Blooming Now--Purple Leafed Flowering Plums

 
 
Covered in tiny light pink blossoms, purple leafed flowering plums are among the earliest flowering trees in spring.

 
 
 
These beautiful little trees are varieties of Prunus cerasifera, Newport flowering plum and thundercloud plum being two of the most common. The burgundy centers of each tiny flower and the emerging burgundy foliage contrast with the cloud like masses of soft pink flowers. The resulting look is both delicate and striking. And the ornamental value of these trees doesn't end when the bloom time does. The foliage remains burgundy all summer, adding a nice foil to other trees. This and their small size (they only grow to be 15-20' tall) make them suitable for focal point trees. But they work equally well as accents or in masses.
 
Prunus cerasifera are closely related to purple-leaf sand cherry bushes (Prunus x cistena.) In fact, Prunus x cistena is sometimes pruned into tree form, and it is then nearly impossible to tell the two apart. However, Prunus x cistena only grows to about 10' tall, making it an even smaller tree than Prunus cerasifera.
 
Despite their delicate appearance, both of these Prunus species are tough plants. They are adaptable to a wide variety of soil types and climates and can tolerate wind. This makes them ideal ornamental trees for southeast Idaho.
 


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