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Krauter Vesuvius Purple Leaf Plum
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The Krauter Vesuvius Purple Leaf Plum tree (a.k.a. Purple Cherry Plum) is a ravishing redhead that will delight you with sweet shell-pink flowers in spring and deep burgundy foliage all season. This fast-growing Flowering Plum tree fills out in a hurry but stays a manageable size, topping out at 15 to 20 feet tall and wide. Plant it near your front walk, patio, pool, deck, or anywhere you want a jolt of color. Backed by light-colored siding or a white fence, this Purple Plum tree’s color really pops, and we also like it with pink- or white-flowering trees like E.H. Wilson Mimosa or Kousa Dogwood.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-8
- Spacing: 15-20'
- Exposure: Full Sun
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A royal purple plant fit for a king, Purple Leaf Plum arrived to the West directly from the garden of the King of Persia (modern-day Iran) in 1880. The ruler at that time was the first Shah to embrace some Western technologies and customs—he even employed a French head gardener, Ernest Pissard, to maintain the palace grounds. Pissard exported the first (Persian) Purple Leaf Plum to the West. Since then, other variants have been conjured—like this variety, claimed by Carl Krauter of Bakersfield, California, which was released in 1957.
Carl Krauter knew what he was doing when he selected this volcanic beauty! Unlike the Mount Vesuvius that devastated Pompeii, this hardy Purple Leaf Plum explodes with light pink flowers in spring and later erupts with deep purple leaves that endure the entire season. Fast-growing and more heat tolerant than the Thundercloud Purple Leaf Plum, the Krauter's Vesuvius Plum will knock you on your ash!
How to Grow
Purpleleaf Plums will do better in a sunny location in your landscape. The sun helps them to retain their dark purple leaf color. The Krauter’s Vesuvius (which we call “K.V.’s” around here) are very heat tolerant and grows well in most soil conditions, however they don’t like soils that are too wet. So after they are first planted in your yard, give them enough water to keep the soil moist. Giving your Purpleleaf Plums a simple tree fertilizer for the first 3 years or so would be very beneficial as well. Fertilizing about once a year, preferably in the fall, will give your tree essential nutrients that will help promote healthy new growth and flowers for the following spring. K.V.’s are vigorous growers. Don’t be afraid to prune them when necessary. K.V.’s have strong root development (which will withstand more “Wizard of Oz”-type winds) and an upright growing habit. There aren’t too many diseases or pests that cause major problems for these Plums. Krauter’s Vesuvius is more resistant to Black Knot, which is a fungus and is controlled by cutting the infection out of the tree. It may have the occasional Japanese Beetle problem, which can be controlled by spraying, or watering your tree with a concentrated insecticide/water mixture.
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