The Q&A Archives: Flowering Currant Dying?

Question: Hi,

I bought a red flowering currant bush in a gallon pot this past spring and planted it in a sunny place in the yard. Our soil is poor but the drainage is good. Although I watered this shrub, its leaves have now turned tan. How can I tell if it is okay?

Thank you for your help.


Answer: Currant is native to your growing region and should adapt to your soil without problem. It's important to water it deeply during its first year in the ground to help it develop a deep, extensive root system. After that, it should get by with only supplemental water during the hottest months of summer. I wonder if the recent heat wave hasn't caused the browning of the leaves? Try cutting back one of the stems by a few inches and look for green tissue within the stem. Green means the plant itself is okay but the leaves are not; brown tissue within the stem means the stem has died. I'd trim it back to live wood and wait for new shoots and leaves to appear. If your shrub is completely dead, dig it and inspect the roots. If the soil drains too slowly, it may have suffered from root rot. If this is the case, be sure to amend the soil or raise that part of the planting bed to facilitate good drainage before replacing your currant with a healthy specimen.

Best wishes with your garden!

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