Alpine currant

Alpine currant used as a hedge.

Alpine currant (Ribes alpinum) is a hardy, low mounded shrub commonly used as a hedge. Plants are tolerant of full sun to full shade. Very low maintenance with no ornamental appeal than its dense green foliage.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name:

Ribes alpinum

All Common Names:

Alpine currant

Family (English):

Gooseberry

Family (Botanic):

Grossulariaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Screen

Size Range:

  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 2,
  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Early summer,
  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:

Size & form

A rounded twiggy deciduous shrub reaching 3 to 6 feet high and 6 to 7 feet wide.
Often used as an informal hedge.

Tree & Plant Care

Full sun to full shade in moist well-drained soils, but adaptable to soil pH, clay, compacted, dry soils.
Responds well to pruning, can be sheared.
Very winter hardy.

Disease, pests, and problems

Leaf spots, aphids, scale, rust, anthracnose

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Clay, drought, dry soil, wind, alkaline soil, rabbits

Native geographic location and habitat

Europe and Russia

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Birds and butterflies

Bark color and texture 

Light gray-brown to tan, older stems exfoliate.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, ovate with 3 to 5 lobes, 1 to 2 inches long,

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Dioecious, separate male and female plants. Insignificant greenish-yellow.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

On female plants only, scarlet, juicy berry.

Cultivars and their differences 

Green Mound Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum 'Green Mound'): a male form, 2 to 3 feet high and wide.

Dwarf Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum 'Pumilum'): male, 2 to 3 feet high.

Green Jeans™  Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum 'Spreg'): female, 3 to 5 feet high and wide, glossy dark green foliage.

Location of Ribes alpinum (Alpine currant) at the Arboretum