Plant Encyclopedia

Western Sandcherry

Prunus besseyi

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Western Sandcherry, spidery shrub with green leaves

Discover More Information On Western Sandcherry

The Western sandcherry is a hardy shrub that dazzles throughout the year. Depending on the season, this shrub produces brilliant white flowers, purplish-black fruits, or bright red hues. This is the perfect shrub for those dry locations. If you are looking for a native shrub for your Colorado garden, then it is time to select the Western sandcherry for your landscape.

Plant Attributes

This creeping, plant is native to the Rocky Mountains. The Western sandcherry is active throughout the spring and summer months. However, it provides plenty of color during the autumn season. In the springtime, this shrub displays fragrant white flowers. You will find these flowers sprinkled throughout the green foliage. As the blooms fade away, they are replaced by dark cherries on the branches. These fruits can be eaten fresh. However, many people gather the berries so that they can be used as preserves. With all that fruit, the Western sandberry is a favorite shrub among birds. When you add this shrub to your landscape, the birds will flock to your yard to dine on the ripe berries.

The grayish-green foliage remains throughout the season. As fall approaches, the pointy leaves transform into a brilliant display of autumn colors. As the leaves turn into a variety of red, orange, and burgundy tones, you will marvel at the beautiful colors popping in your yard. This sandcherry is a three-season interest specimen that looks great in any landscape.

Landscape Use

This deciduous shrub features a subtle rounded form. With its fine-textured leaves, it is a great shrub to add to spaces with less refined foliage. The Western sandcherry will grow to a height and width of 5 to 6 feet. This sandcherry grows down to the ground, and there is no need to add facer plants in front of it. It is also suited to be planted under power lines. With its height and width, this is a great shrub to be used as a shelterbelt or windbreak. It can survive in those areas with harsh winds and cold winters.

If you want to design a native landscape for the Colorado area, this is the perfect selection. This sandcherry looks great when other native shrubs and grasses surround it. You can plant several of these trees in a mass planting. With their exceptional color throughout the year, multiple shrubs make your landscape pop with interest.

Since the Western sandcherry produces tart cherries, you may want to consider adding it to an orchard or edible landscape. The Western sandcherry is a self-pollinating shrub, and it doesn’t need another plant to help develop the fruit. With other fruit-producing trees and shrubs, you can feed the local wildlife. You may want to keep the berries for yourself to make pies, jams, and other sweet treats.

Planting & Care

The Western sandcherry is a low-maintenance shrub. This shrub grows at a medium rate. Under the right conditions, you can expect the Western sandcherry to live up to 20 years. It will excel in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 6. However, for the best results, you will want to plant this shrub in full sunlight. With plenty of sun, the shrub can produce beautiful flowers and fruits in the spring and summer.

This sandcherry can adapt to moist and dry growing conditions. If it is left in standing water, the shrub will die. Once it has established in your yard, it is tolerant of droughts. This Western sandcherry is the perfect choice for xeriscaping. This shrub is not particular to any soil or pH levels. It can tolerate urban pollution and thrive in most city environments. If you want to prune this sandcherry, it is best done in late winter. Once the threat of cold weather has passed, you can trim a few branches to help keep its shape for the upcoming year.

Additional Information

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Western Sandcherry


This drought-tolerant shrub produces a bounty of white flowers in April and May. By summer, the flowers are replaced by purplish fruits. Along with that, its gray-green leaves provide plenty of shade for your landscape. The Western sandcherry is adaptable to a variety of conditions. This is the perfect choice for those who want to create a native landscape.

If you are interested in the Western sandcherry, you need to reach out to Arbor Valley Nursery. We can help you get this beautiful shrub for your next project. Make sure to fill out the contact form to learn more about this enchanting Western sandcherry.

Plant Features

  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Watering Needs: Water regularly – weekly, or more often in extreme heat.
  • Botanical Pronunciation: PROO-nus BES-se-i
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Deciduous
  • Growth rate: Moderate
  • Average landscape size: 4-6 ft (1.2-1.6 m) tall and wide.
  • Special features: Stunning fragrant white flowers, Attracts Songbirds, Attracts Butterflies
  • Foliage color: Deep Green
  • Blooms: Spring
  • Flower color: White
  • Flower attributes: Fragrant, Showy Flowers
  • Garden style: Rustic
  • Design Ideas:
  • Companion Plants: Blue Spruce (Picea pungens); Weigela (Weigela); Coneflower (Echinacea); Blue Fescue (Festuca); Spirea (Spiraea); Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum)

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