The blood plum was created by crossing the cherry plum with a related species. The tree or bush does not grow very large and can be kept in good shape with targeted pruning measures. The blood plum looks particularly beautiful in contrast to green-leaved trees and shrubs. Trees that can reach a height of 8 meters also do well as solitaires. In addition to being a tree, the blood plum also exists as a shrub that can reach 3 to 4 meters in height and almost as wide. In addition, dwarf varieties are available on the market that hardly grow higher than 2 meters. The dwarf plum, also known as the dwarf blood plum, has even brighter red foliage and snow-white flowers, very decorative, especially as a standard.

blood plum varieties

  •  ‘Nigra’ – black-red leaves, color persists through fall, pink flowers, native to the USA, most common cultivar
  • ‘Pissardii’ – original variety, hardly available today. Large, red-brown colored leaves, fading with time, white, sometimes slightly pink flowers appear before the leaves
  • ‘Woodii’ – like variety ‘Nigra’, hardly distinguishable
  • ‘Hessei’ – shrubby growing variety, hardly available anymore
  • ‘Trailblazer’ – large-fruited variety with tasty fruits, also often called ‘Hollywood’, hybrid, leaves turn green in the course of the season
  • Dwarf blood plum (Prunus x cistena) – only 150 to 200 cm high, pink flowers, red leaves, hardly any fruit

The care of the blood plum

Caring for the blood plum is not complicated. The wood is quite undemanding. With a suitable location, good substrate and sufficient water and nutrients, blood plums develop into healthy trees that do not require much work and look good all year round.


The blood plum likes a sunny, warm location. Depending on the variety and location, a blood plum grows between 10 and 30 cm a year.

  • A sunny to shady location is ideal.
  • The blood plum loves warmth.
  • City climate tolerant and hardy

plant substrate

Any garden soil that is not too wet and not too light is suitable as soil.

  • A permeable and deep substrate is ideal.
  • It is favorable if the soil contains humus and lime.
  • A nutrient-rich substrate is important.
  • It should be loosened regularly, especially with young trees.
  • The blood plum does not like acidic substrates.


The blood plum does well in orchards, in beds and even thrives in containers. Dwarf varieties are particularly suitable for this. You have to know that the blood plum is a deep-rooting plant. This is especially important when converting. However, the wood also has many small roots near the surface. You have to be careful when planting under. When choosing the plants, the size of the garden must be taken into account. The slow-growing and dwarf forms are best suited for smaller gardens.

  • The planting hole must be twice the size of the planting ball.
  • Loosen the soil well to avoid compaction!
  • Humus can be added when planting.
  • Freshly planted shrubs need plenty of water to grow.
  • When transplanting, note that the root ball is quite large. It has to be completely lifted out of the ground.
  • Then the root is cut back!
  • The crown also needs to be reduced. Root and crown should be shortened to about the same size!
  • The best time to transplant a blood plum is at the beginning of dormancy in October. But it is better not to convert older copies! With young people this is not a problem.

The flowers adorn the tree from March to April. Then the fruits develop. These are delicious and healthy.

watering and fertilizing

Casting is not complicated. Freshly planted blood plums need regular watering. Grown specimens can do without water for a long time. The roots reach deep into the earth and draw water from there. If you water too much, the roots will become sluggish.

  • Always keep something moist!
  • Waterlogging is not tolerated!
  • Provide sufficient nutrients in spring with complex fertilizer!
  • Firmly rooted blood plum trees also survive summer droughts.

To cut


By cutting, the growth form of a blood plum can be individually designed. In addition, a regular cut ensures an abundance of flowers that decreases more and more. A regular cut is not absolutely necessary, but just makes sense. However, it should not be cut too often, as this can promote the formation of brooms and broom shoots are not attractive to the eye. These are quite common, especially in older trees.

The blood plum tolerates almost any pruning. But you shouldn’t overdo it.

  • Pruning is best after flowering.
  • On young trees, shorten the faded shoots to about 5 buds.
  • Rejuvenate older plants by removing the oldest branches.
  • If the blood plum has generally become too large, cut out a few large branches completely. In addition, branches can be diverted to a branch leading outwards, which then forms the new branch tip.
  • Never cut evenly all around. The growth character should be retained!
  • When cutting, you look for a spot directly above a branch. So the branch keeps growing.
  • The main branch of the blood plum tree should remain uncut if possible. He’s just growing up. All other branches are kept a little shorter.
  • Dwarf blood plums can also be cut.


The dwarf blood plum, like the normal blood plum species, is very hardy. It is also an eye-catcher in the cold season because its dark trunk looks extremely good.


The blood plum is one of the trees that easily self-seed and multiply. This can be seen from the numerous shoots around the trunk. These should always be removed as soon as possible. The bigger they get, the harder it is to get them out of the ground. In addition, these wild shoots compete with those of the noble variety for nutrients, water and light. They can eventually overgrow the grafted variety and it may die.

The wild shoots usually have green leaves and look a little different than the normal shoots. The wild shoots are cut off directly at the exit point on the trunk with a sharp knife or they are ripped out of the ground. No stub should be left standing!

In general, however, the blood plums are propagated by grafting. Sticks and offshoots are usually not very successful.

diseases and pests

If the location is unfavorable and the weather is damp, blood plums can suffer from various diseases, some of which also occur at the same time.

  • Lice – with normal infestations, nothing needs to be done.
  • Monilia – Peak drought and fruit rot caused by two related fungi. The peak drought is of greater importance. It usually occurs in wet years. Even before flowering, masses of fungal spores are produced and spread over the wood by the wind. The spores germinate in humid weather. The infestation can be recognized by the withered shoot tips. It’s spreading more and more every year. You can prevent this by choosing the right variety. Some species are more resilient than others. It is important to remove all fruit mummies and dead branches and to destroy them. Cut 20 cm into the healthy wood! Take pruning measures to ensure that the crown remains airy. There are also pesticides against Monilia. It is important to ensure that only approved agents are used!
  • Fool’s and pocket disease – fungal infection, recognizable by leaf fall (leaves withered shortly after sprouting) and shoot deformation (young shoots thickened and deformed). No pesticides allowed.
  • Shotgun Disease – Fungal infection, identified by small brown spots on the leaves. The dead pieces of tissue fall out, the leaf looks like it has been punctured (shotgun). It is important to collect or cut off infested leaves and dispose of them (not on compost, but with residual waste). In the spring when the leaves are budding, spraying can be used as a preventive measure. The treatments must be repeated regularly. Even when the infestation begins, spraying is still useful. There are special fungicides or copper preparations for this.

The blood plum is a decorative tree. With its dark red foliage, it stands out among the green trees in the garden. Her flowering is also spectacular, albeit brief. Such a tree or shrub does not make any special demands on care. For small gardens, dwarf forms are recommended, which hardly reach more than two meters in height and can also be contained in the crown circumference. It is important to pay attention to the health of the individual varieties. Otherwise there are no special features of the blood plum.

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