In the hunt to find trees suitable for small gardens, we often overlook the benefits of planting fruit. Not only do you get the benefit of beautiful spring blossoms, but in most years you’ll also get a decent crop to eat. Some fruit trees also have attractive autumn colours to their foliage and their flowers are much loved by insects in the spring.
‘Cot ‘n’ Candy’ makes a smallish, but spreading tree with chunky, reddish-black branches that are clothed with pale pink blossoms in March. The green apricot-like foliage casts a pleasant dappled shade in summer, making it a good tree to grow to the side of a patio. And in autumn the leaves turn a rich, deep purple colour before they drop.
What are apriums and plucots
These undeniably ornamental attributes are enough to earn it a place in the garden, but it is the fruit that it should really be grown for. Prunus ‘Cot ‘n’ Candy’ is one of a number of hybrids between a plum and apricot, known as ‘plucots’ or ‘apriums’. Genetically owing more to the apricot, the red-flushed, orange fruit are lightly downed, but with gentle sheen inheirited from the plum. And the latter also contributes a sweetness of taste and juiciness to the obvious apricot flavour and texture. I think they are best enjoyed after they have been left to ripen fully on the branches until early September, but they then rarely make it indoors into the kitchen.
This variety is well suited to growing in the UK, but the early flowering season means that they benefit from a south- or west- facing position so the blossoms don’t get morning sun after a hard frost. In cold areas they can be trained out as a fan on a sunny wall for extra shelter for good pollination by early bees and other winged insects.
HEIGHT: 2.7m (9ft.)
SPREAD: 2.4m (8ft.)
SOIL: Clay, loam or chalky soils (except rvery thin chalk or limestone), moderately acidic, neutral or alkaline soils. Moisture-retentive, but free-drained.
ASPECT: Full sun for at least half the day. Best in a west-, southwest-, or south-facing location.
HARDINESS: Hardy down to at least -10C though temperatures below -5C for prolonged periods will damage blossom.
Click on Height, Spread, Soil, Aspect or Hardiness for general information about these terms