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Life After Lawn: Montara chaparral currant

Montara chaparral currant is a native shrub that can survive without summer irrigation.
Montara chaparral currant is a native shrub that can survive without summer irrigation.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Life After Lawn” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region.

Montara chaparral currant

Ribes malvaceum “Montara Rose”

Size: Up to 5 feet tall and wide

Bloom season: A darker pink selection with profuse small clusters of flowers in late winter and early spring

Exposure: Morning sun and afternoon shade are best in Sacramento area.

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

Water needs: Very low water; once established, it needs little or none. Irrigate deeply once a month in summer.

Snapshot: This tough shrub is native to coastal foothills. It prefers good drainage and afternoon shade, particularly in Sacramento. During late winter and early spring, this variety produces attractive, dark pink clusters of flowers. Chaparral currant may lose its leaves in summer without irrigation. A prolific bloomer, it will provide a source of nectar to visiting hummingbirds.

For more on “Life After Lawn,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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