How to Grow Plums – A Beginner’s Guide

plums plant growing in garden
Plums, which are known botanically as Prunus spp., are a type of fruit that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing plums as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Plums

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the plum seeds in late fall or early spring, using bare-root or container-grown trees. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when plums are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Plums the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing plums in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your plums grow. Generally, your soil should be well-drained and fertile. Soil PH levels should be around 5.5 to 6.5.

12-20 feet apart in rows 15-20 feet apart, depending on the rootstock. 10-20 feet apart in rows 12-20 feet apart, depending on the rootstock. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 24-36″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your plum seedlings 10-20 feet apart when trees are 1-2 years old, depending on the rootstock.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Plums

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your plums. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your plums should be getting full sun, which means as much sunlight as you can possibly give it, or at least 6 hours or more.

How Much to Water Plums

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your plums do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your plums begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Plums to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your plums grow.

It takes approximately trees do not need to germinate to germinate, and a total of 3-6 years for fruit production from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Plums

The best time to harvest your plums is when plums are fully colored, slightly soft to the touch, and separate easily from the tree.

Plums can grow up to about varies by variety, typically 1-3″ diameter fruit.

What Can Plums Be Used For?

Food Use: great for snacking, baking, and preserves.

Flavor Profile: varies by variety, from sweet to tart and soft to firm.

Can Plums Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you can plant dwarf varieties in 18-24″ containers. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your plums around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Plums Safe for Bees?

Yes, plums are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing plums is bee-friendly.

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