Thundercloud Plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Thundercloud’)

Thundercloud Plum

  • Outstanding Foliage
  • Beautiful Spring Blooms
  • Fast Growing
  • Highly Decorative
  • Birds Love the Fruit

Looking for a wonderful tree that will deliver long-lasting color to your garden over three seasons? Thundercloud Plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Thundercloud’) is one of the top accent trees planted in the country.

With a neat, tidy, rounded form and very pretty ornamental features, this mid-sized, deciduous tree is a delight from spring through fall. The upright spreading branch structure is well shaped, and the tree is well known for its broad, spreading canopy. The light bark is textured for added interest.

When it wakes up from its winter sleep, Thundercloud Plum bursts out with a billow of light pink and white blossoms, reminiscent of a cherry tree in full bloom. This flowering Plum variety really provides a spectacular display against the silvery gray branches.

People will slow down to gaze in amazement as they drive past this tree. What a welcome sign of spring!

But the real show starts soon after the flowers bloom. We think the real genius of the Thundercloud is in the purple leaved foliage. It makes such a bold statement. The ruby red and purple color foliage retains its appeal throughout the season until fall.

Now, this is an ornamental plum, so fruit isn’t the main draw here. Even so, it will sometimes bear small edible fruits for you in the summer. They are edible, and quite often the fruit is used to make jams, jellies and preserves. However, if you can’t be bothered, simply leaves them on the tree. Your local songbirds will visit to help you enjoy them!

How to Use Thundercloud Plum in the Landscape

You’ll definitely want to let the glistening deep plum ruby reddish-purple foliage take center stage in a garden bed. This tree is truly a prima donna, let her shine!

With its fast growth rate, it fills these roles in a short amount of time.

This tree is a perfect featured lawn tree.

They look great framing your house when selected for a landscape accent tree.

With its low height and wide spreading canopy, it makes it a great screen tree to block an unwanted view as well as an accent tree for a naturalized spot in the garden. Incorporate them into a planting bed or raised berm planting. Plant 3, 5 or 7 to make a naturalized grouping, or use them along a property line as a lovely screen tree.

At the edge of a property, their deep, delicious leaves draw your eye. This color pushes back the sense of visual space, making your yard look larger.

Include comfy seating nearby. You’ll cherish the opportunity to study the blossoms in spring and the lovely color that lasts throughout the growing seasons.

Tips for Care

Thundercloud Plum grows fast and is a true low maintenance tree. It is very hardy and will thrive just about anywhere. For the best purple leaf color, plant it in full sun – the leaves will be a chartreuse green if planted in too much shade.

Plant in full sun in well-draining, slightly acidic soil. Elevate or mound your planting if drainage is a concern. This will ensure a quick adjustment to the Thundercloud’s new location.

The tree is moderately drought tolerant once established. For best performance in the hottest climate Growing Zones, it loves a good layer of mulch. Spread a thick layer of Pine bark or “pathbark” mulch all around the base of the tree, but be sure to leave space around the trunk. Mulching in all areas helps the Thundercloud grow healthier.

You won’t need to prune the Thundercloud Flowering Plum other than light cleanup. It’s best to prune right after flowering in the spring. Consider spraying with Bonide Fruit and Nut RTU Hose End just after bloom to keep your tree in tip-top shape for the summer.

Planting Tips

Plant your tree at the same depth it grew in. Keep the soil lines even with your planting hole. Too deep hurts this plant, as it needs well drained soils.

To your backfill soil removed from the planting hole, add Dr. Earths Acid Lovers Organic and Natural Planting Mix in a ration of 2 to 1. Use Nature Hills Root Booster under the root system for the best results to get your Thundercloud off to a good start.

Watch your watering in the first year to ensure that the tree is getting the right amount of water. Always check with your finger to the knuckle just before you are ready to water to see how wet the soil is. If it is moist, delay your watering a day or two.

In hotter climates, always be aware of mid-summer heat spikes and apply a little more water when they occur.

Thundercloud Plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Thundercloud’) Details

Common name Thundercloud Plum
Botanical name Prunus cerasifera 'Thundercloud'
Hardiness zone 4-9
Growth rate Fast, Medium
Height 15 - 20 ft.
Width 15 - 20 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun
Soil condition Widely adaptable
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Flower color Pink
Leaf color Purple