• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Prunus spinosa



© RHS 2002

  • Other common names blackthorn

    sloe plum

    see more
  • Family Rosaceae

  • Genus Prunus can be deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs with showy flowers in spring, and often good autumn foliage colour. Some have edible fruit in autumn, and a few species have ornamental bark

  • Details P. spinosa is a small thorny deciduous tree with dark green, ovate leaves, and small white flowers in early spring, followed by ovoid, bloomy black fruits 1.5cm across

  • Plant range Eur. to Russia Med.


  • Foliage Deciduous

  • Habit Bushy

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)




  • Full Sun

  • Aspect South-facing or North-facing or West-facing or East-facing

  • Exposure Exposed or Sheltered


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • MoistureMoist but well-drained

  • SoilChalk, Clay, Sand, Loam

  • pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral


  • Ultimate height 2.5-4 metres

  • Ultimate spread 2.5-4 metres

  • Time to ultimate height 20-50 years

How to grow

Cultivation Easy to grow native shrub or small tree, that can be used for hedging. Grows in any moist well-drained soil in full sun

Propagation Propagate by softwood cuttings in early summer with bottom heat or propagate by seed

Suggested planting locations and garden types Low Maintenance Wildflower meadow Wildlife Gardens Coastal

How to care

Pruning Pruning group 1. Prune in mid-summer if silver leaf is a problem

Pests Susceptible to damage from aphids, caterpillars and bullfinches

Diseases May be subject to silver leaf and blossom wilt

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