Purple Leaved Plum Prunus Pissardii Nigra

British Grown
Volume 1-2 3-9 10+
Price per plant £42.00 £37.80 £33.60
Price £42.00
British Grown
Volume 1-2 3-9 10+
Price per plant £67.20 £54.00 £44.40
Price £67.20
British Grown
Volume 1-2 3-9 10+
Price per plant £108.00 £90.00 £78.00
Price £108.00
British Grown
Volume 1+
Price per plant £48.00
Price £48.00
British Grown
Volume 1+
Price per plant £108.00
Price £108.00
British Grown
Volume 1+
Price per plant £230.00
Price £230.00

All prices include VAT

Product description



A widely planted tree with very early dark pink flowers one of the first of the trees to blossom in the spring often in blossom late February or early March.  The blossom is followed by dark purple leaves.

A member of the myroblan or cherry plum family this is an easy to grow small tree which will grow to a maximum height of 9 metres (27ft) fairly quickly with a similar spread to the crown.  The twiggy nature of the branches makes this tree easy to prune and keep in shape.

Where to grow

Ornamental cherries grow best in full sun on moist fertile deep loamy soils, it is perfectly happy on alkaline soils which it prefers.  It will therefore grow well in most garden or parkland positions.  Poor soils should have organic matter added to the backfill during planting.  It does not like waterlogged or permanently wet ground.

Did you know?

Purple leaves usually have high anthocyanin concentrations relative to chlorophyll. Since the anthocyanin absorbs green light (chlorophyll reflects green light), and reflects reds and purples (chlorophyll absorbs these light colours), the leaves appear purple to our eyes. The chlorophyll is still there but it is masked by the higher concentration of anthocyanin.

If you look at the leaves of a purple plant that is growing in the shade, you will see the leaves look muddy-purple or even green.  In the shade, the leaves produce more chlorophyll to assist in photosynthesis, so the purple colour is not as strong by comparison.


Mature height
Small - 5-10 metres
5-10 meters
Round Headed
Growth rate
Soil type
All soil types
Sun levels
Full sun
Difficulty/hard to grow
Season of interest
Autumn colour
Flower colour
Flowering type
Flowering month
Parkland Tree
Small garden Tree
City/Urban Sites
Flower Arranging


For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.


The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water.  It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree.  In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.

Weed Control

One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass.  When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree.  It is vital for 3 years after planting that your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one  metre wide completely free of grass.  The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:

  1. Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup.  Apply each year for the first 3 years.  It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
  2. Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this.  This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.

Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem.  Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.


If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree.  Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm.  The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots.   Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.

Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.

  • 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
  • 100/125, 125/150  1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
  • 150/175  1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.


Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping.  These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens.  Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.

Protection from Animal Damage

Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees.  Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge.  Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.


By Pat Younger on 10/05/2016

My prunus nigra is now 6 years old, planted in full sun position.  I seem to have lots of yellow crusty algae growing on its lower branches, and even though it flowered recently it’s leaves do not seem very happy and are rather sparse.  We do however, live in a ‘frost pocket’ and the week before last experienced some ground frost.
What should I do to make my tree happier?
Many thanks.

By Richard Hodges on 20/05/2016

Hi-We have a tree that is similar to the purple leaved plum tree but it has dark blue/black damson like fruit. Could this be the previosly mentioned tree.If yes when is the best time to prune it.Your help would be very much appreciated.Thanks.

                                                                                  Richard hodges

By Simon on 25/05/2016

Hello Pat,

Sorry to hear you Prunus nigra is suffering. Would you be able to email a photograph to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) so we can take a look?

By Simon on 25/05/2016

Hello Richard,

Prunus trees need to be pruned in summer to avoid risk of silver leaf.

By Mark Parnell on 17/06/2016

I have a purple leaved plumb (bought from yourselves about 7 years ago). We noticed today that most of the leaves have small holes in them. I’ve looked for insects but cannot see any. Any idea what the problem could be?

By Simon on 22/06/2016

Dear Mark,

The holes could be caused by insects or shot hole. If you would like to send a photo to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) we can take a look.

By Ann on 12/09/2016

I have a purple leaved prunus and some of the leaves have like a white mould on them. What could be causing this ?

By Simon on 14/09/2016

Hello Ann,

Difficult to say without seeing a photo, but your Prunus could have powdery mildew. This isn’t usually serious but can occur in humid weather. If you would like us to take a look, send a photo to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

By Sarah on 24/09/2016

We have what I think is a large prunus (pissardi nigra?) at the bottom of the garden. It was mature when we arrived and is probably at least 30 years old. It has had a bit of pruning in the past. Now it is very twiggy, bears only patchy flowers and in fact this year its leaves have already completely dropped. It does have a lot of ivy on it. We are on clay soil and our garden is north facing and increasingly shaded by large trees outside our garden. The soil under it is very dry and I’ve not had much luck growing any woodland plants under it. We are wondering if it’s on its way out? Is it likely to blow over or drop branches? It’s very near our shed, pergola and greenhouse. Many thanks.

By Simon on 27/09/2016

Hello Sarah,

Your tree doesn’t sound very healthy. It could be the shady conditions and dry soil, plus its age. Without seeing the tree it’s hard to make a judgement. I would call in a tree surgeon if you are concerned.

By JOHN PENN on 10/11/2016

We have recently had to take out two 30+ year old Prunus nigra growing in a lawn in a communal courtyard.  The general feeling is that we should replant with the same species, but have been told that this is inadvisable and they will not thrive. Is this correct, please?

By Simon on 11/11/2016

Hello John,

You have been given the right advice. Unfortunately, plants in the Rosaceae family can suffer from Replant Disease. That is, they fail to thrive when planted in the same place previously occupied by another rose family plant (including all Prunus), probably due to a build-up of pathogens in the soil - the precise cause isn’t understood. Logically, if you can replace all the soil then you would be safe, but this isn’t usually possible where a tree has been. Therefore you need to look beyond the rose family for your new trees, for example Acer, Cornus, Laburnum or Magnolia. Hope you can find an alternative you all agree on!

By Mel on 27/01/2017

A 30+ year old prunus nigra is outgrowing it’s space. Can it be pollarded? Thank you for any comment.

By Simon on 27/01/2017

Hello Mel,

You can cut it back fairly hard, but do so in the summer to avoid silver leaf.

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