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Life After Lawn: White currant will get birds singing

White wild currant is a California native that songbirds love. Its pretty flowers brighten up dry shade.
White wild currant is a California native that songbirds love. Its pretty flowers brighten up dry shade.

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 and ideal for drought-tolerant landscapes.

White wild currant

Ribes sanguineum “Inverness White”

Size: 4 to 5 feet tall and wide.

Bloom season: Many clusters of white flowers with a slight pink blush in late winter and early spring.

Exposure: Prefers partial shade, especially from hot afternoon sun in summer.

Pruning needs: Prune to shape when young.

Water needs: Medium to low; once established, deep water once a week or every other week.

Snapshot: Add some brightness to dry shade with this pretty California native berry (and your wildlife will be happy, too). A coastal form of wild currant with globular clusters of white flowers in winter and early spring, this currant also boasts vibrant green foliage that will light up the shade beneath larger trees. Originally discovered in Marin County, this cultivator needs that summer shade in Sacramento or its foliage burns. Native wild currants have a tendency to drop their leaves in summer if not irrigated and require careful placement in the landscape. The berries attract many varieties of birds including grosbeak and mockingbird.

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

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