How to Care for the Purple Plum Tree


The purple leaf plum tree is also known as the cherry plum tree. This ornamental flowering plum tree is compact in size, with a maximum height of 20 feet and width of 15 feet. The tree has dark purple foliage with light pink, fragrant flowers that bloom in the early spring and attract bees. The tree is susceptible to diseases and pests and has a short life span of 10 to 15 years.

Step 1

Plant the purple leaf plum tree in a full sun location as this will stimulate the purple leaf color. The tree prefers a well-drained that is slightly acidic. Provide wind protection to prevent defoliation on the upper branches.

Step 2

Provide air circulation to prevent the tree being diseased by canker or leaf spot. Remove and destroy infected branches and leaves and apply fungicide, as needed, to stop the spread of the disease.

Step 3

Prune the tree every year in early spring after flowering is finished. Prune to train and shape the branches. Remove suckers and thin any branches that are crossed or crowded.

Step 4

Water the tree regularly the first two years after planting. The purple leaf plum tree requires 15 to 20 gallons of water each week for the first two years to establish the tree. Water 15 to 20 gallons twice a month during the third year of growth. Continue to water the as needed to keep the soil moist for the remaining life of the tree.

Step 5

Fertilize the purple leaf plum every spring before new growth appears with a general-purpose fertilizer.

Step 6

Check the tree regularly for pests, such as aphids, scales, borers, mealy bugs and tent caterpillars.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruner
  • General purpose fertilizer


  • Friends of the Urban Forest: Flowering Plum, Purple Leaf Plum
  • Monrovia: Purple Leaf Plum
  • University of Florida: Thundercloud Cherry Plum
Keywords: purple leaf plum care, cherry plum tree, growing flowering plum

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.