Varieties of plum trees

Updated February 21, 2017

Plum trees come in many different varieties and sizes. When choosing a plum tree, gardeners have to keep in mind the various types of plum fruits and choose according to specific purpose and taste. Some plums are commonly only used for cooking, baking or making jam or jelly. Other plums are sweeter and can be eaten raw off the tree. Plum trees also make beautiful ornamental trees with their lovely, fragrant blooms and compact size for the garden.


The Burbank plum tree is a semi-dwarf fruit tree only growing up to 15 feet in height. This plum tree requires full sunlight and needs light pruning after the flowering season has passed. Burbank plum trees are very adaptable to a variety of soil types. The fruit of the Burbank plum are red-yellow in colour and have a buttery yellow flesh with a very sweet taste. This plum variety starts producing fruit around its third year of growth, and does require pollen from a different variety of plum tree for good pollination and fruit production.

Elephant Heart Japanese Plum

The Elephant Heart Japanese plum tree produces juicy, sweet, heart-shaped plums with a dark red flesh. The plums of this fruit tree ripen in September, after all other plum trees have ripened and gone, allowing for a later harvest that extends the plum season if planted with other varieties. Widely adaptable to most soil types, the Elephant Heart Japanese plum tree grows up to 25 feet in height and thrives in full sun with a deep watering in summer months. Substantial pruning is necessary, and another plum tree is advised for adequate pollination.

French Improved

The French Improved plum tree grows up to 25 feet in height when mature and produces a very sweet plum with a deep purple flesh. The fruit of this variety are oval-shaped and ripen in late summer. The French Improved plum tree does not require any additional trees for pollination, and will produce its harvest in three to five years. This fruit tree requires full sun and can thrive in a wide variety of soil types.


The Methley plum tree produces sweet, juicy, red-fleshed plums in three to five years. This variety of plum tree requires no other plum for pollination, and can grow up to 25 feet in height. Methley plums are purple-red in skin colour and considered an early variety due to an early harvest in July. This plum variety requires full sun, and is widely adaptable to an abundance of soil types. The flowers on the Methley plum are very fragrant, making this plum tree a great ornamental and fruit-producing tree.

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About the Author

Rachel Turner has been writing professionally since 2000, focusing on gardening and home improvement topics. Her articles have appeared online at SlowTravel and in publications such as the "Arkansas Gardeners," "One Step Ahead" and "Writers Now." Turner holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arkansas State University.