Flowering almond is a multi-branched bush that can get up to 12 feet in height. It is primarily planted in the landscape for the double pink blooms it produces in the middle of spring. It can be allowed to grow tall as a vertical specimen in a garden or you can prune and train the tree to interesting shapes and habits. It can even be trained to a trellis or espaliered. Flowering almond can be used as a container plant, a standard bush or even a bonsai.
Flowering almond grows to an elegant vase shape that can be used in many ways in the home garden. It is hardy to United States Department of Agriculture zones 3b to 6b and is deciduous and moves into dormancy in the winter. Flowering almond is in the same family as cherries, plum and several other stone fruits. The fruits resemble small red cherries and are attractive to wildlife and birds. The leaves are arranged alternately on the branches and are green, serrated and 2 to 4 inches long. Fall foliage color is yellow and copper.
When to Prune
Flowering almond is a deciduous bush that blooms in spring. This type of plant is pruned immediately after flowering. Pruning at this time gives it the rest of the growing season to produce new greenery. If you pruned earlier you would risk cutting off the buds and would miss the floral display. If the shrub blooms after June 15, prune it in early spring. If the plant blooms before June 15, it should be pruned just after it has finished.
Ways to Prune
The flowering almond has many stems that come up from the base. If trained early, the plant can become a standard form with one main leader. Extra stems and suckers need to be kept removed and peripheral shoots up the trunk should be kept trimmed to produce a clean trunk. In general the tree needs to have dead wood, crossing limbs, touching wood and diseased wood removed annually. The amount of height you reduce should never be more than one-third. In fact, one-third is the total amount of wood that can be removed at one time. Espaliering or trellis training needs to start in the first year by tying in a good frame and pruning out extraneous twigs and limbs.
Flowering Almond Care
Flowering almond can be grown in full sun to part shade, but a full sun location will encourage more blooms. Almost any type of soil is tolerable to the Prunus. Extra irrigation is necessary when plants are becoming established, but thereafter they only need occasional watering in warm weather. Flowering almond is quite drought tolerant. Grass and weeds should be kept away from the trunk out to the dripline. Fertilize the plant with a balanced fertilizer in very early spring. The plant does not like to be moved, so make certain you have picked a good spot before you plant.