Fruiting Plum Trees for the Northwest
Swansons selects cherry tree varieties which perform well in our unique climate. This information sheet provides you with a list of varieties recommended and usually offered by Swansons. Varieties are subject to change, so please call for current availability. For more detailed information on any plum variety, please refer to individual plant signs or consult one of our nursery professionals.
CHOOSING THE PLANTS
Choose varieties from our recommended list according to flavor, use, and pollination requirements. In Western Washington plums
ripen from July to August depending on the variety and environmental conditions. Plum trees are grafted onto specific rootstocks, but none of them change the eventual height of the trees much. Essentially, all plum trees, regardless of the rootstock, grow to about 10-15 feet tall and wide.
Pollination of plums is mostly performed by bees. European type varieties are mostly self-fertile and do not require a separate pollen source. Japanese type plums require cross-pollination from a different variety. For varieties that do require a pollinator, it is necessary to
either plant two different and compatible kinds of plums close enough to each other to cross-pollinate, or to plant a plum tree that has multiple compatible varieties grafted on to the tree (called combo trees). See the following chart illustrating cross-pollination compatibility of the plum varieties we offer.
SWANSONS FAVORITE FRUITING PLUM TREE VARIETIES
EARLY ITALIAN PRUNE
A European freestone prune with a medium-sized, oval fruit. Deep-purple skin and greenish yellow, firm and sweet flesh. Great for fresh eating, cooking or drying. Ripens August to September. Reliable, heavy producer. It’s self-fertile, but larger fruit and yields with a pollinator. This yellow-blushed-red fruit is a Washington State favorite. Firm, fine-textured yellow flesh with a distinct flavor. Resists cracking and holds well on the tree after ripening. A heavy-producing crop can be thinned to produce larger fruit if desired.
A medium-sized, red-purple, freestone European plum with yellow flesh. Firm and sweet for fresh eating or drying. Ripens in August. Very productive. It’s moderately self-fertile, but better yields when pollenized by any other European plum variety.
Combo plums are trees that have had multiple varieties of plums grafted onto a main trunk. Therefore, they are trees that produce multiple varieties of plums on each tree.
Our combo plums are available either as a common growing upright tree, or already trained in an espalier style. Espalier is a training system that creates a flat growing tree that is perfect up against fences or walls.
Each combo plum has at least 4 of the following varieties (each variety is only available as part of the combo tree)
A Japanese red plum with amber flesh and good flavor. Ripens mid to late July. A consistent, heavy producer. Pollenized by any other Japanese plum variety on this list.
A very old European plum variety that is famous for its jams and jellies. The fruit has purple-black skin and green flesh, and the flavor is surprisingly tart. Pollenized by any other Japanese plum variety on this list.
An Italian type European prune with a very large, oval fruit. Blue-purple skin and greenish-yellow, firm and sweet flesh. Great for fresh eating, cooking or drying. Ripens early September. Bears well at a young age. Self-fertile.
A large, golden Japanese plum with yellow flesh. Heavy producer with excellent flavor. Pollenized by any other Japanese plum variety on this list.
A large, bright yellow European plum with yellow flesh. Soft and sweet for fresh eating or canning. Late August. Moderately self-fertile, but better yields when pollenized by any other European plum variety.