How to Grow and Care for Dwarf Flowering Almond

pink flowering almond bush

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Dwarf flowering almond (Prunus glandulosa ) is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub or small tree with a rounded crown that bears light pink (or occasionally white) double flowers in early spring, just before leaves appear. It has elliptical light-green leaves with edges that are finely serrated. Normally planted as a bare root or container-grown plant in the spring, the dwarf flowering almond is a fast-growing but fairly short-lived shrub. Nursery specimens will achieve full size within one to two years, but because it is susceptible to a variety of insect and disease problems, a dwarf flowering almond shrub rarely survives more than 10 years.

This tree contains small amounts of cyanogenic glycosides (cyanide) in the leaves, leaves, and seeds, which can cause health problems in animals or people who consume plant parts in large quantities. Poisoning to pets and humans is rare, but do not plant these shrubs where grazing animals such as horses, cattle, or goats might have access.

Common Name Dwarf flowering almond
Botanical Name Prunus glandulosa
Family Rosaceae
Plant Type Deciduous shrub
Mature Size 3-4 ft. wide, 5 ft. tall
Sun Exposure Full
Soil Type Moist, well-drained loam
Soil pH Neutral
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color Light pink
Hardiness Zones 4-8 (USDA)
Native Area Asia
Toxicity Toxic to pets and people
pink flowering almond tree

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

closeup of a pink flowering almond tree

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

closeup of a flowering almond tree

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Dwarf Flowering Almond Care

Prunus glandulosa is a somewhat temperamental shrub that will demand a fair amount of attention to maintain its appearance. Frequent pruning is essential, and you can expect to deal with a variety of insect and disease issues. It is, however, fairly tolerant of urban conditions, as well as being moderately drought-tolerant once it is well established.

Plant dwarf flowering almond shrubs in moist, rich soil in full sun to part shade. Good soil drainage is critical. If creating a screen, space the shrubs about 3 feet apart. The thin, wiry branches are notoriously brittle and weak, so be careful when handling the plant. It will take quite a bit of moisture during the first year or two as it is becoming established, but after than will tolerate occasional drought. These shrubs don't require much feeding, but applying compost around the base each spring will promote growth.

This shrub tends to sprawl and become messy unless you prune it fairly vigorously each year.


Dwarf flowering almond does best in full sun to partial shade. Try to give it at least five hours of sun each day. In colder regions, it will appreciate even more sun.


Dwarf flowering almond is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, from sandy to clay, but excessively wet soil can be damaging. It does best in soil with average fertility and a fairly neutral pH level between 6.5 to 7.5, though it will tolerate soils that are slightly more acidic or alkaline.


Water regularly to keep the soil moist but not wet, especially during the summer. Cover the soil with 2 inches of shredded mulch for extra protection.

Temperature and Humidity

Dwarf flowering almond grows well in a variety of climates in USDA zones 4 to 8. It requires only a short season of cool weather to prompt flowering in the spring. Dwarf flowering almonds are fairly tolerant of urban air conditions.


Fertilize this shrub with a layer compost spread over the root zone in spring. Otherwise, it does not need additional feeding if the soil is healthy. If you're looking to promote extra root strength, you can use a phosphorus fertilizer.

Types of Dwarf Flowering Almond

The most common cultivar of this tree is 'Rosea Plena', also sold as 'Sinensis,' with light pink flowers. Other cultivars that offer slight variations in flower color and structure include:

  • P. glanulosa 'Alba Plena': This shrub is identical to 'Rosea Plena', but with white double flowers.
  • P. glandulosa 'Alba': This cultivar has white flowers with a simple single-petal structure.
  • P. 'glanulosa 'Lawrence': This variety has single-petal pinkish-white flowers.
Prunus glandulosa Alba Plena
Prunus glandulosa Alba Plena znm / Getty Images 
Prunus triloba
Prunus triloba  little_honey​ / Getty Images 


The most critical aspect of plant care for dwarf flowering almond is pruning. Dwarf flowering almond is a thin-stemmed plant that can sprawl and grow messy if left alone for too long. The best time to prune is just after blooming is over in spring. This can be done even before the branches have leafed out. This shrub flowers in spring on old wood created during the previous growing season, so pruning it too late removes the growth that makes next season's flowers possible.

Proper pruning has several elements:

  • Remove suckers that sprout up around the base of the plant—unless you wish for the shrub to spread and naturalize.
  • Remove any dead or diseased stems down to ground-level
  • Remove a few of the thickest, oldest stems down to ground level to stimulate new growth and more profuse flowering.
  • Shorten any scraggly, sprawling stems to keep the shrub tidy and control its height.

You will not hurt this shrub by giving it significant pruning—it's better to prune too much than too little. If the shrub becomes too overgrown or sparse, it responds well to a vigorous rejuvenation pruning that cuts the entire shrub back to just above ground level. It may take a year or two, but the plant will eventually return to a healthy state.

Propagating Dwarf Flowering Almond

Dwarf flowering almond shrubs are species plants rather than grafted plants, so they reproduce reliably from new softwood cuttings in spring or early summer, or from semi-hardwood cuttings from July to August. Here's how to do it:

  1. Clip a 6- to 12-inch segment of branch tip, using sharp pruners. Trim off the lower leaves, but leave at least two pairs of leaves at the top of the cutting.
  2. Scrap off about 1 inch of bark from all around the bottom of the cutting, using a sharp knife or the blade of a sharp pruner.
  3. Dip the bare end of the cutting in rooting hormone, then plant it in a pot filled with moistened potting mix.
  4. Place the planted cutting in a loosely secured plastic bag, then place it in a location with bright indirect light. Periodically check the potting mix and remoisten when necessary.
  5. In about six to eight weeks the cutting should develop roots (tug on the cutting; if you feel resistance, it means roots have formed).
  6. Once the cutting has rooted, move it outdoors and continue growing it for at least a full year in the pot. For winter months, move the potted sapling into a sheltered location (such as a cold frame) until spring.
  7. Plant the shrub in the landscape when it begins to develop new growth the following spring.

How to Grow Dwarf Flowering Almond From Seeds

Seed propagation of dwarf flowering almond is not common, as the process can take three years or more. Seeds taken from the fruit of a dwarf flowering almond must go through two to three months of cold stratification—either stored outside or in a refrigerator for the winter—before they are planted. Once planted in a tray with moistened potting mix, the seeds can take as much as 18 months before they germinate and sprout.

When they are large enough to handle, individual seedlings can be transplanted into individual pots, then grown on in a greenhouse or cold fame through the first winter. The following spring, the seedlings can be transplanted into the landscape

Potting and Repotting

Because dwarf flowering almond has a limited period of visual appeal, it is not often grown in containers on decks and patios. However, it is easy enough to do so, and it is sometimes the best strategy in landscapes where the garden soil is wet and poorly draining. By planting the shrub in a large pot or raised bed filled with a good porous potting mix, you can ensure soil conditions that are favorable to the plant.

Use a large ceramic or clay pot (at least 20 gallons) with a drainage hole. Some growers blend in some sand with a commercial potting mix to improve drainage.

Container culture is most common in milder climates, where a potted shrub can ornament a large patio or deck. In regions with very cold winters, potted almond shrubs should be moved to a sheltered location for the winter.

When a potted dwarf flowering almond fills its container and begins poking roots through the drainage hole, remove it, trim back the root mass by about one-third, then repot in the same container with additional fresh potting mix.


Within its hardiness range, dwarf flowering almond generally survives winter unharmed, but be sure to prepare it by watering well in the fall. Do not prune in winter, as this removes the growth that fuels spring flowering.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Dwarf flowering almond is prone to an unfortunately large number of diseases and pests. Common diseases include leaf spot, powdery mildew, root rot, and honey fungus.

Verticillium wilt is a serious, usually deadly fungal enemy of this shrub. The disease causes leaves to curl up and branches to systematically die back, one by one. Verticillium is a root disease that causes the plant's root system to constrict so that water can not move up the stems. Affected stems should be pruned away, but once the shrub is infected, it is often doomed to eventual removal. This fungal disease is more likely to occur in soil that does not drain well.

You can help prevent fungus disease and pests by raking up fallen leaves around the shrub, which can harbor fungal spores and insect eggs and larvae.

How to Get Dwarf Dwarf Flowering Almond to Bloom

Dwarf flowering almond typically blooms between March and April, producing soft, pink clusters of flowers that are without significant fragrance. The flowers usually appear before the leaves emerge. You can promote healthy bloom by ensuring ample sunlight and watering. Do not prune during bloom; instead, wait until the flowers are fully developed and beginning to fade, then prune rigorously before the branches have fully leafed out. Aggressive pruning done at the right time will improve the following season's flower display.

Common Problems With Dwarf Flowering Almond

Beyond the many diseases and pest problems that can plague dwarf flowering almond (see above), the most common complaint with this shrub is its rather dull and messy appearance once the dramatic early spring flowers have faded. This plant has limited appeal as a specimen shrub for all but a month or so of the year. Thus, it is best kept to the back of the landscape as part of a border screen.

Yellowing leaves on this plant usually is a sign of a mineral nutrient deficiency, such as a lack of nitrogen or iron. In this case, you may need to supplement your plant with fertilizer rich in the minerals it's lacking. Be careful not to create an excessively high pH in your soil when treating the problem.

  • What plants are similar to dwarf flowering almond?

    Prunus triloba, flowering plum, is similar to a dwarf flowering almond, but is taller, growing 10 to 15 feet in width and length. However, the flowering plum is more susceptible to damage from frost.

  • How long do dwarf flowering almond shrubs live?

    Dwarf flowering almond has been known to live up to 20 years when given exceptional care. But it is subject to many diseases and pest problems, so consider yourself lucky if it reaches 10 years of age.

  • Does dwarf flowering almond bear almonds?

    Dwarf flowering almond does not produce edible almonds. The plant that bears almond nuts is Prunus dulcis, a tree native to the Mediterranean.

  • How should I use this plant in the landsape?

    Dwarf flowering almond shurbs are best suited for blending in with other shrubs in a mixed shrub border or island planting. They also work well in naturalized woodland areas.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Prunus glanulosa. Missouri Botanical Garden.

  2. Prunus granulosa. North Carolina State Extension.

  3. Prunus glandulosa. North Carolina State Extension.

  4. Prunus glandulosa. Plants for a Future.