Fuchsia flowering or fuchsia flowering gooseberry, Ribes speciosum, is a four foot shrub with red fuchsia-like flowers that appear in Jan.-May after the foliage emerges. This gooseberry has spiny stems and fruits(currants do not)and glossy dark green leaves. (The fruits look like red jewels.)
Fuchsia flowered gooseberry likes shade to sun, no water to garden water with good drainage, but tolerates clay. We have one we planted in front of our kitchen window that a hummingbird lives in for two months each year. Defending his bush with his life gallantly. The density of the plant makes a perfect bird shelter from the neighbor cat. (The hummingbirds can use the bits of fur stuck on the spines for their nests.)
It is summer deciduous, more so in the interior. To reduce summer dormancy, give a little extra water in spring and fall and mulch to hold the water. It is not the best to be giving extra summer water unless it is near a watered flower bed that is always watered. You can usually water indirectly, like a summer shower. However if summer temperatures are really high it will go dormant regardless. Do not give 'deep waterings' after the first or second year. This one can be very difficult to plant in the summer because of the dormancy. It's best planted in fall winter or early spring.
We sell a lot of these when they are in flower, the draw back is the thorns. Do not plant it in a narrow flower bed, along a walk, next to a patio, etc. It is at its best where you have spring activities to see it at its best, or where you can see it from a window but do not have to get near it. It will not tolerate reflected sun unless you are right on the coast or at higher elevations. It loves morning sun or high shade. I've seen this plant in the chaparral above Big Sur, in the Cypress groves of Pebble Beach, under the pines in Cambria, in the inner dunes in Los Osos, west of Thousand Oaks, and a lot of other spots from the coast to inner coast ranges. Beach sand to serpentine clay. It does make a great yard border planting in many situations.
Mr. Wilson should have planted it for Dennis the Menace. From a "The Metropolitan Police - working for a safer London" web page for protecting your garden. "Fuchsia-flowered Gooseberry Ribes speciosum - Fruit bush, spiny, produces greenish to greenish-pink flowers in clusters of two or three. Extremely hardy, thrive in moist, heavy clay soil in cool, humid climate." Maybe the prefect plant for coastal California city life? Funny how the English think it should grow in clay, Californians think this fuchsia flowered gooseberry should grow in perfect drainage. Beach people don't realize it will grow in pure sand, adobe soil people think their soil's terrible and Ribes speciosum won't grow. Just try a patch of this hummingbird plant, you and the birds will love it.
Click here for more about California Currants and Gooseberries
Ribes speciosum tolerates sand, clay and serpentine.
Ribes speciosum is great for a bird garden.
Foliage of Ribes speciosum has color reddish-green and is stressdeciduous.
Flower of Ribes speciosum has color red.
Fruit of Ribes speciosum has fragrance.
Communities for Ribes speciosum:Chaparral and Coastal Sage Scrub.