Plant Encyclopedia

Cistena Plum

Prunus x cistena

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Cistena Plum. Small tree with red leaves

Discover More Information On Cistena Plum

Are you looking for an exceptional shrub to use as a focal point for your landscape? The Cistena plum (Prunus x cistena) is just the shrub for you. The rich colors look great in any space, and it will become an excellent place for those feathered friends to gather. If you enjoy birds, flowers, and dark foliage, you cannot go wrong with a Cistena plum in your yard.

Plant Attributes

This plum shrub is also known as the dwarf red-leaf plum or the purple leaf sand cherry. It is a hybrid of a Prunus cerasifera and Prunus pumil. In the early spring, the Cistena’s three-inch leaves dazzle you with a reddish-purple color. That color stays vivid throughout the summer. The plant’s young bark also features a purplish hue. There is another treat in the springtime. The small pinkish-white flowers start to emerge. With the arrival of the flowers, the dark purple hues begin to soften. When fall approaches, the leaves transform into a red-bronze color before they drop for the season.

This plant is a favorite of your local birds, and they will dine on the dark cherries that start to form in the early fall. Those cherries can last until the winter if the birds have not plucked them from the tree.

Landscape Use

This ornamental shrub will look great as it flanks an entranceway to welcome your guests. Since it is beautiful in every season, you will want to show off this spectacular shrub. With its graceful branch structure, it makes a fabulous conversation piece in your outdoor spaces.

If you allow the Cistena plum to grow naturally, it will reach an impressive size. However, you may want to prune this dense-growing shrub to maintain a manageable shape. It is a versatile shrub, and you can train it into a small tree form. Wherever you chose, this plant makes an excellent piece for any space in your landscape.

The Cistena plum works well in a mixed foundation planting. It can draw attention to itself no matter where you place this plant. For an appealing visual barrier, you might want to plant several shrubs along the side of a patio. It creates a barrier without adding too much density to your yard.

This Cistena plum can add some depth to your space throughout the year. Make sure to place it in a spot where you can watch the dark leaves and delicate flowers transform for every season.

The shrub is even a treat for the ears. The leaves catch the breeze and provide a gentle rustle for your garden. During the autumn, you will enjoy the birds’ happy chirps as they feast on the cherries.

Planting & Care

The Cistena plum has an upright growth habit that spreads out as it ages. For that reason, you will want to give this shrub plenty of room to grow. Once the Cistena plum is established, it becomes tolerant to droughts and resistant to deer. When the flowers appear, it attracts bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. This plum thrives in USDA hardiness zones 2 to 7.

The Cistena plum loves to be planted in the full or partial sun. Full sun will help your shrub provide the best leaf color and help with its uniformity. You want to add it to well-draining and moist soil for the best results. It requires only moderate water needs. This specific shrub demands air circulation for healthy growth, and you should give it room to breathe in your landscape. When the shrub has matured, it will reach a height of 10 feet tall and a width of 6 feet.

Additional Information

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Cistena Plum


If you want a showstopper for your landscape, then you should think about adding the Cistena plum to your space. This shrub is well-known for its fragrant pinkish-white flowers that make an appearance in the spring. Throughout the summer, you can enjoy the dark purple hues of the leaves and branches. In the autumn, you will be treated to the dark purplish colors of this shrub. Make sure to add this magnificent shrub to any spot in your outdoor spaces.

At Arbor Valley Nursery, we love to help you find the perfect plants for your landscaping business, garden center, or nursery. We have a wide selection of trees, shrubs, and flowers, including the gorgeous Cistena plum shrub. Our team will make sure that you choose the right variety of your landscape. If you want to learn more about these purple-colored shrubs, make sure to fill out the contact form.

Plant Features

  • Watering Needs: Average, consistently moist soil, do not overwater.
  • Botanical Pronunciation: PROO-nus sis-TEE-na
  • Plant type: Shrub, Tree
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Deciduous
  • Growth rate: Medium to fast
  • Average landscape size: grows to a height of 7–10′ and a spread of 5–7′ at maturity.
  • Special features: Grows outdoors year-round in hardiness zone
  • Dramatic Foliage: Showy Flowers
  • Foliage color: reddish-purple
  • Blooms: late April to early May
  • Flower color: light pink to white flowers
  • Flower attributes: fragrant
  • Garden style: Cottage, Rustic
  • Design Ideas: use to create a fantastic semi-formal hedge.
  • Companion Plants: Blue spruce, Spirea, Shasta Daisy

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