Cherry Plum Prunus cerasifera (F)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
cherry plum


Prunus cerasifera, commonly known as the cherry plum, is a deciduous tree that is admired for its beautiful early spring blooms. Its appearance is characterized by a profusion of small, delicate flowers that can be white or varying shades of pink, which emerge on the branches before the leaves do. The flowers are typically arranged singly or in small clusters along the twigs, and they have a soft, subtle fragrance that is quite appealing. After the flowering period, the plant produces simple leaves that are oval to oblong in shape with a pointed tip and rounded base, and they have a finely serrated edge. The foliage of the cherry plum can vary in color, ranging from a rich green to a purple or reddish hue, making it a versatile and attractive choice for gardens. As the season progresses, the tree bears small, rounded fruits that resemble cherries. These fruits usually have a thin skin and a juicy interior, and they can range in color from yellow, green, or red to deep purple or almost black when ripe. The fruits add a further ornamental element to the tree, and they are often enjoyed by both birds and people. The cherry plum has a graceful growth habit, with a branching pattern that can create a rounded and spreading canopy. This gives the tree a pleasing silhouette, and when in full leaf, it can provide a moderate amount of shade. Overall, the cherry plum is a plant with multiple seasons of interest—starting with the lovely flowers in early spring, followed by attractive foliage and finally, colorful fruit. Its ornamental qualities make it a popular choice for gardens and landscapes where its showy appearance can be appreciated.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Cherry Plum, Myrobalan Plum, Purple-leaf Plum.

    • Common names

      Prunus cerasifera var. pissardii (Carrière) Luizet, Prunus divaricata Ledeb., Prunus myrobalana Borkh., Prunus pissardii Carrière, Prunus pumila Lodd. ex C. Koch.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera) has parts that are considered to be toxic if ingested by humans. The seeds, leaves, and stems contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide into the body when chewed and digested. If a significant quantity of these parts is consumed, symptoms of poisoning may include headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, difficulty breathing, and potentially leading to cyanide poisoning, which can be lethal in high doses. The fruit flesh itself is not toxic when ripe and is edible.

    • To pets

      Cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera) can be toxic to pets, including dogs and cats. The seeds, leaves, and stems of the plant contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can produce cyanide when ingested and metabolized. The symptoms of poisoning in pets may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, and lethargy. In severe cases, ingestion of these toxic parts can lead to cyanide poisoning, which can be fatal if not treated promptly. The ripe fruit pulp is not toxic and is generally safe for pets to eat in moderation.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      15-25 feet (4.5-7.5 meters)

    • Spread

      15-25 feet (4.5-7.5 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Western Asia


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic appeal: Prunus cerasifera, commonly known as cherry plum, offers beautiful white to pale pink flowers in early spring that enhance the visual appeal of landscaping.
    • Edible fruit: The cherry plum produces small, edible fruits that can be used in jams, jellies, and other culinary preparations.
    • Wildlife attraction: The tree is a source of food and shelter for birds and other wildlife, promoting biodiversity.
    • Shade provision: Cherry plums can grow to a moderate size, providing shade in gardens and urban streets.
    • Windbreak: When planted in rows or groups, cherry plums can act as a windbreak, protecting other plants or areas from strong winds.
    • Street tree: Due to its size and tolerance for urban conditions, cherry plum is suitable for street planting.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antioxidant: Prunus cerasifera contains antioxidants that help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
    • Anti-inflammatory: It has been reported to have anti-inflammatory properties that could help in reducing inflammation.
    • Laxative effects: Traditionally, some parts of the plant are thought to possess laxative qualities and may have been used to aid digestion or relieve constipation.
    • Diuretic properties: There are indications that Prunus cerasifera might promote diuresis, helping in the elimination of excess fluid in the body.
    However, it should be noted that the medical use of Prunus cerasifera (Cherry plum) requires further scientific validation, and it is not widely recognized in modern pharmacopeias.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Prunus cerasifera, commonly known as cherry plum, has wood which can be used for small woodworking projects such as turning or intricate carving due to its fine grain and strength.
    • The plant can serve as a natural dye source; the fruit skins contain pigments that can be used to dye fabric or other materials with shades of pink or purple.
    • The leaves of the cherry plum can be used in compost as they decompose well and add nutrients back into the soil, promoting a healthy garden ecosystem.
    • As an ornamental plant, its attractive flowers can be used in floral arrangements, whether fresh or dried, adding spring colors to bouquets.
    • The cherry plum's dense foliage can provide natural privacy screening for gardens and outdoor living areas.
    • The fruit is sometimes used in niche perfumery for its delicate, sweet-fruity note that can form part of a fragrance’s composition.
    • In the culinary world, the fruit of the cherry plum can be used to make exotic, sweet-tart sauces and coulis that accompany desserts or savory dishes.
    • During the spring, cherry plum blossom petals can be candied and used as edible decorations for cakes and pastries.
    • The cherry plum can be used in landscape design as a street tree due to its tolerance to urban pollution and compact size.
    • Gardeners may use the cherry plum as a rootstock for grafting other stone fruit varieties, exploiting its hardiness and disease resistance qualities.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Cherry Plum, as Prunus cerasifera is commonly known, is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Cherry Plum is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Renewal: Prunus cerasifera, also known as flowering plum, often blooms early in the spring, symbolizing the awakening and renewal of nature after winter.
    • Purity: The delicate white or pale pink flowers of the flowering plum can represent purity and innocence due to their gentle appearance.
    • Hope: As one of the first plants to blossom in the year, the flowering plum offers a sign of hope and reassurance that warmer days are ahead.
    • Life Energy: In many cultures, flowering plum trees symbolize the life force, vitality, and energy, as they bring color back to the landscape.
    • Beauty and Elegance: With its picturesque blooms, the flowering plum represents beauty and elegance in the plant world.
    • Perseverance: Flowering plum trees are known for their hardiness and ability to survive in various conditions, thus symbolizing perseverance and resilience in life.

Every 2-3 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-5 years
Late Winter - Early Spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Cherry Plum, commonly known as the Prunus cerasifera, should be watered deeply and thoroughly, ensuring moisture reaches the root zone. Young trees require watering once or twice a week, while established trees need less frequent watering, possibly every two weeks, depending on weather conditions. During the growing season, it is essential to maintain consistent moisture, about 1-2 gallons for young trees and 2-4 gallons for mature trees per week. Cut back on watering during the winter months when the tree is dormant. Over-watering can lead to root rot, so it's important to allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions.

  • sunLight

    The Cherry Plum thrives in full sun conditions, requiring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. It is best planted in a spot where it can receive unfiltered sunlight throughout the day to encourage healthy growth and abundant fruit production. Partial shade can be tolerated but may result in fewer flowers and fruits.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Cherry Plum can withstand a broad range of temperatures, from winter lows around -20°F to summer highs up to 100°F. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 35°F and 85°F. It is hardy to USDA zones 4 through 9 and can generally handle the frost when dormant in winter.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Cherry Plum is important for maintaining health, shape, and encouraging fruit production. It is best to prune during late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Remove any dead, diseased, or crossing branches to improve air circulation and light penetration. Pruning should be done sparingly, with only about 10-20% of the canopy removed in a given year.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    For the cherry plum, a well-draining soil mix is ideal, with a loamy or sandy composition enriched with organic matter. The pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 5.5 to 7.5, to support healthy growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Cherry plums, being larger trees, are not commonly repotted. Instead, they are often planted in a permanent location outdoors where they do not require frequent repotting.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Cherry plum trees tolerate a wide range of humidity levels but perform best in moderate conditions. They do not require any special humidity considerations when planted outdoors in suitable climates.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      It's challenging to grow cherry plums indoors due to their size.

    • Outdoor

      Plant cherry plum in full sun, well-draining soil, and water regularly.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The common name for Prunus cerasifera is Cherry Plum or Myrobalan Plum. The life of Cherry Plum begins with seed germination, usually occurring in the spring following dispersal and a period of cold stratification through winter, which breaks seed dormancy. The seedling stage follows, where the plant establishes its root system and begins to produce its first leaves and shoots. As it enters the vegetative stage, Cherry Plum develops a strong stem and branches out, forming a characteristic shape and starting to produce leaves that enable photosynthesis, contributing to rapid growth. The next stage is reproductive maturity, where the tree flowers annually in early spring with pink or white blossoms before leaf emergence; during this stage, pollination occurs, often aided by bees and other insects. Finally, fertilized flowers develop into small plums by mid to late summer, which upon maturation drop to the ground or are dispersed by animals, thus beginning the cycle anew with seed dispersal.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late Winter - Early Spring

    • The most popular method of propagating the Prunus cerasifera, commonly known as the cherry plum or purple-leaf plum, is through hardwood cuttings. This process is typically carried out in late fall to early winter once the tree is dormant. To propagate by hardwood cuttings, one should select healthy, mature stems from the current or previous year's growth. The cuttings should be about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) long and contain at least two to three nodes where leaves attach to the stem. The lower end of the cutting is dipped in rooting hormone to encourage root growth and planted in a well-draining soil mixture. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged, and the cuttings should be placed in a cool, but frost-free location with indirect light until roots develop, which might take several weeks to a few months. Once rooted, the new cherry plum plants can be transplanted into their permanent locations in the garden during the spring.