The Weeping Purple Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea Pendula’) is an ornamental deciduous tree known for its dense foliage and distinctive growth habit. It is a cultivar of the European Beech, otherwise known as the Common Beech. The Weeping Purple Beech is commonly planted in yards as an accent specimen. It is rated to USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 7.
The Weeping Purple Beech is a slow-growing tree with a weeping growth habit that forms an amorphous mound shape. It is possible to train this Beech to take a standard tree form, however. Its two- to four-inch leaves are purple through the spring and summer, changing to an attractive copper color in the autumn before falling away. Its uncommon growth habit provides some ornamental interest through the winter months. Its small spring flowers are somewhat inconspicuous.
Typically, the Weeping Purple Beech reaches to 15 feet in height and 15 feet in width at maturity. However, it has been known to grow much taller. Under good conditions, it can live to 100 years of age and beyond.
The Weeping Purple Beech is often available as a seedling from nurseries and garden centers. Seedlings should be planted during the dormant winter season. Select a site with no risk of soggy conditions. The tree prefers an acidic soil, but is otherwise adaptable. It is well-suited to full sun, but can tolerate partial shade environments. During especially hot, dry periods, the tree can be susceptible to leaf scorch, however.
The Weeping Purple Beech responds well to regular watering in the heat of summer. It has few problems with common pests or diseases. This tree typically requires a little maintenance pruning. In winter, remove crossing and rubbing branches and trim branch ends just above ground level, if necessary. Many also choose to remove upward growing branches from the tree’s crown, but this is for effect rather than tree health.