The purple plum tree is welcome addition to many gardens. Valued primarily for its visually pleasing pink flowers and deep purple foliage, the purple plum is primarily categorized as an ornamental and is grown for landscaping or gardening purposes. The purple plum tree bears dark red or purplish fruits each July. The plums are edible but can be either sweet or sour, depending on the particular variety of tree. Though it has a relatively short life span for a tree, living an average of 20 years, the purple plum is fun, easy and rewarding to grow.
Select healthy tree stock from the local nursery. Visually assess the saplings, choosing a tree that has a well-developed, straight trunk and well-developed, evenly spaced branches. Scratching the bark a bit should reveal healthy green tissue beneath and the buds of the tree should be plump and pliable. Avoid any tree that shows obvious signs of damage or in which the roots have grown beyond the container it has been placed in.
Remove the tree from the packaging as soon as you get it home and submerge the trees roots into a bucket of cool water. Allow the roots to soak for two to three hours while you prepare the planting site.
Choose a location that will allow the tree to receive sunlight for at least six hours a day. Trees that are planted in shady areas frequently fail to develop the characteristic purple colored leaves.
Dig a hole which is at least twice as wide as the root ball of the tree. If you're unsure, use the original container as a guide. The root ball will be approximately the same size. Make the hole deep enough to bury the roots of the tree 6 to 8 inches beneath the surface of the soil.
Remove the tree from the bucket and loosen the root ball, spreading the roots slightly to allow for increased circulation of air around the tissues. Position the tree in the center of the hole and refill, pushing the dirt around the roots and trunk. Stop periodically to press the soil lightly with your fingertips, tamping down the loose bits of dirt to help hold the tree in position.
Water the tree for approximately five minutes and then wait for the water to be absorbed by the roots. Then place a four foot stake next to the trunk of the tree and push it 3 to 4 inches into the soil. Tie the tree trunk loosely to the stake to help stabilize the tree.
Water the tree once a week in dry conditions and fertilize twice a year with a general purpose plant food. Additionally, after the tree flowers each spring, visually inspect the branches, removing any damaged, dead or diseased growth from the tree.