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Stay ‘currant’ with hummingbirds’ needs

Pollinator Plant List: Montara foothill currant provides nectar to hummingbirds in late winter and early spring.
Pollinator Plant List: Montara foothill currant provides nectar to hummingbirds in late winter and early spring.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Pollinator Plant List: Hummingbirds” series – 30 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and that attract hummingbirds.

Montara foothill currant

Ribes malvaceum ‘Montara Rose’

Size: Up to 5 feet tall and wide.

Bloom season: Profuse small clusters of dark pink flowers in late winter and early spring.

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade; morning sun and afternoon shade are best in Sacramento area.

Pruning needs: Shape when young to encourage a dense form.

Water needs: Very low; once established, it needs little additional water. Irrigate deeply once a month in summer.

Snapshot: This tough shrub is native to California’s coastal foothills, particularly near Montara State Beach south of Pacifica. This currant prefers good drainage and afternoon shade – particularly in Sacramento, where the summers are much hotter than its native habitat. During late winter and early spring, this variety produces attractive, dark pink clusters of flowers – a source of nectar to resident hummingbirds. Extremely drought resistant, this foothill currant may lose its leaves in summer without irrigation.

For more on “Pollinator Plant List: Hummingbirds,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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