The Purple Fountain Beech is a unique and very special specimen tree for that special spot in your garden. It has a naturally upright single central trunk, and side branches that cascade down to the ground. It grows tall but slender, making it perfect for smaller spaces and small gardens. The foliage is deep burgundy-purple, and it holds its color from bud-break right into fall. Fall color is yellow to brown, and the leaves often stay on the tree after they die, right through most of the winter. Plant it as a lawn specimen, or around your home. In winter the branches are wonderful against the sky. For a very special tree that is very easy to grow, look no further than this.
- Spectacular cascading specimen tree
- Upright central trunk and weeping branches
- Dynamic purple-burgundy foliage all spring and summer
- Fits into small spaces and small gardens
- Easily grown and trouble-free
The Purple Fountain Beech grows well in zones 4 to 7, preferring moderate temperatures all year round. It will grow happily in any ordinary soil, as long as it is well-drained, and it has no significant pests or diseases to bother it. It needs no staking to grow perfectly upright, while those branches fall straight down, just like the fountain it is named after.
Beautiful trees are the heart and soul of any garden, but in many spaces full-sized trees simply don’t fit. Even in a larger garden there is a limit to how many you can grow. So smaller trees are always interesting, but many are just too short, and lacking in character. If you want a remarkable tree for your garden, that doesn’t take up much room, and you also love the grace and elegance of weeping trees, and the impact of colored foliage, then the Purple Fountain Beech is the tree for you. In a single tree you have wonderful rich purple foliage for a knock-out color punch, plus a veil of graceful cascading foliage, and all this on a tree that typically grows to about 25 feet tall and is just 10 feet wide.
Growing Purple Fountain Beech Trees
The Purple Fountain Beech is simply beautiful – there is almost nothing more to say. Once you see an established specimen it is love at first sight, and no wonder. This elegant tree grows with a single strong upright trunk, but the side branches arc outwards and down, cascading more and more as they grow, so that older branches fall many feet downwards to the ground. It really does make an effect exactly like a fountain, shooting up and then cascading downwards. Because of its single trunk it never grows very wide, and when young it will just be a few feet across. Even older trees are only 10 feet across, and a large, ancient specimen will be no more than 15 feet wide, yet by then it may be 30 feet tall – a magnificent sight that still fits into a small space. In winter you can enjoy the trunk, which is smooth and light gray like an elephant’s skin. The bare branches make a dramatic outline against the sky, twisting and curving as they fall.
From summer to fall the Purple Fountain Beech lives up to its name and is covered in rich purple-burgundy leaves. The leaves are oval, up to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, with a softly-serrated margin. They are slightly cupped, and the coloring is just spectacular. This bold color on an already wonderful tree really is the icing on the cake. The color is held all summer, especially in full sun and cooler areas, and in fall it slowly turns yellowish and then tan-brown. The leaves often stay on the try for a long time into the winter, possibly until spring, which makes for an interesting winter effect too.
Uses on Your Property
Obviously, such a special tree deserves a special place. Plant it beside your house, at least 5 feet from the foundations, or plant it as a specimen in an open lawn. Use it at the back of beds, so that the branches are set against the sky, to really show off that unique profile. It would also look dramatic in an Asian-themed garden, adding a touch of the exotic (even if not authentic to the Far East). Wherever you plant it, make sure you can watch it develop, and see its wonderful form without obstruction.
Planting and Initial Care
The Purple Fountain Beech grows well in zones 4 to 7, doing best in full sun, for maximum leaf color. Plants in shade may become more greenish. It will grow well in all kinds of soil, as long as they are well-drained, so that is unlikely to be an issue, wherever you garden. This tree has no significant pests or diseases, and it is long-lived, growing more and more beautiful every year. Remarkably, unlike most other weeping trees, it does not need staking to develop that central trunk – it happens completely naturally, although young trees may benefit from staking for a few years until they are 6 feet tall or so. After that, just let it go and it will go up and up. Should you see any green shoots arising from the base, remove them completely and immediately, to protect the purity of your tree.
History and Origins of the Purple Fountain Beech
The Purple Fountain Beech is a special form of the European Beech (Fagus sylvatica). This large forest tree has several different forms with purple foliage, but they are almost all large and wide-spreading, and they need a large garden to be appreciated. The variety called ‘Purple Fountain’ was found in the Netherlands, in the 1960s. It was a seedling of another, larger weeping purple beech, ‘Purpurea Pendula’, which was developed around 1865. With its smaller size, ‘Purple Fountain’ was immediately exciting to garden experts, and in 1975 the famous Royal Horticultural Society, in England, gave it the prestigious ‘Award of Garden Merit’ – a stamp of approval you can count on.
These trees need careful growing and development, and ours are produced by a specialized nursery experienced in their production. They are grown by attaching stem pieces from original trees to the roots of seedling beech trees for strength and vigor.