Many gardeners use flowering plum trees for color contrast in gardens and landscapes. The tree also make a great addition to gardens in hardiness zones 5 to 9 with its show-stopping masses of fragrant blooms in the spring. Once the bronze-purple leaves appear after blooming finishes, it's easy to see why so many gardeners find the trees a "must-have" in their gardens.
Flowering plum trees grow up to 25 feet in height, featuring beautiful green foliage that turns purple to bronze during the summer. In the spring, these deciduous trees feature eye-catching fragrant flowers in shades of white to pink and measuring several inches across. Once the flowers disappear, small plums about the size of golf balls begin to develop on some species of the tree. The fruits mature in late summer. In the fall, the leaves of most flowering plum trees turn beautiful shades of red and yellow.
Flowering plum trees come in a variety of native and introduced cultivars. The flowering American plum tree, also known as wild plum or hedge plum, is a small native tree featuring edible red plums. The Newport flowering plum tree remains one of the hardiest trees, featuring dull purple fruit every other year and a profusion of small flowers in the spring.
Preferring full sun to partial shade, flowering plums thrive in well-drained soil. These fast-growing trees require plenty of water until they're established, especially during hot summer days or periods of drought. Planting the trees in protected areas away from high winds also keeps them healthy.
Wildlife find the plums of the flowering American plum tree provide tasty treats, especially squirrels and other small mammals. Birds also eat the small plums when ripe. Deer find the foliage tasty, too. Bees find the blossoms a powerful attractant, especially in early spring when little food is available. Birds also use the trees for nesting material and temporary cover.
Most gardeners use flowering plum as an ornamental tree thanks to its fragrant, showy blossoms and interesting foliage. These small trees also work well for areas beneath overhead wires as well as along sidewalks and roads. Some people use the tree to provide both ornamental beauty and to harvest the small plums that appear on some varieties of the tree.