Everything You Need to Know About Currant Bushes!

Everything You Need to Know About Currant Bushes!

golden currant

Unique and under-utilized fruiting shrubs, Currant bushes (Ribes) are native to North America, making them an ideal addition to many landscaping plans across the nation! You may see Current Berry bushes for sale under a variety of common names, such as Johannisbeere, Ribes, Groseille, and Bes.

You’ll find a selection of high-quality deciduous Currant bushes for sale right here at Nature Hills Nursery!

Little Known Superfruit

Currant bushes are deciduous, fast-growing plants, and used as edible fruit since the 1550s. They produce multiple stems and grow to about five feet tall. The annual growth is a single flush in the spring, reducing pruning and maintenance on your part.

golden currant fruit

You’ll find Currant Bushes in a variety of colors, sizes, and forms!

Sometimes spelled as one word, Redcurrants and Blackcurrants feature white to rose red, to pink bell-shaped flowers that dangle from the plant in 1-2 inch clusters in the spring. These floral beauties also emit a pleasing, sweet fragrance that attract Hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies to your yard!

Even without your Currant's floral artistry, its light green foliage can be aromatic and give your shrub a lively, vital appearance. Fall brings a variety of dramatic colors for a last burst of autumn enjoyment!

Are Currant Bush berries edible?

With the exception of the Alpine Currant and its dwarf form the Green Mound Alpine Currant, one of the most apparent benefits of these landscape ornamentals is the fruit! Most Currant bushes are self-fertile, but there are some cultivars that need a pollination partner in close proximity to produce more fruit.

Cake with currant berries

Currant fruits can be white (green), red, pink, yellow, or black. They typically ripen 70 to 100 days after blossoming.

Currants bear on a long, flexible stalk-like growth called a “strig” and the berries are favored by birds! But this superfruit is also edible and healthy for us! While they will need a lot of sweeteners, these are very high in antioxidants!

Currant fruits are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. They are a good source of potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. You can use your harvest fresh and raw (but they’re tart!), or in jellies, pies, sauces, and toppings, and can be dried. The fruit can even juiced or used for winemaking.

Currants Available At Nature Hills

currants infographic

  • Alpine Red Currant - Deciduous Zones 2 to 7 (not edible male-only landscaping plant)
  • Audubon® Native American Currant - Black fruited native Zones 3 to 6
  • Consort Black Currant - Deciduous Zones 3 to 7
  • Evergreen Currant - Broad-leaf evergreen in Zones 6 to 10
  • Green Mound Alpine Currant Bush - Dwarf deciduous male cultivar (no fruit) Zone 2 to 7
  • Golden Currant - Gold berries and deciduous throughout Zones 4 to 8
  • Pink Flowering Currant Bush - Broad-leaf evergreen Zones 6 to 10
  • Red Lake Currant Bush - Red deciduous Currant Zones 3 to 7

Gooseberry Bushes

Gooseberry bushes are closely related to Currants and in the same edible Ribes family! Bigger, juicer fruit, with sweeter fruit, the Gooseberry bush does have thorns which makes them great for property-defining hedges and barrier plantings!

  • Hinnomaki Red Gooseberry Bush - Deciduous Zones 4 to 6
  • Pixwell Gooseberry Bush - Deciduous Zones 4 to 6
  • Fuchsia Flowering Gooseberry - Broad-leaf evergreen with red/orange fruit Zones 7 to 9

Where is the best place to plant a Currant Bush?


Currant plants are very cold-hardy and prefer a location with morning sun and part shade in the afternoon. They also require good air circulation. The north sides of a building are typically excellent for Currant plants for maintaining cooler soil temperatures. When soil temperatures exceed 85 degrees, the plants will struggle to thrive.

Currant also withstands some of the most intolerable conditions. It doesn't mind a city setting or clay soils. In fact, Currants prefer heavy soils that are rich in clay and have good moisture-retention qualities. They will not tolerate alkaline or salty soils. An acceptable soil pH for Currants is between 5.5 and 7.0.

Pruning Currant Bushes

Woman picking fresh black currant

Most Currants will flower and fruit on last year's wood. So the best method to Prune Currants is to Renewal prune. This involves removing the older thicker branches down to the ground every couple of years - leaving the younger, thinner branches in place to flower and fruit. Removing the older, less productive branches keeps the plants healthier and more vigorous. Remove any branches that are dead, diseased, or lying along the ground. This is great for natural-form shrubs that aren’t sheared formally.

Pruning yearly and regularly will keep younger canes that produce more fruit. A strong and healthy mature plant should have about eight canes that bear fruit. Replace some of the older canes with younger canes for top production.

  • Full Sun & Partial Shade
  • Moderately Moist Well-Drained Soil
  • Alkaline Soil, Clay, Mild Drought, Urban Environments & Salt Tolerant
  • Takes Pruning Like a Champ
  • Very Cold Tolerant!

Currant Bushes in the Landscape

Currants make a safe and sound choice for an attractive and easy shrub that makes for a remarkable hedge, especially when trimmed into shape. These hardy shrubs are most often used as a low-maintenance formal hedge or left alone for a more celebratory, natural shape.

black currant berry

Ribes species tolerate occasional flooding, so plant in a Rain Garden, near the HVAC unit, or where the gutters drain. On the flip side, Ribes varieties are also well-suited for Rock Gardens, are very drought tolerant, and are ideal for xeric landscaping! This is a great edible ornamental shrub that can be planted in the understory, as part of a permaculture planting, in food forests, or in wildlife-friendly/fruiting hedgerows!

These underused gems work beautifully in a Bird and Butterfly garden, or a woodland garden! Upgrade a tired Perennial or Cottage garden with Currants as a feature or backdrop! A row along the side of your property instills an informal light privacy and screening fence in no time!

These are spectacular accents that highlight a berm, anchor a foundation planting, and soften corners of hardscapes and structures! A single specimen planted by your front entry adds incredible curb appeal!

Best of all, Currants bloom when other plants don't!

  • Fragrant clusters of bell-shaped flowers
  • Green to Evergreen pleated, lobed & toothy leaves
  • Amazing fall color
  • Handle clay & higher moisture but also drought and xeric conditions!
  • Naturally tidy and compact
  • Pollinator & Hummingbird friendly
  • Bird-friendly berries
  • Healthy fruit for humans

Alpine Currants

The Alpine Red Currant and Green Mound Alpine Currant bushes are typically sold as male-only clones and will not produce fruit. However, they are still fantastic flowering landscaping ornamentals and will pollinate female Alpine Currant bushes. Another benefit of these male clones is that they have increased resistance to rust!

Get Current on Currants!

Tough, cold-hardy, and nearly impossible to kill, the incredible Currant is a native shrub on the rise! Plant these unique flowering and fruiting shrubs that you and your local wildlife will adore!

Start improving your homegrown superfruit access and sustainable food security today with the help of Nature Hills! Nature Hills uses Plant Sentry™ to ensure the safe distribution of plant material around our country, protecting your environment!

Happy Planting!

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