Prunus triloba [PROO-nus, try-LO-buh], belongs to the Rosaceae (Rose) family and comes from China.
It’s become a popular ornamental plant due to its pale pink or white flowers and red fruit with soft hair.
Prunus triloba, sometimes called flowering almond or flowering plum, is a shrubby cherry.
While the plant is relatively hardy, flowering almond requires a few specific steps for proper cultivation.
Flowering Almond Care
Size and Growth
Prunus triloba can grow quite large, reaching 10′ to 15′ feet tall and achieving the same spread.
It produces shrubby growth but may eventually become a small tree.
The plant has coarse, medium-green leaves with three lobes.
The foliage slowly turns yellow throughout the summer and fall.
Flowering and Fragrance
The flowering almond is an early bloomer.
Flowers appear at the start of spring.
The five-petaled flowers are pink and followed by small red fruit.
They do not produce a noticeable fragrance.
Light and Temperature
Prunus triloba is a hardy plant, recommended for outdoor growth in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8.
It can survive outdoors during the winter.
While it’s native to China, it’s natively found in the colder mountainous regions.
It should receive full sun or partial sun throughout most of the year.
During the colder months, it benefits from a little more shade.
Too much sun may sap moisture from the plant.
Watering and Feeding
The flowering almond requires consistent watering throughout the spring and summer.
Use a slow trickle of water (soaker hose) to evenly saturate the soil around the plant.
During hot periods, the plant may need more frequent watering.
Check the soil every few days during the summer and water deeply.
TIP: If the top 2″ to 3″ inches of the soil is dry, water the plant.
Young plants do not need plant fertilizer during the first two years.
Established trees should receive fertilizer every two to three years in the early spring.
Do not feed during the summer, fall, or winter.
Soil and Transplanting
Grow the plant in moist, fertile soil.
Adding fresh compost or peat moss to standard potting soil should provide the ideal environment.
Outdoor plants do not need transplanting.
Prunus triloba is rarely grown in pots due to its size.
However, if growing it in a container, refresh the top third of the soil every two to three years.
Prune the plant to maintain its size and shape. Pruning is often used to shape the plant for hedging.
It also promotes bushier growth.
Use sharp gardening shears to remove dead branches and unwanted growth.
For taller plants, use a pole saw or a professional tree trimming service.
How to Propagate Prunus Triloba
Propagate flowering almond using hardwood cuttings, softwood cuttings, or suckers.
Some flowering almond plants produce offshoots growing near the main plant.
Dig up the offshoots using a shovel while trying to maintain the root ball.
Plant the young offshoots in pots and wait one or two years before transplanting to a permanent home outdoors.
- Take hardwood cuttings in early fall just before the plant goes dormant for the winter months.
- Remove a one-foot section from a mature stem connected to the main stem.
- The cutting should be at least the diameter of a pencil.
- Scrape the bark from the bottom inch of the cutting and remove leaves from the lower half.
- Dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder.
- Plant it in a pot using moist, fertile soil.
- Keep the plant watered.
- While it can grow outdoors, keeping it indoors helps prevent temperature fluctuations.
- Allow it to take root before transplanting outdoors.
- It should take about six to eight weeks for the roots to spread.
Take softwood cuttings in the summer.
Use young shoots measuring 5″ to 6″ inches long and follow the same methods used for hardwood cuttings.
Prunus Triloba Pest or Disease Problems
The flowering almond is susceptible to permanent damage from frost.
It also tends to suffer from a wide variety of insect and disease problems, making it a tricky plant to cultivate.
Mildew, black knot, verticillium wilt, leaf spot, and cankers are all potential issues.
To avoid these diseases, follow the recommended plant care tips.
Common pests include:
Of course, most of these pests are more of a threat when grown outdoors, except for spider mites.
When grown indoors in dry conditions, spider mites are more likely to appear.
No matter the pest, try removing the infestation using sprays of cold water.
Severe infestations require liquid insecticide.
Along with these threats, keep an eye on children and pets near the plant.
The leaves, seeds, and stems contain toxins which may cause allergic reactions when consumed.
The plant is not considered highly toxic but may lead to severe reactions in some individuals and smaller pets.
Suggested Flowering Almond Uses
The flowering almond grows to become a large shrub or small tree requiring lots of space.
Consider placing it near a patio or close to the edge of the landscape.