Pruning Ribes – Flowering Currant – How & When to Prune

Ribes flower early in the Spring – just after Forsythia.

Ribes do not actually need pruning to flower well, however, if the shrub has been planted in the wrong place and outgrown its position, then you will need to prune the Ribes:

  1. To get it back into proportion, and;
  2. Regularly to ensure that it does not again outgrow its position.

When to Prune Flowering Currants

With a large overgrown Ribes shrub, the best course of action may well be to prune it hard – down to ground level or near!

That course of action can be carried out at virtually any time of year, but if you prune it too late, then it will not flower the following spring.

So, pruning earlier is better – around March or April at the latest.

This will give it a full growing season when it can again grow into space – but in a more controlled manner.

Ribes – Flowering Currants, flower early in spring on flower buds that are grown in the previous growing season. It needs a full season to grow these flower stems and buds ready for the following spring.

If the Ribes ‘suffer’ a late pruning, then the flower buds for the next year will be lost.

Pruning Ribes is necessary immediately after they have finished flowering.

Related read: Pruning shrubs calendar

How to Prune Ribes

The pruning can be done in 1 of 2 ways:

  1. A general trim back to shape – but bear in mind that growth will be quite rapid after pruning, so a light prune might not be enough. Prune right back into the bush.
  2. Prune back hard – The other way in which to grow a spectacular Ribes shrub, is to cut the Ribes back very hard each year – right after flowering!

Cut out all the previous years flowered branches to a point to suit – 30cms from the ground is great!

If you prune back in this manner every year, it will contain the shrub to a reasonable size, but – more important – the plant will grow long upright cane type branches during the year, which will then be clothed top to bottom in large flower clusters the following spring – quite spectacular!

About Tim Stephens

I'm a professional gardener with degrees in Horticulture & Landscape Gardening. I want to help you create the garden of your dreams. I want your garden to look like it’s maintained by a professional. As if I was there doing it all for you!

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