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Prunus mume

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
PROO-nus MEW-may
Description

There are over 300 cultivars of this ornamental deciduous, rounded tree brighten up any winter landscape. Its cultivars include white, pink, rose, and red flowering in single and double forms. It always blooms in January and February in shades of white, pink and red on naked branches. It is similar in habit and appearance to some of the smaller flowering cherries that bloom a bit later in the season. Expect a small tree with a rounded branch structure reaching 20 feet or so. This winter wonder is not fussy about soil as long as it is well-drained. Better growth and flower bud set in soils with a bit of extra organic matter and that are acidic; especially if your soil is very sandy. Full sun is a must for the flowering apricot. Even small amounts of shade will the reduce flower bud set. As the tree develops, lower branches are often shaded to the point that they die.

It can be challanging to find in garden centers. The Japanese have been playing with this plant long enough to have more than 250 named varieties, but the choices in our neck of the woods are much smaller. ‘Peggy Clarke’ is a popular selection that bears double flowers in a deep-rose shade. ‘Kobai’ has red, semi-double flowers on a vigorous plant. Weeping selections such as ‘W.B. Clarke’ (double pink flowers) and several white-flowered forms are available.  Most flowering apricots have at least some fragrance.

Other members of this genus that bloom just after Japanese flowering apricot  include Prunus ‘Okame’, ‘Snowgoose’ and ‘Dreamcatcher’ flowering cherries and the hybrid plum called ‘Blireana’.

 

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom: Winter, January-February

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Healthy trees do not usually have significant issues. Trees that are grafted on peach rootstocks may be attacked by the peachtree borer.This tree is frequently damaged by deer.

Form: Rounded; dense, twiggy growth; variable with cultivar

Quick ID Hints:

  • Stems shiny and green
  • Petioles have glands
  • Rose-Pink winter blooms on naked branches.
  • Leaves broad-ovate,sharply serrate,long acuminate
See this plant in the following landscape:
Patio Room
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba' (white)
  • 'Albo-plena' (white)
  • 'Alphandii' (pink)
  • 'Benishidare' (crimson)
  • 'Bonita' (rose)
  • 'Dawn' (pink)
  • 'Matsubara Red' (dark red)
  • 'Peggy Clarke' (rose)
  • 'Viridicalyx' (white)
'Alba' (white), 'Albo-plena' (white), 'Alphandii' (pink), 'Benishidare' (crimson), 'Bonita' (rose), 'Dawn' (pink), 'Matsubara Red' (dark red), 'Peggy Clarke' (rose), 'Viridicalyx' (white)
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#yellow#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#winter interest#drupe#ornamentals#fantz#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#pollinator garden#problem for dogs#problem for horses#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba' (white)
  • 'Albo-plena' (white)
  • 'Alphandii' (pink)
  • 'Benishidare' (crimson)
  • 'Bonita' (rose)
  • 'Dawn' (pink)
  • 'Matsubara Red' (dark red)
  • 'Peggy Clarke' (rose)
  • 'Viridicalyx' (white)
'Alba' (white), 'Albo-plena' (white), 'Alphandii' (pink), 'Benishidare' (crimson), 'Bonita' (rose), 'Dawn' (pink), 'Matsubara Red' (dark red), 'Peggy Clarke' (rose), 'Viridicalyx' (white)
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#yellow#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#winter interest#drupe#ornamentals#fantz#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#pollinator garden#problem for dogs#problem for horses#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Prunus
    Species:
    mume
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Vietnam
    Wildlife Value:
    This is a larval host plant to Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). You may see three flights from February-November in the deep south and two flights from May-September in the north.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are globose, yellowish, tiny drupes.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are solitary or paired, pale rose, fragrant, less than an inch in size, and subsessile. They bloom in late winter/early spring. They can be single or double.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate, simple, ovate, acuminate, cuneate, sharply serrate, rich green above and pubescent on veins below. Petiole's are glandular. Leaves are 2-4" long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are polished, shiny green, and glabrous.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses