There’s not much out in the garden that can beat the winter blues like Prunus mume ’Peggy Clarke’, also known as the Japanese flowering apricot tree. When it’s too cold for much else to bloom, this small tree bravely sends out its blossoms on bare limbs in mid to late winter, providing the kind of showy display that most plants set aside for spring. It’s an amazing sight in the dead of winter.
‘Peggy Clarke’ is a double-flowering cultivar with fragrant rose-pink petals. The flowers tolerate most freezing conditions without damage and it remains in bloom for several weeks. These fast-growing small trees can reach a height of 15-25 feet with an equal spread. Its small size fits in well within a border setting, or it can be used as a stand-alone specimen. Its delightful fragrance will draw you closer to the tree, so plant one by your house or walkway for utmost enjoyment.
The small size of ‘Peggy Clarke’ fits in well within a border setting, or it can be used as a stand alone specimen.
Common Name: Japanese apricot
Botanical Name: Prunus mume
Varieties/Cultivars to Look For: ‘Peggy Clarke’
Color: Rose-pink flowers
Blooming Period: Winter to very early spring
Type: Deciduous woody perennial
Size: 15 to 25 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide
Exposure: Sun to partial shade
When to Plant: Spring or fall
Soil: Moist but well-drained soil
Watering: Water regularly at first planting then as needed once established; do not overwater.
When to Prune: Not necessary except to remove dead or diseased wood.
When to Fertilize: Fertilize lightly in spring with a balanced fertilizer.
In Your Landscape: Its small size fits in well within a border setting, or it can be used as a stand-alone specimen. Also works well when planted near a walkway or entrance.
A version of this article appeared in print in Virginia Gardener Volume X Issue I. Photos courtesy of Alan Pulley.