Not all peach trees have the typical green foliage. There are actually peaches with reddish purple leaves that tend to be on the smaller side, thus more easily harvested. These dwarf purple leaf peach trees add pizzazz to any landscape with the added bonus of fruit. If you’re interested in growing a purple leaf peach, read on to find out about purple leaf peach care.
What are Red or Purple Leaf Peach Trees?
There are several peach (Prunus persica) varieties that sport reddish purple leaves. The most common and readily available is ‘Bonfire.’ Bonfire is a dwarf purple leaf peach tree that only grows to about 5 feet in height (1.5 meters) in 5 years and the same distance across, making it almost more of a shrub than a tree.
This cultivar is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and is tolerant of temperatures down to -10, possibly -20 F. (-23 to -29 C.). These particular peaches with reddish purple leaves are derived from the rootstock of ‘Royal Red Leaf,’ a taller red leaf variety.
As mentioned, the beauty of growing a dwarf purple leaf peach is the easy accessibility of harvest and its hardiness. Unfortunately, by all accounts, the fruit is rather flavorless eaten fresh, but it is edible and can be made into preserves or baked into pies.
Bonfire is also an excellent choice for those with smaller gardens or as a container grown tree. The beautiful lance-shaped leaves of Bonfire retain their color from spring to fall.
Caring for Purple Leaf Peach Trees
Caring for purple leaf peach trees is the same as that for peaches with green foliage. Like all peaches, Bonfire is susceptible to quite a number of insect pests and diseases.
Plant Bonfire peach trees in full sun in nutrient rich, well-draining soil with a pH of about 6.5 in the spring or fall. Mulch around the tree to help retain moisture and cool roots, taking care to keep the mulch away from the trunk.
Peach trees, in general, are fairly high maintenance requiring watering, pruning, consistent feeding and spraying for pests and disease. Purple leaf peach care is much the same, albeit easier to access and treat, prune or harvest due to its smaller height.