Flowering Plum Tree

Various Types Of Flowering Plum Trees

If you're considering planting an ornamental or flowering plum tree, there are a number of varieties available to choose among. Ornamental fruit trees are very popular, often grown as street or sidewalk trees, especially those that bear no fruit, and occasionally grown as specimen trees, especially the larger varieties.

Flowering plum trees differ somewhat from flowering cherries and flowering peach trees although they often look similar when in full bloom. Few if any varieties of flowering cherry or peach trees bear fruit worth noting. Several varieties of flowering plum trees do bear fruit, while other varieties bear little fruit or none at all. If you're looking for a showy display of blossoms, with some edible fruit as a bonus, the following varieties might be worthy of consideration.

Fruit Bearing Varieties - Prunus americana, the Wild Plum, sometimes called the Goose plum, is a very hardy flowering plum tree, often grown as a thicket or shrub. It grows to a height of from 15' to 20', and produces clusters of 1" white flowers. The fruit, also 1" in diameter, is generally too sour to be eaten from the tree, but is considered very good for jelly. Another fruit-bearing flowering plum tree is Prunus cerasifera "Allred". This variety also has white blossoms; however the leaves are definitely reddish in color. The fruit, good for jellies and preserves, is considered to be "tart".  Allred is a 20' tree having a spread of 15'. Prunus cerasifera "Thundercloud" will at times produce a crop of red fruit. Its blossoms vary from pink to white and shades in between. Thundercloud also tops out at about 20', with a 20' spread.

Varieties That Don't Bear Fruit - If you're not interested in fruit-bearing trees, you still might plant one to provide a food source for birds and small animals. They'll certainly be appreciative. You may however be thinking of a location where you don't want fruit on the ground, or if the tree does bear fruit the crops are few and far between and not abundant. One variety is Prunus blireiana, a hybrid, which has reddish purple leaves which turn a greenish bronze as the season wears on. It has fragrant double pink to rose flowers which bloom as early as February or as late as April, depending upon the location. The darkest of the flowering plum trees is the variety Prunus cerasifera "Krauter Vesuvius". Bearing no fruit, Krauter Vesuvius features purple black leaves, forming a stunning backdrop for the February or March blooming light pink flowers. These two varieties grow to heights of 25' and 18', respectively.

Where To Plant Your Flowering Plum Tree - In choosing an ornamental plum, you’re going to be thinking of a place to plant it where it will be at its best. An ornamental tree usually requires plenty of sun, and if planted near a structure, should be planted where it gets a southern, southeastern, or southwestern exposure. Given the fact that flowering plums tend to have a fairly large spread, up to 25' in some instances, they shouldn't be located too near a structure, or at least too close to one of any appreciable height. If you have a small yard, a large flowering plum tree may not fit in well, and a dwarf or shrub-like tree may better serve your purpose. The Chickasaw plum, as one example, is a good choice for tight or crowded locations. Flowering plum trees are hardy in most zones, so can be grown successfully in all of the lower 48 states, and in Canada and Alaska as well.

General Care - These trees are generally low maintenance, as well as disease and pest resistant. They are best pruned in the spring, once blossoming has ceased. Pruning is generally very light, and restricted to removing dead or unproductive branches. Pruning in the fall is not advised for a flowering plum tree as there is a chance of removing too many buds which, otherwise would produce next years blooms. Fall pruning can result in a less than satisfactory display of blossoms the following spring.