Japanese plums for long season with low chill

Can ya’ll help suggest the best 2-4 plums for as long a fruit season as possible? They need to be low chill. I’m looking at Japanese plums so far. I’m not sure if I can pull off extending the fruit season by having different varieties though. If I can’t them maybe I should stick with two trees. Pluots are welcome too. So long as they can all pollinate. So far I have a Methley.

Hi Rispa!
About how many chill hours do you get in a normal year?

Houston gets about 450 chill hours, so probably 350 for me. I tend to be a little warmer than the listed Houston weather. On the other hand of you factor in wind chill that spot might get 450. I had two citrus there and they survived the known freezes, but then died… I think what happened was wind chill brought temps below freezing and I didn’t realize it, so I didn’t protect.

Hi Rispa
Welcome to the site!
This is what I could find about ripening season for Asian plums.
“ 1. The amount of time it takes for the fruit to be ready for harvest after bloom varies among Japanese and European plums, from about 140 to 170 days. Types of Japanese plums might also have differences in harvest time. The Japanese varieties need a relatively low number of chill hours to break dormancy. For instance, Santa Rosa Japanese plums need around 400 chill hours; Burgundy Japanese plums only need between 250 and 350 chill hours. If your area has especially low chill requirements, you may want to plant Beauty Japanese plums, which only need 250 chill hours. This is one of the first Japanese plum varieties ready for harvest.”
Generally the European varieties and American varieties ripen later in the year, so to have the longest possible season you want one tree with a mix of Asian/ American and a second tree with several European varieties. In each case if you add a cherry plum branch near the top you will increase production by improving cross pollination. Cherry plum or Adara is also a great interstem to assure grafting compatibility
Kent, Wa

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I have low chill here too, maybe 200 hours, but I think realistically I might have 400.
So far I have fruit from Shiro, Satsuma, and Santa Rosa.
Sweat Treat Pluerry is very productive here too.


Chances are Rispa that those nearest you will have a better idea for ripening schedule, @Richard asked a good question about chill hours. I’m so far north that any schedule I give you would not be reliable, so pay attention to growers near you!
Kent, wa

Thanks for the info. I can’t seem to find info on when these plants groot in relation to one another. That’s the part in having trouble with. I don’t think European will fruit at all here, but using crosses might help me out a lot. I’ll get on looking that up next. Thank you.

@DennisD why do you recommend Cherry Plum for pollination? Wouldn’t the Shiro, Toka, and Methley be fine for pollinating? Oh wait, that’s for European types right?

@SoCalGardenNut have you noticed what order yours produce in?

I’m fairly certain that windchill doesn’t count. Plants don’t generate their own heat like humans so the windchill isn’t applicable. I know that in the spring we are never concerned with windchill when fretting over blooms getting cold damage. We are only concerned with ambient temperature staying above freezing when it comes to trees and inanimate objects. Windchill will more quickly lower a trees temperature to that of the surrounding air, but not any lower.

Hi Rispa,
As you research the lineage of all types of plums your will find that the Myrobalan plum (cherry plum) is found in one of its many forms on each continent. So it’s quite possible that all P domestica and P Salicia are related in some way if you go back to early times. Even Luther Burbank used P. Cerasifera as well as P. Simoni to create his many hybrids of the Japanese plum. While none can say for certain that this is the case, I suspect that all types have inherited the genetics of P cerasifera at some point in time. This is why I consider it as a superior cross pollinator, especially for early blossoming plums as are the Asian plums!

This thread gives a bit more for your research.


Perhaps someone nearer you has kept a blossom schedule similar to mine below for 2022:
2022 schedule:
Jan 7: Roadside Cherry plum flower buds swelling
Jan 7: Honeyberry flowers opening

Jan 15: Peach buds swelling, pink tips

Jan16: Fig tip buds breaking

Feb 6: peach buds nearly blossoming, plum buds not swelling yet

Feb 20: Sweet treat breaking bud

Feb 25: L1 summer grafts breaking bud!

Feb 27: L3 summer grafts breaking bud!
This spring I noticed that as my cherry plum went full blossom, so also did my last year grafts of: Shiro, Beauty, Ozark Premiere, and Methley. When I return home from vacation in Cancun this week, I can give you possibly several others that are in sync with P cerasifera

For your chill hours, I’ll recommend Santa Rosa plum and Flavor Grenade pluot.

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Raintree and Bay Laurel both sell 4 in 1 pluots with 400 chills hours. I thought plums like Toka were asian plums?

You can go to the members map to look up others close by to contact and see if they have variety suggestions


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Satsuma, Santa Rosa, and Shiro. The order of flowering. But last year I had Shiro as a plum first, then Santa a Rosa, then Satsuma.

That’s part right,although they are a hybrid of Asian and American Plums.

flavor grenade has a bonus of covering 2+ months between hang time and cold storage. covers the entire end of the season by itself

in your climate :slightly_smiling_face:. Here and I believe also in Houston it is a midseason crop.

do you have a later season japanese plum or pluot recommendation?

In an average year I probably get no more than 50-100 hours of chill (10b) and I have to do a lot of thinning on my Santa Rosa plum. Sweet Treat pluerry also works well for me. I have Beauty grafted onto the plum tree, but it didn’t fruit last year, so fingers crossed that it flowers this year.

In whose climate? I have deciduous tree fruit ripening here from late May through October, and I expect the same holds for Houston TX.