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Flowering almond is a deciduous shrub famous for producing profuse pink flowers in the spring. It is a member of the Prunus genus, the same genus that contains almonds, peaches, and many other relatives, explaining the name; this plant does not actually produce edible drupes. Flowering almonds are grown as ornamental plants in many regions and are readily available through nurseries and catalogs, although some catalogs limit delivery schedules to ensure plants are transported during the cool season, when they are less likely to be damaged.
This shrub tends to be rather delicate, producing long, trailing stems with simple green leaves. The leaves are lost in the fall. The flowers appear in twinned pairs and are pink with dense layers of petals. Pruning should be done after the shrubs flower, and can be used to shape and train the shrub, keeping it compact and orderly in the garden. No more than one third of a plant should be pruned in a given session, as pruning too much can cause shock.
Flowering almonds require rich, well-drained soil heavily worked with organic material. They like full to partial sun and can grow in shade in warm climates. The plants should be established in a sheltered area away from heavy winds, as the branches can be damaged in storms and it is possible for the plant to lose its flowers in heavy weather. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) zones four through nine are suitable for flowering almond cultivation, and some people have success outside these zones.
There are many uses for a flowering almond shrub in a landscaping scheme. These plants make excellent specimen plantings and can also be grown in massed and background plantings. People looking for colorful foundation plantings may be interested in flowering almond and the plants can also be trained to create hedges. While the flowering almond plants will stay low to the ground and are thus not well suited to privacy hedges, they can be used for ornamental hedges and borders.
These shrubs will last around 10 years with appropriate care. Older shrubs are more susceptible to disease and storm damage due to their age and can also develop a leggy appearance, even with patient pruning. Gardeners with older plants that do not appear to be thriving may want to consider removing them, allowing the soil to rest before adding organic material and peat for drainage and nutrition, and establishing new flowering almonds or other decorative plants, if they are interested in a change of garden scene.
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