Prunus cerasifera 'Newport'
Common Name: cherry plum
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White to pale pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy, Edible

Culture

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Best flowering is in full sun. Plants may spread or naturalize by self-seeding.

If pruning is necessary, do so after flowering (will prune off some potential fruit however).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Prunus cerasifera, commonly called cherry plum or Myrobalan plum, is native to western Asia and the Caucasus. Today, it only exists in cultivation except for the many situations where it has escaped gardens and naturalized. Naturalization has occurred in the U.S., primarily in the northeast and far west. This is a small, sometimes spiny, deciduous tree typically growing to 15-30’ tall with a shrubby, spreading, rounded habit. Very fragrant, mostly solitary, 5-petaled, white flowers (to 1” across) bloom in early spring. Flowers are followed by small edible fruits (to 1” diameter) that are sweet but somewhat tasteless. Ovate, elliptic or obovate, thin, serrate leaves (to 2.5” long). No fall color. Species plants are uncommonly sold in commerce, but a number of purple-leaved cultivars have become quite popular. Species is sometimes used as a rootstock for other stone fruits. Myrobalan is derived from the Greek words myron (plant juice) and balanos (nut).

Genus name from Latin means plum or cherry tree.

Specific epithet is derived from the Latin words cerasus meaning cherry tree and ferre meaning to bear.

'Newport' is a small, rounded, deciduous tree or large shrub which grows 15-20' tall. Cultivar is best known for its purple foliage: elliptic to obovate leaves (to 2.5" long) emerge light bronze-purple in spring, gradually mature to dark purple by summer and turn reddish in fall. Mostly solitary, white to pale pink, sweetly fragrant flowers (to 1" diameter) appear in early spring before the leaves and are followed by dull purple, 1" diameter, edible fruit (drupes) in summer.

Problems

Susceptible to a large number of insect and disease pests. Potential diseases include black knot, leaf spot, die back, leaf curl, powdery mildew, root rot and fireblight. Potential insects include borers, aphids, scale, leafhoppers, caterpillars, tent caterpillars and Japanese beetles. Spider mites may also be troublesome.

Garden Uses

Specimen or small groupings. Early spring flowers, purple summer foliage and attractive red fall color are the primary ornamental attributes.