Pawnee Buttes Sandcherry

Prunus besseyi ‘P011S’

The Pawnee Buttes sand cherry is a graceful, ground-covering shrub. During the springtime, you can expect to see fragrant, white flowers blooming on this shrub. When summer arrives, the flowers will make way for black cherries. With all that fruit, you might have local wildlife visiting your yard. In the fall, Its thick green leaves will turn bright red and purple.

Pawnee Buttes Sand Cherry Attributes

The Pawnee Buttes sand cherry is a species of the native sand cherry shrub. This medium-sized ornamental shrub is well-known for slender green leaves with a silver sheen. During the growing season, you can enjoy the showy white flowers and black cherries that will form on the shrub. You will need room for this shrub since the branches will grow low and spread out. The Pawnee Buttes sand cherry provides your space with great fall colors. When it matures, this species forms into a rounded shape. This deciduous plant is very adaptable and hardy in many environments.

While this shrub is prized for its ornamental properties, many people plant it for the edible cherries. The fruits can be used in jellies and pies. You can expect to have many birds and wildlife in your yard if you leave them on the plant. The Pawnee Buttes sand cherry is also a favorite of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

Pawnee Buttes Sandcherry


Plant Type Shrub

  • Height: 15-18 inches
  • Width: 4-6 feet
  • Flowering Season: Early spring
  • Flower Color: White
  • Sun: Sun, Partial Sun
  • Water Needs: Moderate to xeric
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: Zones 3-8
  • Soil Type: Clay, loam, sandy
  • Deer Resistant: No
  • Good for Pollination: Yes
  • Winter Interest: Yes
  • North American Native: Yes
  • Year Introduced: 2000
  • Annual Commercial Maintenance: After its mature, select a few larger branches and prune them off to about 6″ above ground and let plant rejuvenate.
  • 5-10 Year Commercial Maintenance: In the spring trim overall height back to less than 18″ and allow it to rejuvenate.
  • Elevation Guide: Up to 8125 ft


  • The Pawnee Buttes Western Sand Cherry is a new, excellent, creeping form of Western Sand Cherry discovered in eastern Colorado.
  • Showy glossy silver-green foliage turns a striking red in fall.
  • White flowers in May give way to 3/4″ edible, black cherries. Great for attracting birds.
  • Another xeriscape plant that prefers hot, dry sites in full sun.
  • Can mildew in moist or shaded locations.
  • This plant will grow to be around 12-18″ tall x 3-4′ wide.
  • They should be sheltered from strong winds.
  • Evergreen varieties thrive in light shade.
  • All prunus prosper on any well-drained soil enriched with organic matter.
  • Plant March, May-November
  • Prune in April, July-August
  • Deciduous varieties- no regular pruning is necessary. Cut out crowding shoots from mid to late summer.
  • Evergreen varieties – shear laurel hedges in spring and late summer. 

Pawnee Buttes Sand Cherry Landscape Uses

This multi-stemmed deciduous shrub has a more rounded shape than other sand cherries. The Pawnee Buttes sand cherry will stand out in any type of landscape. With its fine texture, you might want to use the shrub in an area with other landscape plants that have less refined foliage. This sand cherry will work best as a mass planting in your yard, or you can add it as a centerpiece of the landscape. If you want to add an excellent groundcover shrub, then you will want to select the Pawnee Buttes sand cherry for your outdoor space. Its white flowers are a unique feature that is not typically found in groundcover shrubs. For those who have a moisture-conserving landscape, this drought-tolerant plant will be a perfect fit in that environment.

Pawnee Buttes Sand Cherry Care

This type of sand cherry is almost maintenance-free. It does prefer well-draining soil, but it can adapt to most soil types, including clay. When mature, the Pawnee Buttes sand cherry will grow to be about seven feet tall, and it will have a spread of seven feet. You will not need any plants in the front to fill in empty spaces since this plant grows down to the ground. The Pawnee Buttes sand cherry is an excellent plant to place under power lines due to its short height. Under the ideal conditions, you can expect this sand cherry to live for over 20 years. It is a self-pollinating plant, and it will not need a second plant to help set the fruit. You can enjoy those cherries with just a single plant.

The Pawnee Buttes sand cherry needs full sunlight for growth. While it is adaptable for both moist and dry conditions, it will not tolerate standing water. If the roots are too wet, it can develop root rot. This plant is very drought-tolerant, and it does not have a preference for soil pH or type. However, if you are looking for the shrub to grow quickly, it will need regular watering in the summer. The Pawnee Buttes sand cherry can handle urban pollution, and it will thrive in city climates.

You will want to prune to help provide air circulation and promote its health. Pruning will also help to keep its uniform shape. You can easily prune this shrub’s small branches by hand. However, if you want it to grow, you will need to give it plenty of room in your landscape.

Choose the Pawnee Buttes Sandcherry for Your Space

With its green leaves and dark cherries, this is a popular choice for those sand cherries lovers. It will make a perfect groundcover for your outdoor landscape. This species will thrive in areas with full sunshine and dry soils. When you need to add some unique groundcover to your space, make the Pawnee Buttes sand cherry your top choice.


At Arbor Valley Nursery, we carry a large selection of sand cherries, including the Pawnee Buttes. In addition to that, we also have shrubs and trees that will make a perfect addition to any landscape. We help provide landscaping elements for other nurseries, commercial landscapers, and garden centers. If you want to learn more about this shrub or other plants, please take a few minutes to fill out the contact form.

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