Thursday, April 22, 2010

Plant of the Week: Fuchsia Flowering Gooseberry

Let's face it- dangerous plants are pretty sexy.  (at a distance, anyway)  Take for instance, the Ribes speciosum or Fuchsia Flowering Gooseberry.  Red spikes, bright green leaves, dangling fuchsia flowers that turn to glowing red berries in the Summer...

I'm in love as long as I have a pair of thick gloves on.  Needless to say, it's best to position this beauty in a low traffic area or as a barrier.  But stand back and let the hummingbirds take over as the blooms emerge in winter.  Over time it will arch its way into a shrub and provide shelter to neighborhood birds, although I should say that it does go deciduous without summer water.  I'm hoping that will be yet another show as the glossy berries hang off of the bare, thorny branches.  Sounds dramatic!

Sun:  According to my research, it's pretty adaptable. 
Soil:  Again, pretty darn adaptable.  Well-drained is probably ideal.
Plant:  Anytime.  Could it be any easier to grow this?!
Buy it:  Ask your local nursery to special order it, or talk to Las Pilitas Nursery, Yerba Buena Nursery, or California Flora Nursery
Good for:  Directing traffic or as inexpensive burglar deterrents, habitat gardens, red gardens, shade gardens, but probably not for dim lit night-viewing gardens (ouch!)


  1. I love the flowers on this species. Last fall I found a prickly shrub near an oak in the front of the house. When I looked more closely we have quite a few. This spring it turns out they're Ribes californicum! A very similar, equally wicked looking shrub, although your leaves seem a tad more glossy. I'm waiting for the fruits to set on the ones here, they're close, before I post about it. I wonder if it too goes dormant in summer, and if that's part of why I hadn't noticed it before? I certainly wouldn't want to bump into it by accident though!

  2. I've found this plants goes summer dormant in part sun but still looks beautiful in winter with the flowers. The plants in mostly shade seem to stay green, at least where I live.

    Regardless, very pretty, and very timely as well.