Why on earth would I feature a "plant of the month" on the last day of the month? Believe me, that wasn't the plan, but September sped by so fast, I nearly missed it. Soon PlantPostings will celebrate its second blogoversary, and I've only missed featuring a "plant of the month" one month out of the 24 since PlantPostings was born.
This month, I've chosen to highlight the Dwarf Flowering Almond (Prunus glandulosa), a small shrub that grows to a height of 4 ft. to 5 ft., and a width of 3 ft. to 4 ft. (All sources for information here are listed at the end of this post.)
Second question: Why would I feature a plant that is best known for its soft, dewy pink, mid-spring blooms? Well, several reasons. The first being that autumn is a great time to plant one.
The second reason is that it's pretty in the fall, too. Most sources describe the autumn foliage of Flowering Almond as "not ornamentally important" or simply "green." But mine usually turns variegated shades of peach, yellow, and green. And I'm partial to variegated foliage, even when it looks a little mottled and messy.
Here are some handy stats on Dwarf Flowering Almond:
- Hardy in zones 4-9 (some say 10);
- Prefers full sun to part shade;
- Prefers moist, well-drained soil, but tolerates minor drought;
- Effective in mass, single foundation, patio, or container plantings; and
- Can be short-lived (10 or fewer years) because of susceptibility to fireblight, root rot, and other diseases.
My personal experience is that it:
- Grows just fine in dappled shade at the edge of a deciduous forest (presuming it gets plenty of winter and early spring sun);
- Flowers in mid-spring in my zone 5 shade garden;
- Performs better in the season following a moderate pruning;
- Prefers lightly watered soil over saturated soil (mine was healthier during this drought year than in extremely rainy seasons);
- Can survive more than 13 years (I don't know how old mine is, but it's at least 13 years old, and with a heavy pruning, in a drought year when the bugs weren't much of a problem, it's actually looking better than it has in the past few years).
- Requires very little maintenance beyond regular, light watering and moderate pruning.
Plus, it's one of the prettiest shrubs in my garden.
Dwarf Flowering Almond has been a featured ornamental shrub in the American landscape at least since the days of Thomas Jefferson. He planted it at Monticello in 1794 when he noted "dble blossd almond" in a list of "objects for the garden this year."
Diana at Elephant's Eye asks us to recommend plants for her Dozen for Diana meme. Dwarf Flowering Almond is definitely on my "favorites" list.
Sources for this post:
- Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
- Missouri Botanical Garden
- University of Connecticut
- University of Illinois Extension
(Last call for input to the Italy garden tours survey. We'll be compiling the responses in the next few weeks, and we'll share the results soon. Even if it's unlikely you can join us, please share your suggestions/wish lists. Thanks!)