Although its name may conjure thoughts of a delicious apricot, Japanese apricots are grown for their ornamental beauty rather than their fruit. The tree’s short stature also makes it a great addition to many home landscapes. To understand more about Japanese apricot trees, continue reading.
What is Japanese apricot?
Japanese apricot trees are ornamental trees with many characteristics. They are native to Korea and are known by the scientific name Prunus mume. Varieties of this tree include:
- “Peggy Clark”
They can be 12 to 20 feet (4-6 m) high and 15 to 20 feet (4.5-6 m) wide. Japanese apricot trees have a rounded crown of leaves with serrated margins, alternate arrangement, and are 2 to 4 inches (5–10 cm) long. Its most distinctive ornamental feature, however, is the fragrant winter-blooming flowers that come in a wide variety of colors.
This ornamental fruit tree, also known as Japanese flowering apricot, bears highly fragrant white, pink, or red flowers—like sweet, spicy cloves. The fruit, which resembles an apricot and has a diameter of 1 to 3 inches (2.5-8 cm) and is spherical and golden, draws birds. Although it is edible, it is sour and has a tender flesh, but is considered a pickled fruit in Asia.
Although it is native to Asia, Japanese apricot trees are hardy in Zones 6 through 8 in the United States. They provide aesthetics in parking lots and intermediate strips on highways as well as in home landscaping.
How to Grow Japanese Apricot
There are different ways to grow Japanese apricot trees, the most common being seeds and grafting.
Ripe apricot seeds can be propagated. Seed stratification involves placing them in a mixture of sand and peat moss in the refrigerator for three months.They can be seeded outdoors in the spring following seed stratification.
Grafting with a tee or chip bud is another option to consider when planting these trees.
Japanese Apricot Tree Care
Japanese apricot tree care is very important to the growth of the tree. Trees grow best in well-drained, fertile, acidic soil with added organic matter. Care also includes planting in full sun. If grown in the shade, it can hinder its flowering.
Pruning Japanese apricot trees also helps increase blooms.
Knowing and preventing insect infestations on Japanese apricots is one way to encourage healthy trees. Aphids cause new growth to stop. Diggers attack strong trees. Fertilize regularly to prevent infestation. In tents, caterpillars build large webs in trees and then eat leaves.