Plum Trees

Plum trees are one of the easiest stone fruit trees to grow, versatile and coming in a huge number of varieties you can choose white, yellow or red flesh as well as plum trees that suited to eating, drying or cooking.

Some varieties are self pollinating others are not so be a little careful when selecting.

In general, the European plum trees are late to ripen and as such have a higher sugar content, Asian varieties are early ripeners.

If you were going to choose one, easy to grow plum tree the Damson would probably be it, self pollinating and hardy. Santa Rosa is a Japanese variety, also self pollinating, large fruit with yellow flesh.

Italian Prune, Stanley prune and ‘Sugar Prune’ are all late ripening and excellent for both jams and drying


Generally plum trees are suited to USDA Zones 4 – 9.

Once you get them through the first winter, plum trees are fairly easy to grow. In cooler climates a south facing position is best.

Plum trees are fairly shallow rooted, so do not cultivate beneath them or underplant. Doing this can cause suckering. Mulch beneath the trees to the drip line to maintain a cool root run and suppress weeds.

General Care Notes

  • Full Sun
  • Good drainage
  • Frost free position
  • Good moisture through the spring and summer.
  • Choose the right variety for you climate.
  • Sometimes plum trees, over produce, if you are looking a masses of young fruit it can be best to thin a little. We have seen trees so laden with fruit that the branches actually break under the weight. You will get better quality fruit and a healthier tree.
  • Both grafted and seedling trees are available. Grafted varieties will set fruit sooner than seedling types.

Plum Tree Varieties

Originally the two types could be identified as European Plum Trees and the Japanese and Blood Plums. Today we have many hybrids.

  • Damson Plum. – Seen as the best plums for cooking and making sauces.
  • Mariposa – Perhaps one of the best known and widely grown blood plums. It is available on dwarfing rootstock.
  • Satsuma – This would be THE best known of the blood plums. Reliable mid season, self fertile and relatively easy to grow.
  • Angelina – Wonderful for eating, sweet and also used for making liqueur.
  • Green Gage – Sweet with lots of flavour, for some the best eating plum of all.
  • Zwetschge – Used for making liqueur.
  • Jefferson – Juicy yellow fruit, self fertile
  • Santa Rosa Plum. – Purple skins with yellow flesh, very easy to grow and a great pollinator for other plum trees.

Other include :

  • Earliblue Prune-Plum.
  • Methley Plum.
  • Ozark Premier Plum.
  • Plum Dandy.
  • Plumcot-Aprium.
  • Redheart Plum.
  • Shiro Plum.
  • Spring Satin Plumcot.
  • Stanley Prune-Plum.
  • Waneta Plum.

Best PlumTrees for Home Gardens

This will depend on what you are wanting the plums for. However in most cases look for the dwarf varieties which are grafted.

For out purposes these are the best –

  • For eating – Green Gage.
  • For cooking Damson.
  • For liqueur Zwetschge.

Plum Tree are available for sale from the following specialist nurseries.

STARK Bro’s NURSERIES& ORCHARDS Co – phone: 1-800-325-4180 fax: 573-754-8880
PO Box 1800 Louisiana MO 63353
191 year old, family-owned nursery. Originators of Red and Golden Delicious apples. Full line of fruit, Apricots, Berries, Cherries, Nectarines, Pears, Grapes, Nuts, shade and flowering trees, shrubs roses and small fruits.
Includes: Colossal Chestnut