PRUNUS CERASIFERA – PURPLE LEAF PLUM
Provide good drainage in an acidic soil for best growth. Crowns become one-sided unless they receive light from all around the plant, so locate in full sun. Select a different plant if soil is poorly drained, but otherwise cherry adapts to clay or loam. Roots should be kept moist and should not be subjected to prolonged drought. Trees are often in decline by 10 years after planting in the eastern US. Plants perform best on north facing slopes in the Rocky Mountain region.
A regular fertilization program with slow release nitrogen is recommended to keep plants vigorous. Too much nitrogen in the soluble form could stimulate sprouting. This plant is considered mostly allergy free and causes little or no allergy problems in most people. Foliage from most members of this genus is considered poisonous when ingested. Cherries compartmentalize decay poorly meaning that decay can spread rapidly inside the tree following mechanical injury to the trunk or removing large branches.
Cherry Plum should be grown in full sun on well-drained, acid soil to bring out the richest leaf color. It tolerates slightly alkaline soil. Tolerant of moderate heat and drought, it often succumbs to borers on poor, compacted soil. The tree transplants well but is susceptible to canker diseases and borers which can shorten their life. Trees are sold as single trunked specimens or multi-stemmed clumps. Cherry Plum is grown for its purple-leafed cultivars since the flowers of cultivars are not as ornamental as the colored foliage. However, the flowers can be shown to advantage in front of a dark background.
This plant resists Japanese beetles but some damage can be expected. Fruits can form creating a slippery mess under the canopy for a few weeks. Try ‘Krauter Vesuvius’ which develops no fruit.