Thursday, April 14, 2016

Flowering Almond - Prunus triloba - Waterwise Shrub For Utah

I have been driving around looking at all of the amazing flowering trees and shrubs!  It's not often that I see a flowering almond shrub.  However, once in a while, usually in older neighborhoods, there are some fabulous specimens.  When left unpruned and able to fill out to their natural form, they are magnificent.  Old branches can be cut from the base after it is finished blooming.  There is a dwarf variety that gets 3 or 4 feet tall called Prunus glandulosa.  The larger, more spectacular one pictured below is the Prunus triloba.  It is a gorgeous round mounding shrub reaching 6 or 7 feet in height and 10 feet in diameter, covered with sprays of pink flowers that look like they are made of tissue paper.  Stunning.
(flowering almonds are strictly ornamental - they do not produce almonds and should not be confused with an almond tree)
After doing a little research,  I discovered that flowering almonds are waterwise!  Native to the far East, they can thrive in our climate on the Wasatch Front.  They do need supplemental water during the hot times of summer and into the fall.  Sprinkling on the surface won't do.  They need a deep soaking with a slow drip from the hose - a few times in July and August.
Plant flowering almond as a focal point and not in a hedge.  It needs room to grow and do it's springtime magic.

Irish poet Thomas Moore wrote this:

" The hope, in dreams of happier hour,
that alights on misery's brow,
springs forth like the silvery almond flower,
that blooms on leafless bough"

flowering almond (Prunus triloba) - waterwise shrub for Utah

Flowering Almond - Prunus triloba - full size 6 feet tall, 10 feet wide - waterwise shrub for Utah

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