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Ribes californicum (California Gooseberry)

California Gooseberry, Hillside Gooseberry

Ribes californicum, California Gooseberry, Hillside Gooseberry, Gooseberries, shrub with berries
Ribes californicum, California Gooseberry, Hillside Gooseberry, Gooseberries, shrub with berries

Ribes californicum (California Gooseberry) is a large, refined, deciduous shrub with numerous spiny stems clad with small, somewhat rounded, three-lobed shiny green leaves. In winter to early spring, a profusion of delicate red and white flowers appear in drooping clusters of 1 to 3 in the leaf axils. Particularly attractive, they feature five white or pink petals, five upwardly-reflexed, white to green sepals with a rosy tinge and five anthers that surround a branched style. They attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. The blossoms give way to red and translucent berries with bristles. Hungry birds feast on them. Endemic to California, California Gooseberry makes an excellent background plant in a bird garden, wildlife habitat, or woodland garden. Avoid planting next to walkways for its spiny stems.

  • Grows up to 3-8 ft. tall (90-240 cm) and 2-6 ft. wide (60-180 cm).
  • Performs best in part shade in mesic, rocky or sandy, well-drained soils. Water once a week in summer once established.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Deer resistant.
  • Propagate by cuttings taken in late winter.
  • Native to California.

Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 10
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Grossulariaceae
Genus Ribes
Common names Currant, Gooseberry
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early)
Winter
Height 3' - 8'
(90cm - 240cm)
Spread 2' - 6'
(60cm - 180cm)
Spacing 24" - 72"
(60cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fruit & Berries
Native Plants California
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Ribes cereum (Wax Currant)
Ribes sanguineum (Red Flowering Currant)
Ribes nigrum ‘Ben Sarek’ (Black Currant)
Ribes nigrum ‘Ben Lomond’ (Black Currant)
Ribes rubrum ‘Red Lake’ (Red Currant)
Ribes rubrum ‘Rovada’ (Red Currant)

Recommended Companion Plants

Aquilegia formosa (Western Columbine)
Berberis pinnata (California Barberry)
Rhamnus californica (California Coffeeberry)
Garrya elliptica (Silk Tassel Bush)
Trillium chloropetalum (Giant Wake Robin)
Vaccinium ovatum (California Huckleberry)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

40 Beautiful Native Shrubs for Shade
Native Plant Alternatives to Ribes rubrum (Red Currant)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 10
Climate Zones 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Grossulariaceae
Genus Ribes
Common names Currant, Gooseberry
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early)
Winter
Height 3' - 8'
(90cm - 240cm)
Spread 2' - 6'
(60cm - 180cm)
Spacing 24" - 72"
(60cm - 180cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fruit & Berries
Native Plants California
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Guides with
Ribes
Not sure which Ribes to pick?
Compare Now

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