Newport Plum Care: Tips For Growing Newport Plum Trees

Newport Plum Care: Tips For Growing Newport Plum Trees

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Newport plum trees (Prunus cerasifera ‘Newportii’) provide several seasons of interest as well as food for small mammals and birds. This hybrid ornamental plum is a common sidewalk and street tree due to its ease of maintenance and ornamental beauty. The plant is native to Asia but many cooler to temperate regions of North America are suitable for growing Newport plum. What is a Newport plum? Continue reading for a description and cultural tips on this pretty tree.

What is a Newport Plum?

While Newport plum does produce some fruits, they are considered of minimal palatability to humans. However, birds, squirrels and other animals utilize them as an important food source. It is a medium sized tree useful in containers, as bonsai, or standalone specimens. The tree has a slow to moderate growth rate making it perfect as an urban shade plant.

Newport plum trees are often used as ornamental shade plants. It is a deciduous tree that grows 15 to 20 feet (4.5 to 6 m.) tall with spectacular purple-bronze foliage. Springtime brings sweet little purplish pink blossoms and lovely purple drupes form in summer. Even once the leaves and fruits are gone, the upright, vase-like form of the branches creates an attractive scene when covered in winter’s snowy glory.

Newport plum care is minimal once established. The plant is useful in United States department of Agriculture zones 4 to 7 and has excellent winter hardiness.

How to Grow a Newport Plum

The ornamental plum requires full sun and well-draining, acidic soil. Moderately alkaline soils are fine too, but leaf color may be compromised.

Newport plum trees like quite a bit of rainfall and moist soil. It has some short term drought tolerance once established and can withstand sea spray.

During the spring, bees will flock to the tree’s blooms and during late summer to fall, birds feast on the handing or dropped fruits.

The most common method of growing Newport plum is from cuttings, although seed grown trees are possible with some variation of form from the parent.

Newport Plum Care

This is a relatively easy tree to care for provided it is situated in moist, well-draining soil. The biggest issues are fruit and leaf drop, and some pruning may be necessary to shape the tree and keep a strong scaffold. The branches are not particularly fragile, but removal of any damaged or broken plant material should be done in late winter to early spring.

Unfortunately, the plant seems susceptible to several species of borers. Watch for signs of frass and use appropriate pesticides when necessary. Aphids, scale, Japanese beetles and tent caterpillars may also be a problem. Disease problems are generally confined to fungal leaf spots and cankers.

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Read more about Plum Trees

Flowering Plum Tree

The Flowering Plum tree is very pretty small ornamental tree. The botanical name is Prunus cerasifera. You will probably want a purple leaf variety. It flowers in the spring with small pink flowers. The light pink against the purple leaves is very attractive!

You can see how vivid the red color is in the photos below. The first photo was taken at a house I lived in. I can honestly say I enjoyed this tree almost all year long.

There are a few different varieties of the Flowering Plum tree so I will narrow it down to the best one.

I would recommend the Newport Plum. This purple leaf plum tree is the hardiest one.

The new leaves are a light bronze-purple color but then they change to a reddish/dark purple. The pink flowers cover the tree and is lovely when in full bloom, which is very early in the spring. This tree is also a fast grower.

Special Features

  • very pretty rounded/symmetrical shape
  • reddish purple leaves makes it stand out in the landscape all season long
  • its small size makes it desirable and easy to place

Where To Use The Purple Leaf Plum Tree

This tree is lovely as a focal point. You can do this by placing it out in the lawn. You can use just one, but if you have the space, you can stagger them across the lawn and use three. Place two a little closer together and one further away in a triangular design.

This Plum tree is small enough to also use at a house corner. Place it about 10 feet away from the house to allow room for growth. This is very doable in a design as you can sweep the bed around it and add plants behind the tree as a background. You can also add plants in front of it.

Place it near your patio where it will not only be nice to look at from the patio and inside your house, but also will provide some shade.

Use one at your driveway entry or use two on either side for a more symmetrical look. They can be used alone, or you can create a planting bed around them with shrubs and perennials.

Need more information on trees? Please take a look at my newest ebook Trees For Landscaping.

Learn more about other gorgeous ornamental trees, along with information on evergreen and shade trees.

I've provided wonderful photos. This is the type of book that is easy to read, a quick reference and that you will help you choosing the right trees for your property.

In the book are my favorite trees that I use in designs for clients. Some of these designs won awards!

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"Susan, what a pleasure it was to work with you. You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly! Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant. You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes. Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it. "
Helen, Ontario-Canada

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Growing Newport Flowering Plum Trees

The Newport Flowering Plum Tree has a fast, dependable growth rate. It gains between 3 and 5 feet of new growth a year – or sometimes even more! In order to get the fastest growth, water the Newport Flowering Plum Tree at least once a week and fertilize once in spring and once in late summer. The Newport Flowering Plum Tree is an immensely popular ornamental shade tree that is planted throughout much of the United States. It is widely planted for a wide variety of reasons. It is a reliable tree, and when provided proper care, it will delight each season and live a healthy life. Paired with this is the tree’s fast growth rate, which quickly raises the tree up to its full height in just a few seasons.


The stunning seasonal interest of the Newport Flowering Plum Tree also makes it a popular plant. Springtime brings beautiful white to pink blossoms, which fall to reveal majestic purple leaves in summer. Over the hot summer days, the leaves slowly darken to a rich crimson, sprinkling the otherwise yellow-brown autumn foliage with vibrant burgundy. The Newport Flowering Plum cannot fail to make a visual impression on its planters!

Pruning and Maintenance

The Newport Flowering Plum Tree is an easy-to-care-for tree. Pruning and daily maintenance are not needed, making this an ideal tree for a first time planter. Its small size makes it perfect for smaller nooks and patio areas. It works well for those with limited space. When fully mature, the Newport Flowering Plum Tree usually reaches between 25 and 30 feet tall and between 20 and 25 feet wide.

Planting Location

These Plum Trees are famously adaptable, so any location in full sun or partial shade should be fine. Once you’ve decided where to plant the tree, you need to dig a hole! The hole should be twice as wide as the Newport Flowering Plum Tree, and only just as deep. In fact, if the root ball of the Plum Tree protrudes from the soil about 1 inch, all the better. The tree will settle over time. Once the tree is in the hole, hold it vertically and backfill with soil and water. Use mulch around the base of the tree and water immediately.


The Newport Flowering Plum Tree is rated hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-10, making it one of the few trees to grow successfully in all 48 contiguous United States. Like most trees, the Newport Flowering Plum Tree prefers moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. However, this tree is also adaptable to clay, silty, or sandy soils.

Pests and Diseases

This hardy Flowering Plum Tree manages drought and harsh climates with ease. Some gardeners have reported infestations of wood borers. These insects will drill into the plant system, severing the transport systems. This causes the leaves and roots to dry up. Controlling these borers is manageable though. If diseased branches are discovered, remove them immediately. Insecticides and fungicides can be used to deter wood borers and other mildew diseases, like cherry leaf spot.

Landscape Ideas

The Newport Plum is the perfect ornamental tree to use in your landscaping. It is stunning, tough, and requires no maintenance once established! Plant this hardy tree in the center of the lawn or plant several in a staggered pattern along the back yard. Use the Newport Plum at the corner of your home.

Plant at least 10 feet away to allow plenty of room for your tree to grow. Wrap a bed around this flowering tree and add Hostas for rich color contrast. Use your Newport Flowering Plum at your driveway entrance. Plant one or go for a symmetrical look with one tree on each side.

For additional options, be sure to to browse our Flowering trees collection.

Shipping Restriction AZ
Soil Type Adaptable
Sunlight Full, Partial
Drought Tolerance Good
Mature Height 20-30 Feet
Mature Width 20-30 Feet
Fall Color Purple
Bloom Color Pink


Pruning is essential for not just maintaining the shape and training the tree to a desired size but also in promoting healthy plant tissue especially when there are dead or dying branches. Pruning also helps in flower bud and fruit growth. There are three ways to prune by crown reduction, thinning and pinching. Thinning helps in removal of weak limbs and stems while pinching of flower heads and twiggy offshoots help in controlling the plant’s size. To maintain the tree’s canopy and shape use crown reduction which involves removal of top portion of the tree has to be done.

Start pruning to shape young trees, just make sure you don’t cut the main branch. Just snip out a few lateral steams to either maintain a design or encourage strong growth. The best time to prune a flowering plum is during their dormant period. Remove all diseased, damaged and weak branches. If a well-shaped crown is what you are aiming for then prune lower branches, or in dense crowns cut away some of the larger branches at the top of the tree. Use sharp garden tools like shears, lopping shears, hand saws, etc to get a good job done. For shorter branches use clippers like scissor action pruners, and pole pruners for large branches. If the branches are thicker than one-inch, use curved pruning saws. For well-established trees ask for professional help if you are not too sure about the way to go.

Watch the video: Tips on Our Growing Purple Leafed Plum Trees