What is the shape of the fruit leaves

Blood plum


from 500.00cm to 700.00cm
Growth width
from 300.00cm to 600.00cm
Ornamental or utility value
  • Floral decoration
  • Fruit decorations
  • Leaf jewelry
  • picturesque growth
  • Nectar or pollen plant
  • Single position
  • House tree
  • Street greening
Garden style
  • Cottage garden
  • Formal garden
  • Japanese garden
  • Natural garden
  • Park area


The blood plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’) is a red-leaved selection of the cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera), also called myrobalane. The garden shape was selected in the USA around 1916 and is extremely popular as a house tree. The wild species originally comes from the Middle East and has been cultivated in Europe for around 400 years. In many regions it is overgrown and can therefore also be found in the wild in field hedges and on warm, sunny mountain slopes.


The blood plum grows into a five to seven meter high tree and forms a round to conical, three to six meter wide crown. Some specimens also grow with multiple stems. Blood plums grow relatively slowly, about 25 centimeters per year. The bark of the young shoots is brown-red, that of the older ones black-brown. They are often slightly thorny. The trunk has a thin and only slightly furrowed, gray-black bark and is covered with large cork cells. The roots often form runners.


The alternate, egg-shaped to elliptical, around five centimeters long leaves show a wine-red color when they shoot and have a shiny metallic surface. They turn black-red after bud and hardly turn green in the shade.


The flowers of the blood plum are bright pink and about 2.5 centimeters wide. They appear from mid-March before the leaves shoot and have the typical radial structure of the rose family with five petals. They are heavily flown over by insects.


The small, edible cherry plums are ripe from July and are hardly larger than large sweet cherries. When ripe, they taste very sweet and aromatic and are often used to make compotes or jams. The wild species bears yellow to light red fruits, the plums of the ‘Nigra 'variety are dark red in color like the leaves.

Location and soil

Blood plums grow best in full sun, but also thrive in shady locations. If there is a lack of light, however, the flower base is significantly sparse. They are reliably frost hardy, but like warmer locations. The trees do not place high demands on the soil: they prefer nutrient-rich, calcareous loamy soils, but they also grow satisfactorily on poorer sandy soils. Blood plums also withstand summer drought without any problems.

Planting and care

Plums are best planted in autumn or spring. With container plants, year-round planting is also possible, provided that the trees planted in summer are well supplied with water. If you are planting a larger high trunk, you should drive a tree stake in on the west side of the trunk and tie your blood plum to it so that it does not tip over in a storm. It is best to sprinkle a few handfuls of horn shavings in the root area and cover them with bark humus after planting.

With young blood plums, it is important to shade the trunk in winter, as the trees are very susceptible to frost cracks. It is best to wrap it with a jute fabric or a reed mat. Regular watering is usually no longer necessary after ingrowth, as blood plums can cope well with temporary dryness. If overripe cherry plums fall to the ground, you should eliminate them promptly - the fermenting fruits attract numerous wasps. It is better to harvest the ripe cherry plums in good time and use them to cook a delicious jam.

Before the root runners of the blood plum become a nuisance, you should pull them out of the earth with one jerk while they are still in a non-woody state. In the case of extreme runnings, it may be useful to set a root barrier afterwards.


Blood plums do not need a regular cut. However, corrective cuts can be made on young plants if necessary and the crown can be thinned out from time to time in older trees if it becomes too dense. As with all plums, the larger cuts in the blood plum are prone to wood rot. Avoid pruning older branches close to the trunk or, if in doubt, leave a cone about a hand's width apart.

Use in the garden

Blood plums are a very good choice as house trees. The heat-resistant and urban climate-proof deep-roots can even be easily integrated into a paved area with a small tree slice and can therefore also serve as a shade tree for a seat. The plants develop best when they can grow undisturbed and the crown has enough space in all directions to unfold.

Because of their deep roots and their light canopy, blood plums can also be perfectly planted under partial shade perennials and small flowering bushes. The robust and uncomplicated trees also cut a fine figure in mixed flower hedges.


Blood plums are multiplied by grafting - either by copulation in spring or by budding in summer. Two to three-year-old seedlings of the wild cherry plum serve as grafting documents. Even laypeople can try their hand at copulation because the success rate is usually very high. However, you need a sharp refining knife, because the wood of the blood plum is very hard and tough.

Diseases and pests

Rubber flow can occasionally occur on poor, sandy and somewhat waterlogged soils. Powdery mildew and shotgun disease are relatively common but not life-threatening fungal diseases. The most common insect pests include aphids and the small frost moth.

When can you cut blood plums?

Blood plums don't actually need regular pruning. However, if you want to thin out the crown of an older specimen, you should use loppers in late summer.

How big does the blood plum get?

The blood plum grows to a height of between five and seven meters. However, it grows very slowly at just under 25 centimeters per year. The crown can be between three and six meters wide.

Is the blood plum poisonous?

The fruits of the blood plum are edible and can be harvested from July. You can make delicious compote or jam from the cherry plums.