5-in-1 Plum...whip?

Hello Growing Fruit community!! This year I wanted to help my parents start a small orchard or two, and so read a couple of books, learned as much as I could on the internet, and made some orders. We were super blessed with some equipment and ability, and here we are some 40 trees and some hard work later! I greatly respect and appreciate communities such as these, and all of your combined knowledge and expertise - thank you for letting me lurk and unknowingly helping me select varieties, have appropriate expectations, and etc! I really appreciate you all.

I have a question for you guys. Unless I am missing something, this can’t be right, right? I caught a “5-N-1 Plum” earlier this year from GardeningDirect.com (I know - everything else came from more reliable sources, this they couldn’t even tell me what potential rootstock it was on, but it was on super sale and I took a chance - wanting plums such as this for a smaller space). And - the attached photo is what arrived. Both were labeled properly…however, it’s a whip!! No grafted scions whatsoever…I’m thinking that this is NOT a 5-in-1 plum, or they pruned it before shipping and pruned all of the scions? What do you guys say, unless I missed something in the reading this is, at best, one variety of plum, correct?

Update: The pictures are from earlier in the season, it has leafed out now and the leaves are the same as another known plum tree that I have. So, it must be some kind of plum…but not a 5-in-1, right?

Here’s the link to the original plum tree that I bought: [5-in-1 Plum link] (5-N-1 Plum - Direct Gardening) (I hope that is allowed, I’m definitely NOT making an endorsement - I can make a couple that have been essential to getting our orchard started but this one was just a “good deal” purchase :wink: Well… :slight_smile:

Thank you all! Please let me know if I am crazy or I am missing something! Thanks!!!

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I don’t think you received a 5 in 1 tree. Even if the tree was budded, not grafted, there shoud have been labels identified each variety.

Have you called them? I’d like to know what their explanation would be. It is possible it could be a mix up. However, when I looked up Scoop on Direct Gardening by Dave’s Garden, there are 162 positive comments vs 437 negative ones. That tells you something.


Usually multiple varieties trees have the first variety grafted on the rootstock and all the other varieties bud grafted on the stem of the first one. But the producer is waiting to be sure that the buds took and started to grow, meaning that the tree should have secondary branches with different varieties labeled. Looking at your tree I do not see a graft union at the base of the plant, maybe I am missing it. Look for it to be sure that it is grafted at all.

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Wow, thanks y’all! That sure does tell you something, doesn’t it regarding the Dave’s Garden reviews, and that makes sense too about bud grafting, and them taking and the individual varieties being labeled.

I called before to ask about rootstock but they couldn’t tell me…I will call about this now and see what happens. Now I’ll know to ask if it was bud grafted and ask about there not being labels for any other varieties, and therefore no way to know if things took and are growing or not.

I’ll make sure that it is grafted onto rootstock also and report back. I’m pretty sure that it was if I remember correctly (it was bareroot when it arrived and I potted it). So, maybe I at least have the primary variety, then :relaxed:

Maybe I can also get some sharper pictures of what it is doing now…I’m not sure if that would help to show if it was bud grafted and things were taking, but I guess it couldn’t hurt any.

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This is late to plant new bareroot trees. If they agree to send you a correct 5 in1 tree, you may want to have them send it in the fall (if they do fall shipping). If not, next spring.

If I were you, I would not want to order from them again. You are playing a roulette. Even though the price/offer is tempting, you may waste a whole year or more to find out if what they send you is true to label or not. But if you have time, space and willingness to wait to find out, more power to you.

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That makes sense!!! Thank you for that, if they agree to try again I will definitely try and delay until at least Fall or next Spring. I wouldn’t have thought of that but it makes perfect sense. Plus, it is getting really hot here quickly. (7b, Southwest Arkansas).

You’re right about the roulette, and I probably won’t unless I want another gamble. Probably from reading similar experiences I think I halfway expected some issues when I ordered them a couple of months ago, and wasn’t super surprised when they came in. Kind of a, well, I guess I got what I paid for kind of a thing, maybe it was kind of too good to be true.

I got everything else from Stark, One Green World, Bob Wells (and talked with them personally a lot, we did a fright shipment of several potted), or locally, and those experiences have all been very good to excellent…but, I decided to gamble on this one because of the tempting price and the spots I had for them, and, well, I guess it really was a gamble since on my first attempt with one of the lesser reputed companies it seems to verify playing roulette since no variety labels or secondary branches…

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Sorry to say but your tree just a whip with no signs of 5-in-1. I would ask for the money back and order the new tree with multi grafted varieties from Raintree nursery.



Oh, somebody bought from Direct Gardening. I bought 3 5 in 1s, a peach, plum, and pear. They had plenty of grafting scars when they arrived, and I think many of the grafts took, but I have no idea which is which and trying to guide and prune them into a useful shape is gonna be hell. Every graft was a chip (I think that’s the right term) graft andI don’t think the roots are grafted.

You can’t get your money back. They require the original packaging and only give credit if I remember right.

If nothing else, judge a nursery by their returns policy. The harder it is to get a refund, the more likely it’s scammy.


Well, after I kind of learned what I was looking for (between the advice of @mamuang and @Antmary to look for bud grafts, and a friend that happened to stop by and helped me to identify the scars/knots; I had no idea he had bud grafted before!), I think I was able to figure out what happened. I no longer have a 5-in-1 tree, but, since leafing out…now maybe a 2-in-1 and a 3-in-1, respectively. My experience is pretty much exactly like @TheGrog’s.

I found the scars from the bud (or chip) grafts, there were exactly 4 on each tree, assuming the base tree itself is the additional variety as per @Antmary, that would make it a 5-in-1. The only problem is they didn’t let these take before shipping (they looked older, so maybe they did them a year ago and stuck them in the refrigerator)? Anyway, no branches, no labels, and only one or two of the lowest grafts on each tree have now shot out…I’m not sure how I could improve the success rate of the grafts even if I got replacements. Maybe water them to death since it seems like the upper part of each tree just didn’t make it? (and which is where grafts #3 and #4 reside on each tree, so they apparently also fell victim…)

Mine also seems to be on its own roots as I could not find a graft down there. If I counted 4 scars correctly on each trunk, I guess that adds up.

I looked up the return policy. I remember now. You only have 14 days to get an actual $ refund, but if you have “the original shipping label” you can get a replacement. Link to their return policy. Better than the entire original packaging but still stringent. Somehow I caught that in the beginning and managed to keep mine (if it is the correct label - I think I kept their label and not that of UPS, hope that isn’t a gotcha).

Thanks @tonyOmahaz5 for mentioning Raintree, I haven’t ordered from them yet but have considered it, so maybe that will be a good future one for me. Also - to add to my success list - Honeyberry USA was also very good to me, I forgot them earlier in my short list.

Good call @TheGrog on judging a nursery by their return policy. I thought it was kind of scrupulous/strategic that I needed the ORIGINAL shipping label (especially in an age of having receipts constantly available via online emails), but I did manage to keep it…so I guess I will call soon and see what they say and if they honor it (for dead grafts, even though the entire tree is not dead). Maybe I will end up with replacement trees…

I do wonder if there is a way to increase the chance of success on those upper grafts budding out the way that they do things…again, maybe just take extra special care to keep the soil saturated until after the grafts take and “head back” the bottom leaves/graft shoots so that the sap can focus on making it all of the way up the trunk, and keep the top of the tree from drying out? And maybe I am dreaming? :blush:

Finally, here is the story in pictures since I managed to take some yesterday!

At first inspection, best picture of noticing two different kinds of leaves on one:

Upper grafts where nothing is happening:

Something happening on a lower graft or two:

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You said 5 in 1 plum? To me, the narrow long leaves in the first pic on the right is not plum leaves. They look like peach leaves. Same as other narrow leaves in sunpbsequent pics.

If the tree has no bud union close to the ground, the base tree is not grafted like you mention. I wonder what seedling this nursery use to grafted other varieties on. In general, a seedling is not a good quailty fruit variety.

The top could be dead. You can scratch the trunk, if it is brown, that portion is dead. If green, it is alive.

Overwatering is another way to kill your trees esp. potted trees. They don’t like soggy soil.

It looks like you get ripped off by this company. You could report your experience to Dave’s Garden. Good luck trying to get your money back.


I agree. It’s possible that the nursery used a peach seedling as the rootstock for buds and those leaves are from the rootstock and not from a bud. If that’s true, what Bradley currently has is just a single plum variety budded onto a peach seedling rootstock.

Absolutely. Overwatering will not help buds or grafts to take, it will just induce a root rot.

More generally, my opinion is that if you want a multigraft/multibud tree, better make it yourself. You can choose your own rootstock that is suitable to your climate and soil, and rootstocks are very cheap. Then graft or bud it with varieties that you want. You can carefully select varieties based on their blooming time (to help cross-pollination and timing of sprays) and/or fruiting time (so if you net a tree, the net doesn’t stay on for too long), etc.

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I took a chance on these because they were cheap and availalbe, when most of the reputable nurseries didn’t have multi-graft trees I wanted.

I didn’t bother putting them in the ground. They’re in containers because my lawn area is quite limited.

My other multi-grafts have come from Raintree, and I’ve been fairly satisfied with them.

Top quality nurseries tend to have pretty generous return/replacement policies. A restrictive return policy isn’t a great sign.

I had originally bought multi-grafts because I thought grafting was hard, and pruning easy. It is increasingly looking like grafting is easy, and pruning hard.


This, exactly. I am now convinced that I mostly have two peach trees of probably unknown seedling variety with one plum limb attached to each. :smirk: Basically, one plum variety graft on each tree has taken and I do think they have them grafted onto some type of peach seedling (or Lovell, Halford?), based on the leaves and that there is no graft at the roots so the trunk appears to also be the rootstock of the tree.

I removed all of the peach growth coming off of the main trunk (everything that wasn’t coming out of a graft) and with that out of the way I was able to count a full 5 grafting scars present on each trunk. Looks like the “5-in-1” plum was supposed to come from the 5 grafts they placed on the trunk, with the trunk itself not representing one of the varieties (not sure what you’d do about all of the new peach growth to maintain a plum tree if the grafts had actually taken).

Here’s what the look like now with all of the peach growth removed:

As you can see after removing the peach growth, only 1 plum graft out of the 5 on each has taken.

I did the scratch test. One tree was dead in the uppermost portion and the other was alive, but the alive one was more of a yellow green instead of a darker lime green color as it is lower on the trunk. However, just as many of the graft scars are in the lower portion of the tree, actually below the single plum variety that took and is growing on each. The limbs shown in the picture are roughly in the middle of all of the grafting scars up and down the trunk. (There are about 2 scars below and 2 above each limb with no growth coming out of them.)

I will call Direct Gardening and try and get my money back :laughing: (HIGHLY unlikely, I know), but I think I probably will be able to get replacement trees per the policy and me keeping the “original” shipping label. Thing is, would I really want them? When they are done this way it seems like I may end up with similar results. I’d have another 1 to 3 variety plum (at best, depending on which grafts took), with a bunch of peach limbs I’d have to keep pruned off from the main trunk.

I too wonder what peach variety this and if it would even be decent? Maybe they should have advertised it as a 6-in-1 –
a 5-in-1 plum plus a mystery peach base. :laughing: If people were able to grow these to fruition wouldn’t that be really confusing for some folks when peaches started arriving?

I guess if they do send replacements (and I’ll try and delay until the fall or spring), I could always give to my aunt who is wanting to experiment with grafting, and suggest she just use it for its roots, mainly. If I remember correctly in the policy they only give replacements one time…so I guess you couldn’t do it until you got one where all 5 grafts took (not that it’d be worth the time, anyway).

Thank you all for your expertise, the excellent advice (on not over watering and the fact that it doesn’t help grafts to take, thank you!!!), and helping me to run this down. At least I’ll know what I’m talking about when I call customer service, whether it works or not. :slight_smile:

That is pretty much me exactly! Still not sure I want to get into grafting just yet, but I laughed out loud when I read this. It resonated so much. I do have some that were done right that were more costly and came in pots (and didn’t come from Direct Gardening), but, one year it may be nice to learn how to do it and have that extra skill to use!


I’m not a big fan of peach rootstock for plums and apricots because such trees have to be additionally protected against peach borer. Anyway, since you already have these threes, you can use them next spring to experiment with grafting or give to somebody who wants to do that.

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I think mine had more grafts take, but I’m still not sure I want to put them in the ground. I’m not even sure they are worth the 15 gal pots they are in right now …

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