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Evergreen currant is a rambling evergreen shrub with long arching branches and glossy deep green foliage that grows 2-3 ft. tall and spreads 5-7 ft. wide. Elliptical leaves have coarsely toothed margins and produce a spicy fragrance when crushed; tiny maroon flowers occur in early spring.

Evergreen currant is native to shaded slopes and canyons on Santa Catalina Island and within the Peninsular Ranges of San Diego County and Baja California. It grows with a sprawling habit that can establish new plants when its arching branches touch the ground and form roots in moist soils.

Evergreen currant is one of the best choices as an understory plant to California native oaks and is included in the Coast Live Oak Palette. It performs best in partial shade, tolerates many soil types and can endure moderate drought stress. Normal winter rains are needed to sustain robust seasonal growth before transitioning into dry summer conditions.

Water Needs

Evergreen currant grows well in Inland empire gardens in areas of partial shade and with normal rainfall and low amounts of summer water. 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 and you should make irrigation adjustments based of field observations of growth and character. Understory leaf litter should be allowed to dry out in between summer waterings when planted under oaks to avoid potential disease problems to oaks.

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, Ground cover, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen, Drought deciduous
Habit: Spreading, Sprawling, Mounding, Arching
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 5 ft. - 7 ft.
Width: 5 ft. - 7 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Burgundy
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Moist soil, Loam, Deep soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, Moderate shade
Function: Wildlife value, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Parks and open space, Mass planting, Hummingbird plant, Grouped, Foundations, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Commercial spaces, Borders, Banks, Background plant, Fragrant foliage, Attracts butterflies


Evergreen currant is most often grown as a dense groundcover, so maintenance activities are focused on helping it maintain this form. Overall, it is a very low maintenance plant. Young plants can be pinched back to encourage dense growth. Occasionally vertical growth emerges from the more sprawling growth. These vertical shoots can be removed to maintain a cleaner more sprawling form (3). Plants will re-root along branches that touch the ground. This can be encouraged (leading to faster spreading of patches of the plant), by "pinning down" sprawling branches with drip irrigation staples (S). This plant requires significant overhead shade in inland gardens and will burn in direct summer sunlight. Lightly prune anytime to keep plant "in bounds" and off of paths, etc., but it is best done after spring flowering (6).



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