Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Remove suckers to prevent unwanted spread. Fairly adaptable.
Prunus americana, commonly called American plum, is a Missouri native, small, deciduous, single trunk tree or multi-stemmed shrub which occurs in rocky or sandy soils in woodlands, pastures, abandoned farms, streams and hedgerows throughout the State. As a tree, it typically grows to 15-25′ tall with a broad, spreading crown. As a shrub, it suckers freely and can form large colonies. 2-5 flowered clusters (umbels) of 5-petaled white flowers (1″ diameter) appear in March before the foliage. Flowers are unpleasantly aromatic. Flowers are followed by edible, round, red plums (1″ diameter) with bright yellow pulp which ripen in early summer. This species is usually grown for ornamental value and not for fruit production, however. Although the plums can be eaten raw, the quality is somewhat poor. The fruits are perhaps better used for preserves and jellies. Toothed, oblong to ovate leaves are 3-4″ long and turn yellow to red in autumn. Branches and twigs are an attractive dark reddish-brown and sometimes have thorny lateral branchlets.
Genus name from Latin means plum or cherry tree.
Specific epithet means of the Americas.
Plum curculio and brown rot can affect the fruit. Other potential disease problems include leaf spot, canker and black knot. Other potential insect problems include aphids, scale, borers and tent caterpillars.
Specimen, shrub border, hedgerow or screen.