Purple Leaf Plum Trees

Purple Leaf Plum Trees – Landscaping tree

Last Updated on May 16, 2022 by Paul Guzman

Purple Leaf Plum Trees (Prunus cerasifera) are small to medium-sized trees that do well in and around the southwest.  The most interesting thing about these trees is the brilliant showy bright pink flowers they produce during the early spring. It is one of the first trees to bloom in early spring.  Here is more information on Early Blooming Trees and Plants.

Purple Leaf Plum Trees
The lavender color of this tree in early spring.

They are also called the Cherry plum tree and they grow to about a medium-sized deciduous tree.  About 15 ft. tall and about 20-25 ft. wide.  This makes them a good tree to use for a smaller landscape area.

Where to place this tree?

It is a slow to moderate-growing tree.  It loves full sun but can tolerate some shade, especially the morning sun.  Plant 2-3 in the front of your home for a fantastic show of color in early spring.  The blooms last about 2 weeks, sometimes longer.  The blooms will disappear and be replaced with new shiny dark purple foliage.

The Leaves of the Purple Leaf Plum
A closeup of the Purple Leaf Plum foliage. Visit the following post for more information on Identify trees by leaves.


Purple Leaf Plums Trees
Two Purple Leaf Plum trees neatly placed in this backyard.


Problems with this tree.  It does attract the Borer’s mainly the Emerald Ash Borer.   The female will lay its eggs in the bark these larvae will turn into an adult female borer.  The larvae will first turn into a worm and it will chew into the bark and into the tree. It eventually exits and leaving a small “D” shaped hole.  You can read more about this borer over at Wikipedia.

Smaller younger trees produce leaves that are thin and delicate.  Harsh strong winds during the windy season will damage the foliage, however, once the tree is mature this is not noticeable.

The purple leaf plum is a non-bearing plum tree.  However, if there are plum trees nearby it will get pollinated and start to bear fruit.  This fruit is not really edible, but some folks do use these plums to make jam.

It is not a drought-tolerant tree so watering often during its first 2-3 years of initial planting is advised.  Almost daily during the hot mid-summer seasons.  Make sure you have well-composted soil when planting. Learn how to “Plant a tree properly“.

Other varieties of this tree

The Krauter Vesuvius Purple Leaf Plum is another variety of this tree.  With dark purple foliage and spectacular bloom and less likely to produce fruit.  You can view pictures and more information over at Monrovia.com

Planting Zones.  USDA 4-9

Have questions or comments about this tree?  Enter your comment below.



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    • Brady
    • November 29, 2020

    How often during the winter should this tree be watered and for how long with a drip system. Thank you.

  1. Reply

    Hello, Brady. The Purple leaf plum should be watered about twice per month starting in early December and ending in late February. About 15 or 20 minutes on a good drip system. When mid-March rolls along you will have to up your watering about every other day… especially on newly planted trees.

    I don’t know how many gallons of water drip out of your system, but it should be about 5-7 gallons each time. I hope this helps.

    • Brady
    • November 29, 2020

    Yes thank you….

    • Lyn Bussian
    • May 15, 2022

    Does this tree attract birds?

    1. Reply

      Hello, Lyn. Yes, it does. But not as much as larger type trees. The purple leaf plum will grow about 15 ft. tall and about 20-25 ft. wide.

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