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Best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates part shade, but best flowering and leaf color generally occur in full sun. Tolerates urban conditions. Good soil drainage is essential. Prune as needed after flowering. Propagate by rooted stem cuttings.
Prunus × cistena treeform commonly called purple-leaf sand cherry, is an upright deciduous shrub which has been grafted for additional height. It typically grows 6-10’ tall and 5-8’ wide. It is most noted for its reddish purple foliage that retains good colour throughout the summer. This is a hybrid shrub (P. pumila x P. cerasifera ‘Atropurpurea’) that was introduced in 1910 by Dr. N. E. Hansen at South Dakota State University. Ovate-elliptical leaves (to 2” long) with serrate margins are a distinctive and attractive reddish purple. Fragrant, solitary, white flowers (1/2” across) with pink tints bloom in spring (April) after the foliage emerges. Flowers give way to an often meager production of small blackish-purple fruits (to 3/4”) that mature in July. Fruits are eaten by birds.
Genus name from Latin means plum or cherry tree.
Reddish purple foliage makes this an excellent accent or specimen. Borders, screens, hedges, entranceways and foundations.