If you’re looking for a low-maintenance hedge plant, try growing alpinum currants. What is an alpine currant? Read on to find out how to grow alpine currants and pertinent alpine currant info.
What is an Alpine Currant?
Native to Europe, alpine currant, Ribes alpinum, is a low-growing, low-maintenance plant with bright green foliage present throughout the summer. It is most often used as a hedging or border plant, often in mass plantings. It is hardy to USDA zones 3-7.
Alpine Currant Info
Alpine currants grow to a height of between 3-6 feet (just under a meter or two) and the same distance widthwise. There are both male and female plants, although males are more commonly found for planting. In the case of a female alpine currant, the shrub produces small, greenish-yellow flowers followed by rather inconspicuous red berries during midsummer.
Alpine currants are not prone to a lot of pests and diseases; however, anthracnose and leaf spot can be a problem. In some areas of the country, it is illegal to plant Ribes species, as they are alternate hosts for white pine blister rust. Prior to planting, check with your local extension office to see if this species is legal in your area.
How to Grow Alpine Currant
Alpine currants prefer full sun with moist, well-draining soil. That said, it is also possible to find alpinum currants happily growing in full shade in compacted, dry soil. Alpine currants are very adaptable and tolerate drought as well as a variety of soil conditions and sun exposures.
It is easy to maintain the desired size on these small bushes. They can be pruned any time of the year and tolerate even a heavy pruning.
There are a number of cultivars of this currant shrub available. ‘Aureum’ is an older cultivar that does best in a full sun exposure. ‘Europa’ can grow up to 8 feet (2.5 m.) in height but again can be restrained with pruning. ‘Spreg’ is a 3- to 5-foot (under a meter to 1.5 m) variety that is known to retain its leaves throughout the seasons.
Smaller dwarf cultivars such as ‘Green Mound’, ‘Nana’, ‘Compacta’, and ‘Pumila’ require little pruning, as they maintain a height of only around 3 feet (just under a meter) height.