Cherry plums are particularly beautiful to look at in early spring, when countless white blossoms adorn the tree from the end of March. The trees are suitable as solitaires and flowering shrubs, but also make good impenetrable hedges. Wild fruit hedges guarantee an abundance of birds in the garden. However, the fruits can also be processed differently. How to care for cherry plums, read the text below.


  • Rose family
  • Something between cherry and plum
  • Cherry in shape and juiciness, the stone resembles a plum
  • No crossing of both species
  • Often used as a grafting base for fruit trees
  • Plums, plums and mirabelle plums are hybrids of cherry plum and sloe
  • Low tree or shrub with edible fruit, 5 to 8 m tall
  • Often referred to as Turkish cherry
  • Originally from the Balkans and Asia Minor to Central Asia
  • White, long-stalked, large flowers (pale pink on the inside) before the leaves emerge – very fragrant
  • Early flowering, usually at the same time as almond trees. Late March – early April
  • Spherical drupes, 2 to 3 cm in diameter, yellow to cherry red or blue-violet
  • Ripen early, often as early as June
  • Flesh – sometimes sour, often watery and bland
  • However, there are also sweet and aromatic fruits.


Crossing different strains resulted in a large variety of varieties. The red-leaved varieties, commonly referred to as blood plums, are very popular and are sold as ornamental plants, although the fruits are edible.

  • ‘Atropurpurea’ – dull reddish-brown larger leaves, color fading as the year progresses, white flowers, sometimes with some pink, appearing before the leaves in April, purple-red spherical fruits, 3 cm across
  • ‘Nigra’ – shiny, black-red leaves, very dark, shade lasts until autumn, bright pink flowers, about 3 m high, flowers in April, better not to cut
  • ‘Hollywood’ – Syn. ‘Trailblazer’ – reddish-brown leaves and pink flowers, up to 4 m high and 3 m wide, as a tree 6 m, larger hanging fruit and larger individual fruits than ‘Nigra’
  • ‘Pleniflora’ – double blood plum, double flowers on annual shoots, grows 4 to 5 m high, great flowers but unfortunately no fruit
  • ‘CeraSanta’ – Greek cherry plum, flowers in March, strong fragrance, ripening August/September, 3 to 5 cm round fruits, needs full sun
  • ‘Woodii’ – black-red foliage, pink flowers in April, black-red fruits, up to 5 m tall
  • Prunus cerasifera x cistena – dwarf blood plum – hybrid of ‘Atropurpurea’ and Prunus pumila, 2 m tall and wide, dark red foliage, particularly decorative as a standard (spherical shape)
  • ‘Pissardii’ – original variety, all others have emerged from this

The care of the cherry plum

The cherry plum is a versatile and easy-care tree that attracts attention with its flowers and fruits. With many varieties (blood plums), the red foliage is also a real eye-catcher. The cherry plums that grow as a shrub can also be grown as a tree. Normally, however, they grow as a shrub and also form runners, resulting in dense bushes and thickets, which are often used as hedges. Due to the thorns of the shoots, this is then almost impenetrable. Birds like to use them as a breeding ground and food source. The fruits of the cherry plum are rich in vitamins. Minerals, trace elements, fruit acids and fructose and therefore not only beautiful to look at, but also healthy. Red and dark red varieties are more valuable than yellow because the fruits have a higher content of dark,

The trees like the sun and are quite undemanding when it comes to soil. They thrive best in humus-rich, moderately dry to moist loamy soil. It is important that the finishing point is not in the ground, but freely above it. Freshly planted cherry plums need to be well watered. Once established, they can cope quite well with drought. A cut is mandatory when training a tree and is also necessary for hedges. Otherwise, the cherry plum does not need to be cut. However, the cut is recommended for good health alone. Hibernation is usually not a problem. Only young or freshly planted specimens need to be protected and those in containers. Propagation is by grafting. Diseases are not common, but do occur, depending on the location, soil and maintenance. Pests, on the other hand, are rare.


It is important for the location that it is warm and sunny. A sheltered location is favourable, as the flowers are endangered by late frost. The stand must not be too shady, because then there are few flowers and even fewer fruits.

  • Sunny to shady
  • Warm and protected

plant substrate

The cherry plum is not very demanding on the soil.

  • A little chalky
  • Sandy-loamy to loamy clayey
  • Prefers humic, moderately dry to moist loamy soil
  • Medium nutrient content
  • Slightly acidic to alkaline
  • Dry to moist soil
  • Sandy soil is not suitable
  • No acidic soil
  • In the bucket – potting soil-sand mixture


Planting a cherry plum makes little sense unless there is another specimen in the neighboring garden. This fruit tree requires a pollinator variety. Alternatively, other types of plums are also suitable. Conversely, cherry plums are good pollinators for other plum varieties. New varieties often do without a pollinator variety.

  • Planting distance to the property line and to neighboring plants – at least 2 m
  • Container plants can be planted all year round (except during frost)
  • But spring planting is best, then the wood has grown as far as possible by winter
  • Cut the youngest shoots in half when planting!
  • Large planting pit, at least twice the size of the root.
  • Enrich the excavation with plenty of compost
  • Carefully loosen the root ball with your fingers and pull apart
  • Submerge the ball in water until no more air bubbles appear
  • Place the cherry plum in the middle and hammer in a support post at the same time
  • Fill in the soil and tamp down
  • Mulch the soil so it doesn’t dry out as quickly
  • When planting in tubs, it is essential to use sufficiently large containers, at least 30 to 40 liters
  • A drain for the irrigation water is important
  • Drainage in the bottom of the pot is ideal, which prevents waterlogging
Note: The finishing point must not be in the ground. It should stick out about 5 cm.

watering and fertilizing

The roots of the blood plum reach quite deep and therefore, once established, only need to be watered a little and hardly fertilized. There is not much work to do with fertilization either. Balanced fertilization is important. It should not contain too much nitrogen.

  • Water regularly after planting
  • Do not let dry out until established and water regularly, penetrating
  • Once established, the tree tolerates drought
  • High water requirement in the tub, as the soil dries up and dries out quickly
  • Fertilizing in spring is sufficient
  • It is good to work in some compost regularly.
  • Not too much nitrogen!
Tip: Every now and then a pot of nettle manure is used to strengthen the plants.

To cut

Cherry plums don’t need to be pruned, but they can. The cut usually serves to limit the spread. It also encourages branching. The height of the tree can be limited by cutting the main branch just above a branch. Young trees should be pruned annually because they develop their blossom wood in the first few years. Later it is enough to cut every two to three years.

  • Thin out after flowering or cut into shape (hedges)
  • More light inward in the bush ensures bountiful yields and larger fruit
  • Excessive pruning often leads to broom formation
  • Cut dead or diseased shoots back into healthy wood
  • Don’t leave stubs, that’s where pathogens get in
  • Small pruning measures can be carried out all year round, except in the case of frost
  • Do not cut out flat growing branches, on which most fruits grow.
  • Shorten faded shoots to 5 buds, this promotes branching
  • Remove water shooter
  • Do not crush branches
  • Seal larger wounds with tree sap


Cherry plums are extremely hardy. Once they have grown, they defy the Central European winters without any problems. Some protection is recommended in the first winter. Protection against this is important for planters.

  • Very frost hardy, down to about -30°C
  • In the first year, cover the tree pit with straw, leaves or brushwood, spread a thick layer.
  • With potted plants, make sure that the container does not freeze through, as this would damage the roots.
  • The grafting site is most at risk. Therefore earth should be heaped up to cover them. That protects.
  • The vessel should be close to a warm house wall.
  • It should also be packed tightly.
  • To protect the roots from below, place the bucket on styrofoam plates or cork discs.
  • Water occasionally on frost-free days.


Wild species are to be propagated by sowing. The fruits are usually significantly smaller than grafted specimens. Cuttings are also possible. The cherry plums offered in nurseries and nurseries are actually all grafted, at least the blood plums, i.e. the red-leaved varieties.

  • Cuttings – cut in spring, 20 cm long, from one or two year old wood,
  • Separating root suckers is easy, but takes about 4 years to flower and fruit
  • Finishing – nothing for laypeople

diseases and pests

Diseases can occur in unfavorable plant substrates or in damp and cold weather, especially in connection with an unfavorable location. Pests are rather rare, although cannot be ruled out.

Monilia fruit rot

  • Fungal Disease – Transmission by fungal spores
  • Can be recognized by ring-shaped, brownish rotting spots on the fruit
  • No funds approved for home gardens
  • Eliminate infested fruit (not on compost)
  • Attach wasp traps (the puncture point is where the fungal spores enter)
  • Cut back shrubs after flowering
  • Spray with horsetail extract in early spring – as a preventative
Tip: indicator plants for the fungus are forsythia, goldbells and almond trees. The presence of the fungus can be seen on their flowers when they wither quickly and the leaves also dry up. Affected shoots must be cut back to healthy wood.

Fool’s disease and pocket disease

  • Caused by a fungus
  • Grows in the ovary during flowering
  • Particularly high risk of infection in wet and cold weather
  • Leaves, flowers and fruits wilt and fall off prematurely
  • No pesticides are permitted for the home garden
  • The only remedy is to remove all affected parts of the plant
  • If this is done in time, the tree may be saved
  • Prevention through a regular thinning cut so that the crowns are loose and wind-permeable

Occur less frequently:

  • leaf spot disease
  • shotgun disease
  • brown rot
  • Schorf
  • leaf tan
  • voles

Frequently Asked Questions

What can be the reason if the cherry plums do not want to bloom?
This can be due to missing or wrong nutrients. Too much nitrogen, for example, encourages leaf and height growth, but is not particularly conducive to flowering. Fertilizers such as Oscorna Animalin, which also contain minerals that are responsible for flowering and fruiting, are beneficial.

How big do cherry plums grafted onto a stem get?
It is mostly the red-leaved varieties that are grafted onto the trunk. The trunk doesn’t get taller, just thicker. The crown keeps growing. In order to keep the beautiful spherical growth, it has to be cut. Therefore, the crowns do not become confusingly large.

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