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The Chaparral currant is a tough deciduous shrub that naturally occurs in coastal areas of California. It can grow 4-6 ft. tall and produces small clusters of fragrant rose colored flowers in the spring. Medium green leaves have rough surfaces, serrated margins and three lobes.

The Chaparral currant is a good understory plant around the Coast live oak in combination with coffeeberry, toyon, manzanita and ceanothus. It provides both nectar and edible berries for birds, as well as attractive flowering for garden value. A number of cultivars can be found from time to time, including: R. m. 'Ortega Rose' that produces light pink flowers, R. m. 'Outback' has deep pink flowers, and R. m. 'Cristy Ridge' grows white and soft pink colored flowers.

Water Needs

The Chaparral currant is well adapted to normal winter rains and low amounts of supplemental water during summer throughout the Inland Empire. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; young plants will grow faster and larger with the higher amounts of supplemental moisture in this range.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous, Drought deciduous
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 4 ft. - 6 ft.
Width: 4 ft. - 6 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Pink
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Silt, Loam, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Moderate shade, Partial sun
Function: Wildlife value, Residential spaces, Hummingbird plant, Foundations, Flowering accent plant, California native, Banks, Background plant, Fragrant flowers, Attracts butterflies


Thin branches as needed in Fall to remove crossing or weak branches (2). Can be pruned to shape as needed anytime, but it is best done after spring fruit production (for us and the birds) (D).



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