The Care of a Purple Plum Tree


The purple plum tree, also known as the purple leaf plum (Prunus cerasifera 'Atropurpurea'), is a member of the "prunus" family that includes ornamental cherry trees. A deciduous tree, the purple plum is characterized by its oval, purple leaves. The flowers bloom in early spring and range from white, to pale pink and deep pink. The purple plum, as its name implies, bears plums in midsummer that are edible and attract birds and other wildlife. This tree prefers full sun and slightly acid, moist soil. It's hardy in zones 4 to 9 and can grow up to 25 feet.

Step 1

Dig a hole at least two to three times the diameter of the root ball and just as deep. Take the tree out of its container, being careful to handle it by the roots, not the trunk. Place it in the hole.

Step 2

Stand up your tree so it's straight and spread out the roots. Begin to backfill with soil. Add a little water as you go to remove any air pockets. Fill to the top of the root ball with soil.

Step 3

Compact the soil and water thoroughly. Purple plums like moist soil, so they should be watered regularly. Heavy watering during times of drought or excessive heat may be necessary. Add a layer of mulch around the base of the tree (keeping a 3-inch ring free of the trunk) to keep in moisture.

Step 4

Prune, if needed, in the spring after the tree has finished flowering. Remove any dead or broken limbs.

Step 5

Pick fruit in late summer when ripe.

Things You'll Need

  • Plum tree
  • Shovel
  • Peat or manure (if needed)
  • Mulch
  • Water


  • New Complete Guide to Gardening; Susan Roth, 1997.
  • Plum, Purpleleaf
Keywords: purple plum tree care, planting purpleleaf plum, purple leaf plum care

About this Author

Sonia Acone is a full-time freelance writer in northeast Pennsylvania. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and is currently writing children's picture books, as well as online content and book reviews for the Picnic She holds a bachelor's degree in English and professional writing.