Prunus spinosa


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Key information

Plant type

Native shrub

Flower colour



Flowers, Fruit, Thorns



Skill level


Prunus spinosa

Plant details

Blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, is a native deciduous, spiny shrub used traditionally to make a natural, informal hedge. It provides interest throughout the year, bearing flowers in spring and spherical, purple berries (sloes) in autumn.

If left unclipped, Prunus spinosa eventually develops into a small freestanding tree. It's extremely valuable to wildlife: its leaves are used as a caterpillar foodplant for many species of moth, its spring flowers provide nectar and pollen for pollinators and its autumn berries feed birds and small mammals. What's more, when clipped as a hedge, the dense mass of thorny stems makes the perfect nesting habitat for birds.

Family: Roseaceae

Genus: Prunus

Species: spinosa

Plant type: Native shrub

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers, Fruit, Thorns

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 500cm

Spread: 400cm

Time to plant seeds: November to February

Time to prune: February to March

Time to plant: September to November, February to April

Flowering period: March to April

Reader reviews


I have a problem with my mixed natural hedge - 4th season. I am having problems with my blackthorns - not getting it with my hawthorns and other hedge. On the blackthorns on new growth the leaves are curling I have uncurled them and do not see signs of aphids. Last year didn't get many sloes but plenty on this years. Any idea what the problem is and how I can cure it. I sprayed last week with bug clear - Regards Ray


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