Monday, March 1, 2010

Japanese Apricot Blooms in Winter

Japanese apricot (Prunus mume) is a beautiful reminder that the worst of winter may be behind us. On days barely above freezing, the light pink fragrant blossoms open, rarely in great numbers. Cold nights freeze the blossoms but other buds will open during the next warmup.

Japanese apricot is cold hardy in garden zones 5 thru 7. It is a small 10-12 foot tree, rarely bearing fruit. Plant in a full sun area of the garden, near decks and patios where you can visually enjoy the winter bloom from inside your warm home. The tree is likely to coax you outside.

Japanese apricot does not prosper in hot or dry locations. Plant in a moist, well-drained soil, mulch when needed, and prune to maintain an open branched tree. Over a dozen cultivars are available in white, pink, or red tones and single, semi-double or double blossoms.

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