Often used as a small shade tree or to add vibrant color to a garden, the purple leaf plum tree was discovered around 1880 by a gardener to the Shah of Persia. Today, it provides both beauty and food.
The purple leaf plum tree, Prunus cerasifera, grows well in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9 and is primarily considered a flowering or ornamental tree. However, it does produce edible fruit that is enjoyed by both humans and wildlife; typically birds and small animals.
Blooming in early spring, the purple leaf plum tree offers white and pink flowers that give way to edible, round, red fruit in late summer. The plum matures and ripens at approximately 1 1/4 inch in size. The tree itself requires little care, but the size of the fruit may depend on summer drought.
Plum trees require between two and six months to produce a ripe plum, although Japanese varieties ripen in approximately three months. Plums adapt well to a wide variety of conditions and the fruit may be produced and consumed in nearly every one of the United States, aside from the extreme southern tips of Florida and Texas.
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