Chinese Sweet Plum
Chinese Bird Plum
Sageretias are tender shrubs with small green leaves and leathery exfoliating bark that leaves a multicolored patchwork. In summer tiny flowers appear in the leaf axils of new shoots and produce large clusters of white followed by small blue stone fruit.
Sageretias are evergreen in milder climates but become deciduous in temperate zones when exposed to the cold of winter. Sageretia are very rarely seen for sale in Garden Centers. Chinese sweet plum has a tendency to climb and is difficult to control as an ornamental plant. There was one growing in Daffin Park, but it was removed a few years ago. Branches have spines, sharp thorn tips.
Chinese sweet plum is widely used for creating bonsai and is often sold as a bonsai for indoors. Sageretia theezans shoots from old wood and is trained using the “Clip and Grow" technique. Many bonsai Chinese sweet plum are imported from China where they are field grown. Sageretias are tender shrubs and will survive temperatures just below freezing but will drop all leaves. They must be protected from hard freezes where the roots could freeze. Sageretia are considered to be a cool house bonsai. If kept indoors, Sageretias need a position that is reasonably humid and should be cool at night as in an unheated room. Keep the soil slightly moist, never let dry completely.
In Savannah the Sageretia can be grown outdoors all year round with some protection on the few nights that dip below 25 F. Small flowers and fruit will develop if the tree is left unpruned.