The Q&A Archives: What Is A Sweet Almond?

Question: I have a plant that I was told is a Sweet Almond. It is deciduous, and in the spring the branches are covered with long stakes of pink flowers. Can you tell me how big this plant will get, and how to prune it? I do not even know what shape it is supposed to have.

Answer: Your Sweet Almond is probably the Dwarf Flowering Almond, Prunus glandulosa. The Dwarf Flowering Almond is not an almond (Amygdalus communis) at all but a close relative of flowering cherries, native to China and Japan. It is a lovely little deciduous shrub that reaches four to five feet in height and will spread to four feet in width. The shrub assumes an open, oval or mounded form as it matures. Its star season is the spring when sweet, pink or white, cherry-like blossoms cluster along the stems before the leaves are out. The summer foliage is light green and resembles miniature peach foliage.

While generally well-adapted to the southeast, it should be planted in a site with the best drainage, fertility, and light available in the garden. Since it is a multi-stemmed shrub which tends to spread, it can get a bit scraggly. Periodic pruning will rejuvenate the shrub and increase flowering.

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