07 April 2016

Flowering Almond Shrubs are Prunus triloba and Prunus glandulosa

White Flowering Almond
In the spring, Flowering Almond shrubs burst with double flowers on 3 or four foot tall branches. The flowers are usually pink but there are white ones available, too. The flowers look like carnations but they are the size of a dime. 

Prunus triloba is a member of the plum family of trees and shrubs that includes cherries and the trees that produce almonds. 

Since Flowering Almonds are so hardy and reliable, they thrive where more vulnerable plants could be damaged by poor soil or harsh weather. They thrive in zones 3 through 7.

At their maximum size, Flowering Almond shrubs can grow 20-feet tall and 12-feet wide. They can be used as part of a flowering hedge row or pruned into small trees. Be sure to prune and shape them right after they flower.

When looking for them online and in stores you will find both Prunus glandulosa and Prunus triloba.

Pink Flowering Almond
Both are native to Asia. Prunus glandulosa is the dwarf form that stops growing at 6-feet tall and wide. Its flowers can be either white or pink.

Because they spread over time, Flowering Almond Shrubs are often given to us by plant friends.
Our pink one came from Jan Farris who helped me pass the Master Gardener test 10 years ago. Our
white one came from Russell Studebaker who is our plant friend par excellence.

Prunus triloba is the one to choose if you want a screening shrub as it can grow over 15-tall.
To be sure you get the double flowers, look for specific varieties. Prunus triloba "Multiplex" and Prunus glandulosa "Rosea Plena" both have double flowers.  Also, ask about the flower color if that matters to your color scheme.

Flowering Almonds like some protection from the summer’s worst heat, so in our area choose a place that gets some shade. When digging the planting hole, put in some compost for added drainage. Like most members of fruit and nut tree families, they prefer slightly acid soil.

They develop some drought tolerance as they mature but Flowering Almonds want moist roots. 

Mulch the surrounding area to keep the area weed-free and plant them away from the lawn. Soak the plants if the soil is dry several inches down in late summer.

Good compost is about all the fertilizer they need unless they seem to be failing. If the leaves are turning yellow, use a water-soluble fertilizer to drench the plant from top to bottom.  To fertilize the roots, sprinkle some crystals around the drip line (at the end of the branch where the leaves drip when it rains) and water it into the ground thoroughly.

Generally speaking, Flowering Almond shrubs are durable. If they are planted so close to other shrubs that air cannot circulate around the branches though, they can get aphids, scale, borers, spider mites and other insects and diseases. Be sure to give them plenty of room.

If you notice problems, start with the least harmful fix. Many insect problems can be cured with a hard flow of water. It can knock off aphids, mites, etc.

The next level up is insecticidal soap and horticultural oil. If those measures fail, move up to applying an insecticide.
Old Wood vs New Wood

The old adage “prune after bloom” applies to Flowering Almonds. Next year’s flowers form on this year’s growth so do any pruning and shaping now. 

First, look for buds on the old growth. Then cut the branch back to within a few buds of the old growth. I put a photo of old versus new wood into my blog which you can access through www.MuskogeePhoenix.com or directly through www.allthedirtongardening.blogspot.com.

New Wood vs Old Wood
Dead, broken and diseased wood can be removed at any time. If you are shaping or rejuvenating an old shrub, take off only one-third of the shrub in any single growing year.

 To make your Flowering Almond into a small landscape tree, remove the lower branches and thin out the upper twigs.


These are long-living additions to the garden. Enjoy!

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