We all know that pollination is essential to plants, and plum trees are no exception. Pollination helps plum trees produce fruits and, thus, seeds that are important to creating another generation of plum trees. Without pollination, you won’t be able to have plum fruits for sweet desserts, jam, and pastries.
Most plum trees are cross-pollinating, which means they need another variety of plum trees to be able to produce fruit. This further suggests a vast garden space to accommodate multiple types. Wondering if there are plum trees self pollinating? This article will answer this question with examples of self pollinating plums (there are a few, jump to the bottom if you want a list).
Are plum trees self-pollinating?
Self-pollination means pollination of a flower by pollen from the same flower, another flower on the same plant, or the flower of another similar plant. On the other hand, cross-pollination means pollinating a flower by pollen from the flower of a different plant variety.
There are three main types of plum trees, namely European plum trees, Japanese plum trees, and native American plum trees. Most plum varieties in the US are European plum trees. Japanese plum trees thrive in regions with warm climates. Of all the varieties, American plum trees are the most pest and disease-resistant ones.
If you’re looking for plum tree varieties that can self-pollinate, go for European plum trees. Most European plums, such as Stanley and Blue Damson, are self-pollinating plum trees.
When you choose to plant these plum tree varieties, you can have plum fruits in the summer even if you just planted one plum tree. However, if you want a higher yield, you might want to consider planting more than one plum tree in your yard. Self-pollinating plum trees can save you space in your garden because they will bear fruit without you needing to plant another plum variety.
Examples of self-pollinating plums
Self-pollination is also possible with plum trees. Although most plum trees require cross-pollination to produce fruit, you can find plum tree varieties that are self-fertile. Most self-fertile plums are members of the European plum tree family, but you can also find Japanese plums that can self-pollinate. Here are some examples of self-pollinating plums and how to grow each of them in your yard.
Self-pollinating European Plum Trees
The Stanley plum tree grows in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8. Therefore, the lowest winter temperature that this tree can withstand is -20 degrees F. European plum trees may not be as hardy as American plum trees, but they can still withstand the cold in most states in the USA.
Stanley plum trees bear white flowers in the early spring, which will then turn into dark-purple plums in the autumn. This plum variety requires at least 6 hours of full sun a day, so choose a location where it can receive this much sunlight every day. The soil must be well-drained and free of rocks and weeds. The plum tree requires watering every week and pruning early in spring.
Although Damson plums taste sour, they make delicious jellies, jams, and sauces. Damson plum trees produce clusters of white flowers, which are a beautiful sight in April.
When August comes, these flowers will turn into dark purple-black fruits with firm green or golden yellow flesh. Damson plum trees are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 7. Just like the Stanley plum trees, they need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight every day.
The soil must be loamy and well-drained. During the first growing season, the young plant needs deep watering once every week. After that, you will only need to water it once the soil becomes dry.
3. Italian Prunes
The fruit of Italian prunes has a much higher sugar content, which makes them perfect for drying as prunes. But you can also eat the fruits fresh. Italian prune plums are small and about the size of a large berry. Inside the thin and smooth skin of the Italian prune plums is a soft greenish-yellow flesh that has a sweet flavor.
Italian prune plum trees are not only self-fertile but also winter hardy. They grow in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9. Choose a young Italian prune plum tree that has at least 4 to 5 well-spaced branches and a healthy root system. Plant this young tree early in spring in well-draining soil and a location that receives full sun.
4. Green Gage
The greengage plum tree bears fruits that are small to medium in size and are yellowish-green in color. They are also sweet and juicy, making them the best plums for canning, desserts, drying, and preserving. The greengage plum tree grows in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9.
However, they thrive the most in regions with sunny, hot summers but with cool nights. The best planting time for greengage plum trees is during the winter. Plant the tree in a sunny location and in well-draining, fertile soil. The hole should be as deep as the root system and wide enough so that the roots can spread as much as they want.
Self-Pollinating Japanese Plum Tree
The Methley plum tree can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. In early spring, this plum tree bears white flowers that have a sweet fragrance. The blooms actually appear as early as February.
You can start harvesting ripe Methley plums from late May to early June. The red-purple fruit is juicy and sweet. This plum tree variety can tolerate heat, so it will grow and thrive in areas with warm to hot weather.
Are Plum Trees Self Pollinating?: Conclusion
While many plum trees require cross-pollination in order to bear fruit, there are self-fertile plum trees that do not require another plum tree variety in order to produce fruit. Just one self-pollinating plum tree can already give you enough plums to enjoy in the summer.
Self-pollinating plum trees include greengage, Italian prunes, Damson, and Stanley. Some Japanese plum trees, like Methley, are also self-fertile. Plant and grow any of these plum trees, and your plum supply from May to October is already assured.