Flowering prunus

Flowering prunus covers a group of ornamental flowering trees that are related to popular fruiting trees including plums and peaches. These are some of the best small flowering deciduous trees for temperate gardens and are sometimes referred to as blossom trees that are the first sign of a late winter or early spring.

They are grown as small feature trees up to 4m x 4m in size and are also used as street trees, lining driveways and park plantings.

These trees flower on bare wood in early spring with a mass of white or pale pink blossom. Flowering peaches also have crimson and variegated flowers (pink, white and crimson). Their blossom falls away in the spring breeze like nature’s confetti to showcase the striking spring foliage.

There are many varieties and colours of blossom to choose from so your hardware or garden centre is a great place to start for an ideal choice for any location. Here are a couple to consider.

  • Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’ Flowers on the purple leaved plum are followed by dark purple leaves from spring to autumn adding garden colour over many months.
  • Prunus cerasifera Oakville’ Crimson Spires’ White flowers with pinkish-red stamens form beautiful blooms. They have tall, narrow growth (6m high and 2m wide), which makes them ideal for a driveway planting or as a street tree.
  • Prunus x blireana A stunning display of masses of double pink flowers followed by bronzy-purple foliage. It is a small robust tree that is ideal as a feature tree or mass planted along the driveway.
  • Prunus ‘Elvins’ One for the lovers of white flowers, it has an amazing display that changes to pink covering bare willowy branches. A small upright branching tree (3m high and 3m wide) it is ideal as a feature tree in a small garden.

Growing conditions

Aspect Flowering prunus needs a bright, sunny location with shelter from strong or hot summer winds.

Soil They will survive in a wide range of soil conditions, however, they do best with moist deep soil enriched with organic matter. Before planting add homemade compost and organic matter and/or Seasol Super Compost.

Climate Flowering prunus grow in a wide range of temperate climates and are frost tolerant while deciduous. These trees do particularly well in cool to mild conditions. Flowering peaches grow and flower well in subtropical climates.

How to grow and look after flowering prunus ’for beautiful flowers and stunning foliage including soil, planting, and feeding
How to grow and look after flowering prunus ’for beautiful flowers and stunning foliage including soil, planting, and feeding

General care

Watering Water regularly in spring as the plants flower and re-leaf  through dry summers to encourage good growth and flowering.

Feeding and mulching These flowering trees respond well to feeding in spring as new growth returns. They can be fed via your preferred method, either liquid or granular food or a combination of both. Keep plants growing well with a granular fertiliser such as Seasol plus Nutrients Roses & Flowers every 6 to 8 weeks during the growing season. Spread under the drip line of the tree (the area at the edge of the foliage canopy) as this is where the feeder roots are located. Remember to water it in thoroughly after application. If you prefer liquid feeding, apply PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Roses & Flowers every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season, around the drip line of the tree’s canopy.

Mulch with organic mulch such composted bark, sugarcane mulch, pea straw or lucerne under trees to deter weed competition and retain moisture (keep mulches away from the tree trunk).

Pruning Naturally elegant and compact. Little pruning is needed. Although grown for flowering not fruiting, some ornamental plums may produce small fruit which is quite edible. Light pruning immediately after flowering removes any small fruits as they form.

Watch out This group of plants has few pest or disease problems making them an excellent choice for low-maintenance planting. The purple leafed plum and some other prunus may develop a leaf disease called shot hole of prunus that causes holes to appear in the leaves as if they’ve been peppered by shot. To combat this fungal disease, spray in late winter at bud swell using a registered fungicide such as a copper spray.