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Hort in the Home Landscape

A blog devoted to sharing timely horticulture topics and answering the questions of gardeners and homeowners.
2015-05-03 13 11 09

Plant of the Week: Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry

This week's plant is the Purple-leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena). This lovely shrub is blooming now in my front yard.

This upright deciduous shrub typically grows 6-10’ tall and 5-8’ wide, but can also be trained as a small tree. Its most noted feature is the reddish purple foliage that retains good color throughout the summer. I've used this foliage several times as a cut foliage in arrangements and it holds up well for that use as well.

Fragrant, solitary, white flowers with pink tints bloom in spring after the foliage emerges. Flowers give way to a small production of small blackish-purple fruits that mature in July, which birds enjoy.

Purple-leaf Sand Cherry is best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. It does tolerate part shade, but best flowering and leaf color generally occur in full sun.

Missouri Botanic Garden notes that this shrub can be rather short lived- typically living less than 10 years, because it is susceptible to a large number of potential insect and disease pests.Trunk cankers and borers can be particularly harmful. Japanese beetles can do significant damage to the foliage. Potential additional insects include aphids, scale, leafhoppers, caterpillars and tent caterpillars. Potential diseases include leaf spot, die back, leaf curl, powdery mildew, root rot, honey fungus and fireblight. Spider mites may also be troublesome. So it's definitely a shrub to keep an eye on. 

Learn more about the Sand Cherry here.

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