Grow a Sand Cherry Shrub for Spring Pollinators

Attract your favorite pollinators in spring, feed birds in summer, and enjoy fall color with a gorgeous sand cherry shrub.

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Jade Parade Sand Cherry shrubVia First Editions
Jade Parade sand cherry features dozens of tiny white flowers in spring.

Nothing is as satisfying and easy as a flowering shrub that attracts early spring pollinators—and a sand cherry shrub is the perfect plant for the job.

Gorgeous white or pink flowers are beacons to birds, butterflies, bees and more. Plus, sand cherry is low-maintenance and it has traits that will make any gardener happy outside of spring too.

Check out the top 10 small shrubs for small spaces.

How to Grow a Sand Cherry Shrub

Here’s what you need to know about sand cherry before planting.

  • Botanical name: Prunus pumila
  • Zones: 3 to 7
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • Soil: Well-draining

This shrub is very easy to maintain once it’s established. It just needs the right conditions. Consider growing it as a drought-tolerant ground cover shrub or low hedge. Either option will add structure to your landscape.

It tolerates full sun and occasionally dry soil. So if you skip a watering, you won’t be left with a wilted plant.

As a bonus, this plant is also a native that plays an important role in supporting beneficial insects.

See more easy-to-grow native plants.

Year-Round Backyard Benefits

Spring isn’t the only time that this plant is a standout. In summer, tiny cherries appear on the upward arching branches. The stems are also dotted with glossy green willow-shaped leaves.

In fall, sand cherry shrubs make another beautiful, fiery transition. The leaves take on a red-orange color. (Psst—we found the best fall shrubs to grow).

Once the leaves drop, the swooping branches form a very unique shape that looks great in winter.

Discover 6 perennial plants with year-round bird benefits.

Plant Sand Cherry for Wildlife

The nectar-rich blossoms in spring offer pollen and nectar for a variety of beneficial backyard visitors. The flowers feature five tiny petals and pretty yellow stamens.

Backyard birds that eat berries such as cedar waxwings and American robins love the small dark cherries in summer. When winter arrives the dense stems provide shelter for birds, too.

Where to Buy Sand Cherry Shrubs

jade parade sand cherryVia Naturehills.com
Jade parade

Jade Parade is a standout cultivar with a spring display that lasts for weeks and bluish-green leaves.

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pawnee buttes shrubVia Naturehills.com
Pawnee buttes

Pawnee Buttes works well in xeriscape gardens as well. It’s tough as nails and tolerates sandy soil.

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Kaitlin Stainbrook
Kaitlin Stainbrook has been writing about birding and gardening for nearly a decade. As the associate editor of Birds & Blooms magazine, she wrote and edited articles across a wide range of topics from houseplants to hummingbirds. She's worked closely with top birding and gardening experts and continues to learn everything she can about the natural world around us.