Purpleleaf Plum (Prunus cerasifera)
Category: Fruit & Nut Trees
The purpleleaf plum is a small tree that is deciduous and bears deep reddish to purple leaves as well as small white-pale pink flowers. These flowers appear quite early in spring making the plant among the first to flower during this season. The plant is short lived; grows fast and it makes good shade and can also be used as a specimen. The blossoms usually appear before the leaves.
The purpleleaf is scientifically known as prunus cerasifera and it belongs to the family of Rosaceae. Besides its scientific name this species is known by other names such as cherry plum, Myrobalan plum and purple leaf plum.
The purpleleaf plum does very well in zones 4 to 9. It grows to 15 to 25 inches tall and it is round shaped. The plant favors the full sun and if planted under a shade you will notice green leaves.
The purpleleaf plum has leaves that are 1.5-3" long. If you are looking for cultivars on sale you are most likely to find ones with reddish-purple leaves. It is also possible to find cultivars with green foliage.
The purpleleaf plum has small fruits that are 1.25" but they are edible even at such a size. Depending on the cultivar you have the fruits can be purple, yellow or red.
This tree grows quite fast but it also has a short lifespan. The tree may not last more than twenty years. The purpleleaf plum does well in well drained soils. Although the tree is tolerant to different types of soils; it does very well in acidic soils.
Once established this species moderately tolerates drought. It is however not tolerant to compacted soil or any kind of pollution. For purposes of propagation seed or cuttings are recommended.
This species requires quite some cleaning especially because it has a huge mass of fallen fruits. Pruning is recommended once flowering has taken place. This should however be limited to branches that are diseased, dead or damaged.
The purple leaf plum is susceptible to mealy bugs, Japanese beetle, scale as well as tent caterpillars.