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Red Currant

Ribes rubrum

Ribes rubrum, a native of Europe, or Red Currants, are confused with red currants, which are actually dried grapes. The Fruits are high in Vitamine C and are used in salads, for tartness and texture they are more often used in making jams and jellies.

Red Currant, Ribes Rubrum, Bonsai
Red Currant, Ribes Rubrum, Bonsai

Styles and sizes: As Bonsai, it makes excellent specimens of small and medium-sized bonsai in a whole host of styles.

Position: Prefers a full sun position though it can grow in semi-shaded too. For a good crop of flowers and colourful autumn display, it is best to cultivate in a full sun position. While it is a frost-hardy species as bonsai, it likes to be protected in a greenhouse from freezing pots and excessive rain.

Watering: Water thoroughly early in the morning to ensure that the bonsai has the water when it needs it and is not sitting in water overnight. When water just water the pot as watering the crown will damage any flower and rot the fruit.

Feeding: Feed with organic fertiliser, every two weeks with liquid fertiliser or every two months if using a pelletised version. Lime helps to set the fruit and balance out any excessive acidity of the organic feed.

Repotting: Repotting every year helps keep your clumps in control. Best repot in Autumn after flowering and fruiting. Use a free-draining soil, of loam, sharp sand and well-mulched bark in equal parts. Alternatively, you can use Akadama and pumice in a ratio of 2:1 by volume.

Pruning: Prune back current year’s growth to leave 3 lateral shoots or three active nodes. Structural pruning and pruning of thick branches to be left until late winter early spring. Remember that any winter pruning will reduce next seasons flowering buds. To maintain a healthy trunk system, you will need to remove any suckers as they appear.

Wiring: Wire in autumn, and remove the wire before bud break in spring. Leaving wire on longer may result in scaring off the branch.

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