Primus

Primus is widespread in temperate regions and comprises about 430 species and countless cultivars which are classified according to the fruits produced: cherries, almonds, peaches, apricots and plums. In addition to a number of indigenous species, many are cultivated for their beautiful flowers. This is a deciduous or evergreen, woody-stemmed shrub or tree, with spreading, stemmed leaves, often with a serrated or toothed margin and white or pink, sometimes yellow flowers which grow singly or in groups of up to three together, in sprays, umbels or clusters with five sepals and petals, and countless stamens; it has single-seed fruits with a hard stone. P. x amygdalo-persica ‘Spring Glow’, ornamental almond, is a deciduous, upright tree up to 5 m tall, eventually becoming broader, which flowers in March. It has bronze or coppery leaves, pink buds and pink flowers which turn white; it requires a sheltered spot.

P. ccrasHs ‘Rhexii’, ornamental cherry, is a deciduous shrub or small tree up to 8 m tall, which forms suckers and flowers for a long time in May, with double, white flowers up to 3 cm across, with yellow stamens, on the shoots.

P. incisa (Fuji cherry) is a deciduous shrub or tree which flowers profusely. In Japan it is cultivated as a bonsai. The bushv shrub tall and broad. It flowers in April with double, bright pink flowers, 3.5 cm across. P. sitbhirtella ‘Fukubana’, rosebud cherry, is an erect, branching shrub, 2-3 m tall, which flowers profusely in April-May. It has bronze-green leaves, purplish-red buds and semi-double, deep pink flowers. ‘Pendula’, a weeping variety, flowers profusely but briefly in April with countless, small, single, pale pink flowers; ‘Autumnalis’ flowers in November-December.

P. tcnella (syn. P. nana), dwarf almond, is a deciduous, low-growing, graceful shrub, 1-1.5 m tall, which forms many suckers. It flowers in April and has silvery-grey shoots which turn a light brownish-grey, short-stemmed, lanceolate, shiny, dark green, bristly-toothed leaves up to 7 cm long, and clusters of 1-3 pinkish-red flowers along the entire length of the branches (it attracts insects). It has felted, hairy fruits; suitable for rockeries.

P. triloba, an almond tree, is a round shrub up to 2 m broad which flowers in March-April. It has three-lobed leaves, and double, rose-like, pink flowers along the whole length of the shoots. Prune back hard immediately after flowering (or they will not flower profusely in the following year) to retain the shape of the shrub. Requires a sunny spot in nutritious soil, rich in humus and with some lime; prune only if necessary. Propagate from seed and summer cuttings.

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