Types of Plum Trees

With more than 200 types of plum trees, it's easy to find one that will fit your needs. The two main types of plum trees grown for fruit are European (prunus domestica) and Japanese (prunus salicina). While European plum trees produce sweeter fruit, Japanese plum trees produce fruit that is larger and matures earlier.

Types Of Plum Trees For Your Yard

Most plum trees require cross pollination to set adequate crops of fruit, which means you'll need to plant two different varieties of trees. Your local garden center or agricultural extension can advise you on which types of plum trees grow best in your area. Here are some of the many varieties to choose from:

  • Burbank (Prunus salicina) zones 5 to 9 - This classic variety matures into a semi-dwarf tree that reaches a height of 12' to 15'. The sweet, red and yellow fruit has deep yellow flesh that partially separates from the pit at maturity. Burbank plum trees require a pollinating tree from the Japanese varieties.
  • Santa Rosa (Prunus salicina) zones 5 to 9 - One of the most popular Japanese plum varieties, Santa Rosa is self-pollinating and can reach 25' at maturity. The large, purple-reddish fruit has sweet amber to red colored flesh. Santa Rosa plum trees generally produce fruit in three to five years.
  • Elephant Heart (Prunus salicina) zones 5 to 8 - Another Luther Burbank produced variety, the Elephant Heart is a semi-dwarf plum tree, reaching a height of 12' to 15'. The large, heart shaped fruit starts bronze green, turning reddish purple when fully ripe. The blood red flesh has a distinctive flavor. Elephant Heart plum trees require a pollinating tree from the Japanese varieties.
  • Methley (Prunus domestica) zones 4 to 9 - This plum tree is an early season producer that reaches 25' at maturity. The fragrant blooms that attract bees and butterflies soon give way to sweet fruit that has purple skin and blood red flesh. Methley is a vigorous grower that produces and attractive plant.
  • Green Gage (Prunus domestica) zones 4 to 8 - A unique variety, the Green Gage matures at 15' to 20' is a self-pollinating late bloomer, whose fruit matures in September. The Green Gage produces lime green fruit with greenish yellow flesh. Green Gage plums are perfect for eating, cooking and preserving.
  • President (Prunus domestica) zones 5 to 8 - One of the latest plum trees to ripen, the President is a semi-dwarf tree, reaching 12' to 15' as it matures. President plum trees produce large fruit that is dark purple with a golden, fine-textured flesh. President plum trees require a pollinating tree from the European varieties.
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