How To Grow A Purple Leaf Plum Tree
The purple leaf plum tree (Prunus cerasifera), also known as the cherry plum, is popular in landscaping due to its ornamental nature. The leaves can range in color from purple to green. This tree has a moderate growth rate and gains about 1 to 2 feet per year. It’s best planted in the early spring or fall.
- Mature Size: 15–25 ft. tall, 15–20 ft. wide
- Soil Type: Loamy, well-drained
- Flower Color: Light pink, white
Purple leaf plum trees are delicious additions to your home orchard. This small tree, also known as the cherry plum, offers flowers and fruit in cool to moderate climates. What is a purple leaf plum tree? If you want more information on these trees and tips on how to grow a purple leaf plum, read on.
What is a purple leaf plum?
Purple plum trees ( Prunus cerasifera ) are small deciduous trees. Their habit is either erect or spreading. The slender branches fill with fragrant, showy flowers in spring. The pale pink flowers develop into crimson drupes in summer. These fruits are loved by wild birds and are also edible for humans. The bark is also ornamental. It is dark brown and cracked.
How To Grow Purple Leaf Leaf Trees
Purple leaf plums fit well in many backyards. They grow only 15 to 25 feet (4.6-7.6 meters) tall and 15-20 feet (4.6-6 meters) wide. If you want to start growing purple leaf plum trees, you will need basic information. The first step is to check your hardiness zone. Purple plum trees thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8.
You will need to choose a planting site that receives full sun and is easiest in well-drained soil. Make sure the soil is acidic rather than alkaline.
Choose a sunny site with well-drained soil that is protected from strong winds. To get the richest leaf color and best flowering, grow in full sun. Ornamental plums can grow in shade, but the foliage will tend to remain green in shady locations. Give your plum tree plenty of space for roots as well as crown.
Purple leaf plum care
Caring for purple leaf plums will not take much of your time as a gardener. These trees require regular irrigation, especially during the season after planting. But even when they are mature, they prefer moist soil. When you grow plum trees with purple leaves, you can find them attacked by various pests. They are likely to:
- Japanese beetles
- Tent tracks
Look for treatment at your local garden store. Even if you give your trees the best care, they will prove to be short-lived. Purple plum trees rarely have a lifespan of more than 20 years.
- You can choose from several cultivars if you are looking for a particular effect.’ Atropurpurea’ was developed in 1880, offering purple-red foliage and light pink flowers.
- ‘Thundercloud’ is the most popular cultivar overused in many landscapes. It is relatively small, with purple leaves and flowers that appear before the leaves.
- For a slightly taller tree, try ‘Krauter Vesuvius.’ His habit is distinctly straight.
- ‘Newport’ is the coldest hardy selection. It forms a small rounded tree with early flowers.
The purple Leaf plum tree
Dimensions: 7 to 10 m high and spread out.
Silhouette: Purple Leaf Plum Tree with an oval shape that opens more and spreads out with age.
Foliage: Leaves 4-6 cm long, simple, toothed, oval, of a uniform dark reddish-brown, emerging at the end of flowering.
Flowers: In March-April, very numerous, in small groups or isolated. The pink buds open into white flowers of 2 to 3 cm. On the variety ‘Nigra’, the flowers are pink.
Fruits: In August, small blood red plums 3 cm in diameter. Contrary to what is often said, they are edible, juicy, and sour and can be eaten raw or in jams.
Bark: Dark red-brown, scaly.
Its cultural requirements
Hardiness: Very hardy, this tree is resistant to both cold and heat.
Exposure: It appreciates full sun (but be aware that its bark can deteriorate in too hot a situation) and partial shade.
Soil: Undemanding, it adapts to all types of soil!
Moisture: It tolerates dry, cool, or even saturated soils, provided it is temporary.
Sensitivity: It fears strong winds, its fragile branches but tolerates spray rather well. It is susceptible to moniliasis, lead disease (which causes branches to die off), and wood-eating fungi that develop on wounds (pruning or breakage). It is resistant to classic urban pollution.
Plantation: Where you want! It is very easy to find in the nursery, where it can be purchased either already formed into a stem or grown as a clump. Its recovery is easy, even with bare roots. Prepare a large planting pit much wider than the roots, not burying the base of the trunk. Support halfway up to avoid any subsequent risk of injury. Strain the water from the bowl in spring and use it.
Cut: In hedges, it supports regular mowing well. For more classic shapes, limit severe sizes that provoke strong reactions. Gradually eliminate the suckers on the trunk and suckers. As with all stone fruit trees, it is best to prune them during the growing season. Do not cut this Purple Leaf Plum Tree heavily – it will rot in the wood.
A small ornamental tree with pleasant shade, the Purple Leaf Plum Tree has a sustained color that brings a colorful spot to the garden. Its flowering is abundant, and its small tangy plums, too often neglected, attract birds!
Purple Leaf Plum Tree plantation
I prefer planting in the fall or the spring but always avoiding periods of frost.
- The plum tree likes rather sunny situations to give good plums
- Predict that your plum tree will reach full adult size within a few years and will therefore need room to develop.
- During the first weeks, water regularly as long as it does not freeze.
- So prefer watering during the day because the nights are often much cooler.
- To ensure good development for your plum tree, consult our planting advice.
Mix the varieties to stimulate pollination and, therefore, fruiting.
If you only plant one plum tree, choose a self-fertile variety such as Prunier date, Mirabelle de Nancy, or Quetsche d’Alsace.
Purple Leaf Plum Tree pruning
In the plum tree, pruning is as much about maintaining your tree as it is about improving the plum harvest.
The general principle of size:
It is recommended to prune what is strictly necessary because plum trees become susceptible to all types of injuries and, therefore, diseases.
After each intervention, apply a healing putty to protect it from fungi.
Plumtree formation size:
You can practice training pruning the first year to form the frame of the tree.
- The training pruning takes place in winter but outside the frost period.
- To do this, prune your tree to have 3 or 4 main branches facing outwards.
- Like all stone trees, especially cherry trees, pruning is done in late summer or early fall.
After the plum harvest:
This maintenance pruning takes place throughout the winter but outside the frost period.
- Remove deadwood and fragile branches.
- Remove the fruits that have remained on the tree, often diseased, and destroy them.
- Finally, remove the suckers, that is to say, the shoots which develop at the foot of the tree. These greedy people do not produce anything.
The plum tree is subject to certain diseases and pest attacks. The aphids are the main enemy of plum.
In prevention, certain organic treatments such as spraying nettle manure or horsetail manure strengthen the plum tree’s defenses.
There are suitable treatments for fungi such as plum rot (moniliasis) or rust.
- Fight against rotting plums on the tree
- Printer rust treatment
The harvest will be better if the tree is fertilized with fruit tree fertilizer in the spring.
- To go further: Plum diseases.
Harvesting and storing plums
The plum harvest occurs during the summer, but the period varies as much according to the varieties as to your region’s climate.
When buying your plum tree, opting for a plum tree adapted to your region’s climate is the assurance of having a good harvest at the right time.
It is important not to let the plum ripen too much on the tree as it will eventually fall off and rot to the ground.
- The earliest plums are harvested in early summer. Among them, we are Golden Japan, appreciated for its delicious yellow flesh.
- The semi-early plums are harvested in August. We find the ‘real’ Reine-Claude
- Semi-late and late plums are harvested at the end of summer. Like the Reine-Claude de Bavay variety
Preservation of plums:
Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to keep plums for a very long time, and that is why it is recommended to consume them quickly.
- To slightly increase the shelf life, keep them in a cool place in the refrigerator.
To know about the plum tree.
The plum tree is a fruit tree from which we consume fresh plums or make plum jams, liqueur, pastries, or even dried fruits such as Agen prunes.
Which variety to choose to have beautiful plums?
The plum tree gives fleshy fruits rich in vitamin B, calcium, and mineral salts.
We distinguish plums by their yellow-orange color from plums whose color is blue. These are the varieties of Mirabellier that we like to cook for dessert.
The Ente plum is the variety of plums used for the famous Agen prune.
- Discover the Japanese plum ( Prunus salicina)
- Also, find our delicious plum jam recipe.
How To Grow A Purple Leaf Plum Tree