From Seed to Fruit: A Guide to Growing Your Own Plum Tree

Plum trees are a beautiful addition to any garden or orchard. They not only provide shade and beauty, but they also produce delicious and nutritious fruits. Plum trees are known for their sweet and juicy fruits, which can be eaten fresh or used in a variety of culinary dishes. In addition to their tasty fruits, plum trees also offer several benefits for the environment. They provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, help to improve air quality, and can even help to prevent soil erosion.

Growing plum trees is a great idea for several reasons. First and foremost, it allows you to enjoy the delicious fruits that these trees produce. Whether you eat them fresh off the tree or use them in jams, jellies, pies, or other recipes, there is nothing quite like the taste of a freshly picked plum. Additionally, growing plum trees can be a rewarding and fulfilling hobby. It allows you to connect with nature and experience the joy of watching your trees grow and thrive. Finally, growing plum trees can also be a profitable venture. If you have enough space and the right conditions, you can sell the fruits or even start your own small-scale plum orchard.

Key Takeaways

  • Growing plum trees requires careful selection of the right variety, proper soil preparation, and regular watering and fertilization.
  • Choosing the right plum tree variety depends on factors such as climate, soil type, and desired fruit characteristics.
  • Soil preparation involves testing the soil pH, adding organic matter, and ensuring proper drainage.
  • Planting plum trees involves digging a hole, placing the tree in the hole, and backfilling with soil.
  • Pruning plum trees involves removing dead or diseased branches, shaping the tree, and promoting fruit production.

Choosing the Right Plum Tree Variety

When it comes to choosing a plum tree variety, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, you need to consider your climate and growing conditions. Plum trees thrive in temperate climates with cold winters and hot summers. They require a certain number of chilling hours in order to set fruit properly. Therefore, it is important to choose a variety that is well-suited to your specific climate.

Another factor to consider when choosing a plum tree variety is the type of fruit you prefer. There are several different types of plums, including European plums, Japanese plums, and American plums. European plums are typically smaller and have a tart flavor, while Japanese plums are larger and have a sweeter taste. American plums are smaller and have a more tart flavor. Consider your personal preferences and what you plan to use the fruits for when choosing a variety.

Some popular plum tree varieties include ‘Santa Rosa’, ‘Methley’, ‘Stanley’, and ‘Shiro’. ‘Santa Rosa’ is a popular Japanese plum variety that produces large, sweet fruits. ‘Methley’ is another Japanese plum variety that is known for its early ripening and sweet flavor. ‘Stanley’ is a European plum variety that is commonly used for canning and baking due to its firm flesh. ‘Shiro’ is a Japanese plum variety that produces large, yellow fruits with a sweet flavor.

Preparing the Soil for Planting

Before planting your plum trees, it is important to prepare the soil properly. Plum trees prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. They also require a slightly acidic soil pH, ideally between 5.5 and 6.5. To determine the pH of your soil, you can purchase a soil testing kit from your local garden center or send a sample to a soil testing laboratory.

If your soil pH is too high, you can lower it by adding sulfur or peat moss to the soil. If your soil pH is too low, you can raise it by adding lime or wood ash. It is important to follow the instructions on the product packaging when amending your soil pH, as adding too much of these materials can harm your plants.

In addition to adjusting the pH, you may also need to amend your soil with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. This will help to improve the soil structure and fertility, providing your plum trees with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Spread a layer of compost or manure over the planting area and mix it into the top few inches of soil.

Planting Plum Trees: Step-by-Step Guide

Step Description
1 Choose a planting location with well-draining soil and full sun exposure.
2 Dig a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the root ball of the plum tree.
3 Remove the plum tree from its container and gently loosen the roots.
4 Place the plum tree in the center of the hole and backfill with soil, tamping down gently as you go.
5 Water the plum tree thoroughly and add a layer of mulch around the base to retain moisture.
6 Prune any damaged or diseased branches and shape the tree as desired.
7 Fertilize the plum tree in the spring and summer with a balanced fertilizer.
8 Harvest ripe plums in late summer or early fall.

The best time to plant plum trees is in the early spring, after the danger of frost has passed. Before planting, soak the roots of the tree in water for a few hours to ensure that they are well-hydrated. Dig a hole that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the roots of the tree. Place the tree in the hole, making sure that the bud union (the swollen area where the tree was grafted onto the rootstock) is level with or slightly above the soil surface.

Backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the roots to eliminate any air pockets. Water the tree thoroughly after planting to settle the soil and ensure good root-to-soil contact. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree to help conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Be sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunk to prevent rot.

To ensure successful planting, it is important to choose a location that receives full sun and has good air circulation. Plum trees require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day in order to produce fruit. They also need good air circulation to prevent diseases such as plum leaf curl. Avoid planting plum trees in low-lying areas or areas prone to frost pockets, as these conditions can increase the risk of frost damage.

Watering and Fertilizing Plum Trees

Proper watering is essential for the health and productivity of plum trees. Newly planted trees should be watered deeply once or twice a week for the first few months after planting. Once established, plum trees should be watered deeply every 7-10 days during dry periods. Watering should be done at ground level, rather than overhead, to prevent diseases such as brown rot.

In addition to regular watering, plum trees also benefit from regular fertilization. Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14, in early spring before new growth begins. Follow the instructions on the product packaging for the correct application rate. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive vegetative growth and reduced fruit production.

Pruning Plum Trees for Optimal Growth

Pruning is an important part of plum tree care. It helps to maintain the shape and size of the tree, improve air circulation, and promote fruit production. The best time to prune plum trees is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. Prune out any dead, damaged, or diseased branches, as well as any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other.

To promote fruit production, thin out the branches to allow more light and air to reach the center of the tree. Remove any water sprouts or suckers that are growing from the base of the tree. It is also important to remove any branches that are growing vertically or at a sharp angle, as these can become weak and prone to breaking under the weight of the fruit.

When pruning plum trees, it is important to use sharp, clean pruning tools to make clean cuts. Avoid pruning during wet weather, as this can increase the risk of disease transmission. After pruning, be sure to clean up and dispose of any pruned material to prevent the spread of diseases.

Protecting Plum Trees from Pests and Diseases

Plum trees are susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases. Some common pests that affect plum trees include aphids, plum curculio, and Japanese beetles. Aphids are small insects that feed on the sap of the tree, causing stunted growth and distorted leaves. Plum curculio is a type of weevil that lays its eggs in developing fruits, causing them to drop prematurely. Japanese beetles feed on the leaves and fruits of plum trees, causing defoliation and reduced fruit production.

To prevent and treat pest problems, it is important to practice good sanitation in the garden. Remove any fallen leaves or fruits from the ground, as these can harbor pests and diseases. Monitor your trees regularly for signs of pest activity, such as chewed leaves or damaged fruits. If you notice any pests, you can use organic insecticides or insecticidal soaps to control them.

Plum trees are also susceptible to several diseases, including brown rot, plum leaf curl, and bacterial canker. Brown rot is a fungal disease that causes the fruits to rot and become covered in a fuzzy brown mold. Plum leaf curl is a viral disease that causes the leaves to curl and become distorted. Bacterial canker is a bacterial disease that causes sunken lesions on the branches and trunk of the tree.

To prevent and treat disease problems, it is important to practice good cultural practices. Avoid over-watering, as this can create conditions favorable for disease development. Remove any infected plant material and dispose of it properly. If necessary, you can use fungicides or bactericides to control diseases. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product packaging for the correct application rate and timing.

Harvesting Plum Trees: When and How to Pick

Plum fruits are typically ready for harvest in late summer or early fall, depending on the variety and growing conditions. The best way to determine if a plum is ripe is by its color and firmness. Ripe plums should have a deep, rich color and should yield slightly when gently pressed with your thumb.

To pick plums, hold the fruit gently in your hand and twist it slightly until it separates from the tree. Be careful not to pull or tug on the fruit, as this can damage the branch or stem. Place the harvested plums in a shallow container or basket to prevent bruising.

Storing and Using Plum Fruits

Plum fruits can be stored for a short period of time if handled properly. Store ripe plums in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you have a large harvest, you can also freeze the fruits for later use. Simply wash and pit the plums, then place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Once frozen, transfer the plums to a freezer bag or container and store in the freezer for up to six months.

Plum fruits are delicious on their own, but they can also be used in a variety of culinary dishes. They can be used to make jams, jellies, pies, tarts, cobblers, and other desserts. They can also be used in savory dishes such as salads, salsas, and sauces. Get creative and experiment with different recipes to make the most of your plum harvest.

Troubleshooting Common Plum Tree Problems

Despite your best efforts, plum trees may still encounter some problems. Some common problems that plum trees face include lack of fruit production, fruit drop, and leaf discoloration. Lack of fruit production can be caused by several factors, including improper pollination, lack of chilling hours, or nutrient deficiencies. Fruit drop can be caused by pests or diseases, as well as environmental factors such as drought or excessive heat. Leaf discoloration can be caused by nutrient deficiencies, pests, diseases, or environmental stress.

To troubleshoot these problems, it is important to identify the underlying cause. If your plum tree is not producing fruit, check to see if there are any pollinators present in your garden. If not, you may need to plant another plum tree or a compatible pollinator nearby. If your plum tree is dropping fruit prematurely, check for signs of pests or diseases and take appropriate action. If your plum tree has discolored leaves, have your soil tested to determine if there are any nutrient deficiencies. You can then amend the soil accordingly or apply a foliar spray to correct the problem.


Growing plum trees can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. From choosing the right variety to harvesting and using the fruits, there are many steps involved in successfully growing plum trees. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that your plum trees thrive and produce an abundant harvest of delicious fruits. So why wait? Start growing plum trees today and enjoy the beauty and bounty they bring to your garden or orchard.

If you’re interested in learning how to grow a plum tree from the seed, you’ll find a wealth of information on Lawn World’s website. They have a comprehensive guide that walks you through the entire process, from selecting the right plum variety to nurturing the seedling into a healthy tree. For more gardening tips and resources, check out Lawn World’s sitemap.


What is a plum tree?

A plum tree is a fruit-bearing tree that belongs to the genus Prunus and is native to Asia.

Can you grow a plum tree from a seed?

Yes, you can grow a plum tree from a seed.

What is the best time to plant a plum seed?

The best time to plant a plum seed is in the fall or early winter when the tree is dormant.

How do you prepare a plum seed for planting?

To prepare a plum seed for planting, you need to remove the flesh from the seed and then dry it out for a few days.

What type of soil is best for growing a plum tree?

Plum trees grow best in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

How much sunlight does a plum tree need?

Plum trees need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to grow and produce fruit.

How often should you water a plum tree?

You should water a plum tree deeply once a week, especially during the first year of growth.

How long does it take for a plum tree to bear fruit?

It can take a plum tree anywhere from three to six years to bear fruit, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

How do you care for a plum tree?

To care for a plum tree, you need to prune it regularly, fertilize it once a year, and protect it from pests and diseases.