Japanese Plum Varieties

Written by irum sarfaraz
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Japanese Plum Varieties
Japanese plums come in many varieties. (plums image by dinostock from Fotolia.com)

Japanese plums (Prunus salicina) are one of the two main types of plums, the other being European. Japanese plums are larger in size and ripen earlier than European plums. Many Japanese plum trees are not self-fruitful and require pollinators. Japanese plum trees grow to a mature height of 15 to 20 feet with a wider spread. The colour of the plums changes from green to yellow to a brilliant red and eventually a deep purplish-black. Japanese plum trees do best in well-drained, fertile soil and are fairly drought resistant.


Burbank is a Japanese plum variety developed by Luther Burbank in 1883 from a seed from Japan. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has since named this variety after him. Burbank is a medium-sized, round, dark-red plum. The plum is a clingstone and highly aromatic. Burbank ripens unevenly starting in late August.

Early Golden

Early golden is a golden, freestone plum with a high reddish blush. The fruit is of good quality and firm and not very large in size. Early golden plum trees has very vigorous growth and tends to rapidly outgrow other cultivars. The trees have a biennial fruiting habit that can be eliminated with appropriate thinning and adequate watering.

Ozark Premier

Ozark premier is a large, round, bright red Japanese plum variety. The firm, clingstone fruit is considered a very good variety and ripens unevenly like Burbank and Vanier.


Vanier is a bright red, clingstone variety of medium size with yellow flesh. The fruit matures about two week earlier than Shiro. The quality of the fruit is firm and meaty and improves further after a storage time of two to three weeks. Vanier plum trees are grow vigorously with an upright growth habit. Multiple picking leads to the best fruit quality.


Shiro Japanese plums are round and yellow with a pink blush. The fruit is clingstone and juicy and fair in quality. Shiro plums have an approximate ripening time of 2 weeks after the early golden variety.

Vampire TM New

Vampire TM new is a late midseason plum variety. The fruit is medium to large in size with a mixture of shiny green and ruby-red skin. The flesh is very juicy and red. This variety has shown a greater tolerance to cold than any other red-flesh plums.

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