib-like lines and is almost translucent, showing the seeds within. The flavour is a combination of sweet and tart that is very pleasant eaten as is and a popular component of many commercial juice mixes. They are also a versatile ingredient with many uses in fine cuisine. The tartness of these berries is greater than that of black currants. 

The Plant

The shrub is on the small side, about 1 to 1.5 metres tall, with a compact shape. Red currants are native to Western Europe but were brought over to North America for cultivation long ago and have since naturalised in many areas, particularly the north-eastern United States and much of eastern Canada. The leaves are similar in overall appearance to maple leaves and it shows off small pendulous yellow flowers which bloom in early May. These low maintenance plants do well in most soils but are most comfortable in moist well drained locations like their natural habitats along riverbanks and damp shady deciduous forest. They can grow in full sun or partial shade but in hot summer climates will be significantly happier with good afternoon shade. Harvest takes place during July and August and while a plant may take 4 to 5 years to become fully established and reach fruit-bearing potential, yields can be up to 3 to 4 kg per plant over the harvest period.

Height at maturity1 to 1.5 metres (3-5 feet)
Spacing1 metre (3 feet)
Hardiness zone3 (2 with good snow cover)
SoilAdaptable / prefers moist but not wet soil
Sun / shadeSemi-shade / Sun
Average fruit weight3-4 kg/plant
Fruit colorRed
Years to bear fruit2
PollinationSelf-fertile but more productive with pollinator
Latin nameRibes rubrum
Average diameter of fruit6 mm
Also known as