Prunus spinosa – Blackthorn or Sloe plant
A very interesting plant with two main uses, firstly Prunus spinosa is used as a hedge plant. It is a deciduous but dense shrub with thorny branches, make a great barrier. Secondly we have the berries which are used to make Sloe Gin, a bit of a traditional drink in the UK countryside.
Reaching around 3 – 5 m in height the Sloe or Blackthorn flowers in spring and the berries that form after the flowers are ready for picking in late summer to autumn. On first taste these berries are a little sour, however they are not only used to infuse gin and brandy, but also for making jellies, jams and the like.
The flowers in spring appear in masses covering the whole plant like a cloud of snow before the foliage appears. In Australia, Prunus spinosa is best grown in cooler climates as the fruit is a little sweeter if picked just after a cold spell or frost. One of the few plants that perfumes better (fruit wise) in frost prone climates)
This is a tough hardy plant that requires little care. Perhaps best suited to a hedgerow at the side of a rural road, but also grown in the garden, particularly by those who use the berries.
Not particular about soil except the need for good drainage this is aslant that can be pruned back in winter to retain a more compact growth habit.
In dense shade the plant will not perform well, so some sunshine please.
Prunus spinosa is available for sale from the following growers
'Justly famous for rare and unusual plants' Don Teese
34 Mt Pleasant Rd Monbulk VIC 3793
412 James Lane, Fern Hill VIC. 3458 - Phone 0419002651
Large range of Rare plants, Climbers, Bulbs, Perennials Fruit Trees, Ornamental Trees and Shrubs. Available both Retail and by Mail Order