If you have a small yard and desire a strong color that can catch your neighbor’s attention, a Prunus Cerasifera commonly known as Purple Leaf Plum is the plant for you! From the Rosaceae family from Southwest Asia, this plant can be placed in USDA 2 – 11. This plant can form from small, especially in phoenix, to medium-sized deciduous trees for foliar and floral accent and/or as a park tree as seen in this picture from a park in Istanbul, Turkey.
This deciduous tree can moderately grow from 15 to 20 feet in height with less than or equal spread. Its wood is relatively hard and brittle, the trunk and branches are smooth, silver-brown, upright yet compact, but during winter the twig turns brown or red while its leaves look oval or oblong in size, 2 – 3 inches wide, deep purple with sedate margins, medium in texture.
The Purple Leaf Plum is a very cold hard tree. It also surprisingly heats tolerant. Watering can actually be infrequent. Deep irrigations are imperative for survival in Phoenix though, frequent regular irrigations are the best. Its flowers are mostly whitish pink in early spring in Phoenix and purple foliage during the summer. These perfect flowers are on branches and spurs, they develop before the leaves. The Plum produces a small edible drupe fruit that is about one inch in diameter, though many cultivated selections are non-fruiting. These delicate flowers attract butterflies and stand out beautifully against the tree’s smooth gray to reddish bark The Plum grows in full sun for the best summer purple leaf color. The Summer leaf color will “green out” in Phoenix if trees are in a shaded location. Soil tolerance however tends to show foliar micronutrient deficiencies in alkaline soils. Pruning can be done very conservatively to lift its canopy.
This plant can be used for a variety of things. The entire plant is poisonous but it is in low enough quantities to prove no harm. It is actually used as medicine as well. Flowers are used in making the “rescue remedy”, and Bach flower remedies are used to help regain control over one’s thoughts and actions. If seeds are too bitter, avoid them. The Fruits can be eaten raw or cooked to make pies, tarts, and jams. If you’re in Phoenix and interested in this Plum, interested in bringing a unique burgundy color in your yard, there are 37,000 trees in stock now in Moon Valley Nursery.
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