Flowering almonds, or prunus glandulosa, are a group of hardy shrubs that are grown for their early spring flowers, small fruits (the fruits are edible but sour) and striking fall foliage. These easy-care shrubs are hardy in Zones 4 to 8, although there are now cultivars available that are hardy in Zone 3 that have single or double white or light- to medium-pink flowers and yellow fall foliage. Flowering almonds can be planted as specimen shrubs or in groups to form hedges. Flowering almond shrubs attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds while in bloom and birds and small mammals when berries ripen. Flowers are borne before leaves in early spring to midspring, and the shrub flowers for three to four weeks.
Choose a spot in full to part sun with at least six hours of direct sun a day, in well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.5. Flowering almond shrubs can be planted in late winter through early summer and again in early fall to midfall. Northern gardeners will want to choose a site that offers protection from the prevailing winter winds.
Soak bare-root flowering almond shrubs in a container of water for several hours before planting. Water container-grown flowering almonds well the day before planting.
Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and at the same depth that the shrub was growing in its container. Spacing varies with cultivar; as a general rule, space shrubs 4 to 5 feet apart.
Mix compost into the soil removed from the planting hole. You want to mix enough compost to form a 50/50 mix of compost and soil. Break up clumps and remove large particles such as rocks and roots from the mix.
Center your flowering almond in the planting hole. Spread the roots of bare root plants out. Remove the container from container-grown flowering almonds and loosen the roots, spreading them out as best you can.
Backfill the hole with the soil and compost mix, tamping it down firmly around the flowering almond to eliminate air pockets.
Use 1 to 2 gallons of water to further settle the soil around the flowering almond. Top up the soil around the base of the shrub, if needed.
Mulch your flowering almond with 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch to retain moisture and inhibit weed growth.
Prune off damaged, broken or dead branches. Make the cuts above a strong outward-facing bud.