Purple Leaf Sand Cherry, Prunus x cistena Ilona Erwin May 27, 2004 No Comment

I have a large purple sand cherry that I planted in the first years here at this place, which I now call "Flatironed Acres". What many people don't realize is that this shrub grows quite wide with a floppy graceful form. Perhaps that is because many try to use shears to shape it to form. I am not a fan of that method for this type of shrub.

There are many types of large shrubs that I think look best with a natural form, like this Prunus x cistena, forsythias, and viburnums. I learned the hard way to not prune cherries until late winter/early spring. In the fall, especially, it seemed to lead to problems. Cankers and nasty things like that.

The purple leaf sand cherry does look like it could use a bit of trimming up and shaping, though. The Ohio State site has a page on this plant. Their picture shows what looks like bushes that are about 4-5 years old. My Sand Cherry is at the end of its predicted life, but it is still very healthy and looks happy. Just a bit flopped.

I think the fact that it is in an open windy spot which has moisture during the beginning of the season, but dry later is something this plant likes. I tend to neglect that part of the garden. But the soil is decent and looser loam than other parts.

Anyway, the plan is to trim out some of the extraneous branches and maybe clear some of it from below, so the hostas ( I have glaucus leaved hostas underneath) make a better show. They are somewhat hidden by the lower branches of the shrub. I also want to trim some of it away from the Hansa rose.

I don't advise anyone to grow it in close quarters. It will look cramped and need lots of pruning.

An Update: Purple Leaf Sand Cherry, short-lived shrub
Plants with Purple Foliage

These pages may interest you:

Pruning Tips

General Pruning info

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by Ilona Erwin

A gardener, blogger, writer, who has been blogging here since 2004, and writing for my website, Ilona's Garden since 1998.

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