How to Grow Prunus Padus - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

Prunus padus is a plant that is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is a deciduous shrub or small tree that grows to be about 10-15 feet tall. The leaves are ovate to circular in shape and are serrated on the margins. The flowers are white or pink in color and bloom in May or June. The fruit is a dark purple drupe that ripens in August or September.

How to Grow Prunus Padus - Plant Care & Tips

Popular name

  • Hawkthorn
  • Maythorn
  • Quickthorn
  • Whitethorn

Things to Know

  • Prunus padus is a deciduous shrub or small tree in the rose family.
  • It is native to northern Europe, Asia and North America.
  • It typically grows to 6-12 m (20-40 ft) tall.
  • The leaves are alternate, oblong to oval-shaped, and 3-12 cm (2-7 in) long.
  • The flowers are white or pale pink, 5-8 mm (0.2-0.3 in) diameter, with five petals.
  • The fruit is a drupe, 5-8 mm (0.2-0.3 in) diameter, ripening red or black in autumn.
  • Prunus padus has been known by a variety of common names, including bird cherry, hackberry, Mayday tree and European cranberrybush.
  • It is a popular ornamental tree, grown for its flowers, fruit and autumn foliage.
  • It has been used in traditional medicine for a variety of ailments.
  • Prunus padus is considered an invasive species in some parts of North America.

Related plant:
Prunus Serrulata Kanzan

Growing Steps

  1. For prunus padus, first step is to choose a sunny spot in your garden that has well-drained soil.
  2. Then, dig a hole that is twice the width and depth of the plant’s root ball.
  3. Place the plant in the hole and backfill with soil, tamping it down gently as you go.
  4. Water the plant well.
  5. Once the plant is established, prune it annually in late winter or early spring to encourage new growth.
  6. Fertilize the plant once a year in spring with a slow-release fertilizer.
  7. To prevent damage from deer, rabbits, and other animals, you may need to put up a fence around the plant.
  8. The plant may also need to be staked if it is not self-supporting.
  9. In late spring or early summer, the plant will produce clusters of white or pinkish flowers.
  10. Once the flowers have faded, small red fruits will start to form. These fruits are edible but not particularly tasty.

Related plant:
Prunus Kanzan

The Soil

About soil condition, prunus padus (European cranberry) prefers deep, moist, well-drained soils, with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. It is tolerant of a wide range of soils, including clay. It does not do well in very wet or very dry soils.

Light condition

Like the other members of the Prunus genus, the bird cherry tree (Prunus padus) needs full sun to grow best. It's a hardy tree, though, and will tolerate some shade. If your yard doesn't get full sun, try planting the bird cherry tree in a spot that gets at least six hours of sun per day. It's a good idea to give it some extra sun if you live in a hot climate. The bird cherry tree thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 7.

Ideal Temperature

The temperature condition refers to the average temperature of the air in the growing season. For the prunus padus, the optimum temperature is between 15-20 degrees Celsius. However, the plant can tolerate temperatures as low as -15 degrees Celsius and as high as 30 degrees Celsius. Above or below these temperature extremes, the plant will experience stress and may die.

Humidity Level

Ideal humidity condition for this plant is 40% The Prunus padus plant requires a humidity level of 40% to remain healthy. If the humidity drops below this level, the plant will become stressed and may eventually die. Prunus padus is native to Europe and Asia, and is commonly known as the bird cherry or hackberry tree. This tree can reach a height of 20-30 meters, and has white or pink flowers which bloom in the spring. The fruits of this tree are small, dark red cherries which are eaten by birds.

The Fertilizer

Discussing fertilizer, this family of plant can handle a good range of options from organic to inorganic. When it comes to inorganic, however, one must take extra care not to overdo it as too much can lead to nutrient burn which could damage the roots of your Prunus padus. On the other hand, not enough fertilizer will lead to stunted growth. When it comes to organic fertilizer, it is best to use compost or manure as they break down slowly and provide a steady stream of nutrients to the plant. As for the roots, they are best left alone as they are quite sensitive to disturbance.

Plant Pruning

Pruning is an important part of maintaining a healthy and attractive prunus padus. Pruning helps to remove diseased or damaged branches, stimulate new growth, and promote fruit production. When pruning, always use clean, sharp pruning tools and make sure to remove all dead or infected material.

The Propagation

Propagation of Prunus padus is best achieved through softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer. The cuttings should be taken from young, vigorous shoots that are approximately 10-15 cm in length. Cuttings should be made just below a node and the leaves should be removed from the lower half of the cutting. Once the leaves have been removed, the cutting should be dipped in rooting hormone and then planted in a well-drained potting mix. The cutting should be kept moist and in a warm, sheltered location until roots have formed and new growth appears.

Growth Speed

Usually, the plant growth rate studies have been conducted on young plants in nurseries. Studies on young plants in the wild are sparse. The average prunus padus growth rate is about 30 cm (1 ft) per year, but some plants have been documented to grow over 1 m (3 ft) per year. The fastest growth rates are usually achieved in the first few years after planting. Prunus padus is a fast-growing plant, and studies have shown that it can grow up to 1 m (3 ft) per year. However, the average growth rate is usually around 30 cm (1 ft) per year. The plant usually reaches its full height within 10-15 years.

Common Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are leaf spot, canker, and fruit discoloration. Leaf spot is a fungal disease that causes brown or black spots on the leaves. Canker is a bacterial disease that causes sunken, dark lesions on the branches. Fruit discoloration is a physical condition that causes the fruit to develop a brown or black color.

Tips on Growing

  • Remember to water your prunus padus regularly, especially when the weather is hot and dry.
  • Feed your plant with a high-potassium fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season.
  • Prune your plant regularly to keep it from getting too large.
  • Place your prunus padus in a spot where it will receive full sun for at least part of the day.
  • Keep an eye out for pests and diseases, and treat them promptly if you notice any.
  • Harvest the fruits of your prunus padus when they are ripe and ready to eat.
  • Store the fruits of your prunus padus in a cool, dry place until you are ready to use them.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the fruits of your prunus padus in half before eating them.
  • You can also use the fruits of your prunus padus

Alternative Plants

  • prunus cerasifera
  • prunus avium
  • prunus domestica
  • prunus persica
  • prunus armeniaca
  • prunus laurocerasus
  • prunus mahaleb
  • prunus spinosa
  • prunusVirginiana
  • prunus salicina

Prunus padus | Keywords | Elisabeth C. Miller Library
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