Beni-chidori (or Beni-shidare) is a flowering ornamental Japanese apricot, and has become quietly popular on account of its very early blossom, appearing in February or early March (or even earlier in mild winters), when there is not much other colour around.
The deep pink single flowers are borne in profusion and contrast elegantly with the bare branches - the blossom appears well ahead of the leaves, and is notably long-lasting (3-4 weeks). It is a great choice for bringing some intense colour to the garden towards the end of winter.
The flowers have a pleasant almond-like scent too.
In warm climates the tree will produce small yellow fruitlets in late summer, but this is very unlikely in the UK. The fruits are not particularly palatable, but are valued in China and Japan for making preserves and alcoholic drinks.
The leaves turn apricot orange in the autumn.
Although usually grown in the UK as small specimen trees, Japanese apricots have a naturally "shrubby" habit and can also be trained into low hedges. Left to its own devices it will often revert to a multi-stemmed bush.
Beni-chidori flowering apricot trees for sale
In a 11.5L pot
Very small size (< 1.5m after 10 years)
In a 12L pot
Medium size (2.5m-3.5m after 10 years)
Deliveries from September for pot grown and December for bare-rooted (where items shown in stock).
How to grow
Once the tree is more than 3-4 years old Beni-chidori benefits from regular annual pruning in spring - after the blossom has finished.
Beni-chidori remains a small tree (particularly if pruned), and is a good choice for a large patio container - our top-worked forms are ideal for this purpose.
Alternatively plant it out in the garden, allowing 2m-3m height and spread. It is tolerant of most soils.
Because it flowers so early, frost damage of the blossom is always a risk, so for best results try to plant in a sheltered south-facing spot and avoid frost pockets.
Despite its name, the Japanese apricot Prunus mume is native to China and Korea as well. The species is often much longer-lived than other flowering cherries.
Many hundreds of varieties of ornamental apricots are known in China and Japan. The variety we supply, Beni-chidori, is also known as Beni-shidare.
- AwardsRHS Award of Garden Merit
- Gardening skillBeginner
- Attractive featuresAttractive flowersScented flowers
- Growth habitUpright-spreading
- Height after 10 years1.5m-2.5m / 5ft-8ft
- Flower colourPink - dark
- Flowering seasonEarly
- Flowering monthFebruary
- Flower formSingle flower (5-8 petals)
- Leaf colour - autumnOrange / Gold
- Leaf colour - summerGreen
- PruningPrune after flowering
- Growth rateAverage
- Country of originChinaJapan
- Annual cycleDeciduous
- WildlifeRHS perfect for pollinators
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