Dwarf Flowering Almond Plant Profile

How to Grow Prunus Glandulosa

Prunus glandulosa

zelg / Getty Images

Dwarf flowering almond is a multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub. In the lingo of plant taxonomy, this pink-flowered bush is called Prunus glandulosa 'Rosea Plena.' The cultivar name breaks down as 'Rosea,' meaning "pink," and 'Plena,' meaning "full" or "double." This name thus tells you two things about the flowers: their color is pink, and they are double flowers. Another common cultivar name is 'Sinensis.'

Not surprisingly, the true spectacle of this dwarf shrub is its profusion of double pink flowers (or, occasionally, white blossoms) when it blooms in spring. The flowers appear before any leaves grace the branches. Flowering almond is indigenous to China (indicated in the cultivar name 'Sinensis') and is best grown in planting zones 4 to 9. 

Dwarf flowering almond does not produce edible almonds. The plant that bears the well-known almond nuts is Prunus dulcis, a tree native to parts of the Mediterranean region. It is taller (up to 15 feet) and less cold-hardy (only to zone 7).

Botanical Name Prunus glandulosa
Common Name Dwarf flowering almond
Plant Type Deciduous shrub
Mature Size 3 to 4 feet wide and 4 to 5 feet tall
Sun Exposure Full sun to part shade
Soil Type Rich, well-drained
Soil pH 5.5 to 7.5
Bloom Time April
Flower Color Pink
Hardiness Zones 4 to 8
Native Area China, Japan
Almond bush
JTGrafix​ / Getty Images  
Prunus glandulosa
zelg / Getty Images

How to Grow Dwarf Flowering Almond

This shrub's branches are notoriously weak, so be careful when handling the plant (many a gardener has accidentally broken off a branch when transplanting). Provide your plant with artificial irrigation during dry periods until it has had time to become established. Once the plant has taken root, is tends to resist drought well.

The single most important aspect of plant care for this plant is pruning. Flowering almond can become messy-looking if left to its own devices for too long. Suckering can also be a problem, so yearly pruning is advisable. 

Light

Dwarf flowering almond does best in full sun to partial shade. Try to give it five hours of sun each day.

Soil

The plant is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, from sandy to clay. It should be of average fertility and, most important, it must drain well.

Water

Water regularly to keep the soil moist but not wet.

Temperature and Humidity

Dwarf flowering almond grows well in a variety of climates. It requires only a brief season of chilly weather to prompt flowering in the spring. It is also considered urban-tolerant.

Fertilizer

Fertilize this shrub with compost in spring. Otherwise, it does not need additional feeding if the soil is healthy.

Varieties of Dwarf Flowering Almond

  • P. glandulosa 'Alba Plena' is the white version.
  • P. glandulosa 'Alba' is also white, but with single, rather than double flowers.
  • P. triloba is a taller plant, capable of reaching 15 feet tall. It is thus sometimes called a tree.
Prunus glandulosa Alba Plena
Prunus glandulosa Alba Plena. znm / Getty Images 
Prunus triloba
Prunus triloba.  little_honey​ / Getty Images 

Pruning

The best time to prune your flowering almond is just after blooming is over, since it is a shrub that flowers on old wood. Prune with an eye to shaping your plant, removing any branch that is too tall, just above a set of leaves. Also, remove dead wood or branches rubbing against each other. Err on the side of pruning off too much rather than too little. You will not hurt this shrub by giving it a significant pruning.

Should your shrub ever be damaged, simply cut the branches right down to the ground level to rejuvenate it. Future blooming will be delayed, but the plant will eventually come back as good as ever.

Uses in Landscaping

The most common ways to use dwarf flowering almond bushes are as hedges or as specimen plants for springtime. It is a popular plant that is both fast-growing and drought-tolerant, and its bloom is certainly spectacular. But, unfortunately, once the bloom is over, the shrub offers limited interest for the rest of the year. Therefore, the value you attach to this shrub largely comes down to how you answer the question: Does a plant have to possess multi-season interest to warrant growing, or is a spectacular display during one season enough to justify using it?

Your answer may depend, in part, on the size of your yard. Those with small yards may find it difficult to justify growing a one-hit-wonder, feeling that, to make optimal use of the space available, they need to grow a plant with visual interest spread across more than one season. By contrast, those with larger yards have the luxury of splurging on a bush such as flowering almond, because they have the space to grow numerous other plants to take up the slack when flowering almond has ended its spring show.