70308Of all the fruitless fruit trees, the purple leaf plum is the most popular here, but probably not for the obvious allure of its rich purplish or bronze foliage that maintains color until it falls in autumn. Purple leaf plum is simply so easy to grow. It does not need to be pruned as regularly as flowering peaches or flowering crabapples do. It is not as sensitive to sunscald as flowering cherries are.

Most purple leaf plums bloom with double or single pink flowers. Old varieties that bloom with white flowers are uncommon. Mature trees might get taller than a two story house, with nicely rounded canopies. Trees are usually pruned up onto single straight trunks, although mature trees in older landscapes might have a few sculptural trunks. Purple leaf plum want full sun and occasional watering.

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9 thoughts on “Purple Leaf Plum

  1. I’ve never noticed this tree around here although I see it is listed in a local nursery’s catalogue (P. cerasifera in a few different varieties). Perhaps I get them confused with the myriad Crab Apples that so many people have. Leaves and foliage appear almost identical to the shrub Purple Leaf Sand Cherry.

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    1. As far as I know, there is only one flowering crabapple with bronze foliage, and it is not very bronze. I have heard of the sand cherry, but I do not know what it is. I just got seed for the beach plum from Long Island in New York a few years ago, but I do not think it is the same. Purple leaf plum may not be popular there if the sand cherry is a better option. They do well in very mild climates where flowering cherries would not get adequate chill; so perhaps they actually prefer milder climates, and dislike severe chill. I really do not know.

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  2. Pretty in bloom but not my fav tree. My daughter in Kentucky has one and is constantly fighting the babies popping up everywhere. I guess people are attracted to the ease of growing them.

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    1. Babies popping up are probably seedlings from the native American plum, or something like it. The American plum was used as understock for some of our fruiting plum trees, so has naturalized here, and it does tend to be prolific. Most purple leaf plums do not make fruit. Mine fruited because it was an old cultivar.

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