Lets talk taste, especially sweetness

Hi folks. I’ve spent the last few days trying to pick my last few trees to buy (I know I’m late and some fruits are sold out). As part of that research, I’ve done a lot of reading about taste descriptions- both on the seller web sites and by doing searches here. But I need help.

Let’s focus mostly on plums and plum hybrids (pluots, apriums, etc) and similar fruits. I need you to know that my own personal tastes go more toward sweetness than most people’s do. So the sweeter the better- even if it comes at the expense of other factors like acid, tartness, or anything else. I also prefer soft fruit to firm. Some of the pluot descriptions tout their “firmness” but to me that is a bit of a downside. The best example I can give you is Spring Satin. For me, fruit doesn’t get much better. They are soft and super sweet and have the plum and apricot flavor. My local grocery store had some unidentified pluot fruit last year that was very similar to spring satin and was incredible.
I have tasted some pure plums that also had this super-sweet, soft (melting?) texture I love but I’m not sure which ones.

I guess the simple thing would be to ask you to tell me which plums/pluots/other hybrids taste most like Spring Satin, but I want to leave this more open ended. So, could you all please name a few fruits (probably in the plum family) that you think might meet the parameters I have just given. Thank-you all so much for any recommendations you can give.

I’d also love to hear which of the pluots you think are sweetest and softest. Also interested in hearing opinions of Spice Zee, cherry hybrids, etc. THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH!

For pure sweetness, I’d have to go with Flavor Queen pluot. It gets softer and sweeter the longer you let it hang on the tree.

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that is just exactly the kind of information I was looking for, so I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to answer. Hope others are as helpful. I’m almost certainly going to buy a Flavor Queen now. Thanks, Steve!

My tastes are pretty much the exact opposite of yours Kevin. I prefer the firmer pluots and I also do not mind some acidity to counter balance the sweetness. Acid is not 100% necessary for me to enjoy fruit but I do prefer it. Last year both Flavor Supreme and Flavor Grenade both blew me away. Grenade in particular did not have the acidity I like but it has the most incredible firm yet juicy texture I love. They actually crunched when I bit into them while at the same time dripped juice on my chin. To me the perfect texture. I would say since you prefer softer fruit you should focus on plums rather than pluots but it seems that a lot of plums have that zing that you may not care for. Others here can give you much better advise. I’m not an expert and the fruits I’ve tried are limited.

I will second flavor Queen for sweetness and add emerald drop which is very similar and earlier. These both will be firmer than spring satin as you have described. However if you leave any flat of pluots on the counter for 5 days they will soften up like above described plumcot. This is when I make them into fruit leather! So you could try some other pluots and soften them up on the counter. You can do this with most firm fruit. I would not be without flavor king and flavor supreme but they have much more going on than just sweetness. Spi zee is very sweet with a tiny bit of acid in the skin, really like white nectarine. Arctic jay is sweeter than spi zee and highly praised. Hope this helps, especially the softening on the counter trick which can be countered by putting flat in fridge to keep firm!

Flavor king pluot. For plums it doesn’t get any better. Emerald beaut plum is very sweet, In my opinion the best regular plum. If you can grow nectarines the honey series that I grow are the best fruit period

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I will “3rd” Flavor Queen pluot. I have many fruits that get sweet but this one literally has a candy sweetness to it. Somehow it’s not cloying though. Culture has a lot to do with it. A guy a few streets down as a honor system fruit stand. His flavor queens are huge and mostly green with some yellow. Mine are small and very yellow when I pick them. His are tart and mine are super sweet.


Coe’s Golden Drop is very sweet when left to ripen on the tree. It is noted for Bunyard having observed in The Anatomy of Dessert that “at it’s ripest, it is drunk rather than eaten.”

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Candy Heart pluerry was the best tasting stone fruit that I had last season. The tree had a couple of fruit on it first leaf! It does not have a plum taste at all. The flavor is watermellon-cherry like, and very tender with a brix of around 23. It may not be the sweetest fruit but the flavor was, to me, the best. It is a vigorous grower, my trees have hundreds of blossoms, some are beginning to open right now. If some of you live in the CA Bay Area, or beyond, you should visit Andy’s Orchard http://andysorchard.com/ when it opens in late May, cherry season! Hundreds of stone fruit varieties are grown in some of the best soil and one of the best growing climates in the world. Fruit is picked at peak ripeness by visitors, some is shipped to a couple of select fruit stands.


E plums get more sugar than J plums but are probably too hard to grow in Tennessee, although they do bloom later than J’s, so are more likely to survive late frosts. Certain nectarine varieties (all of FN’s low-acid favorites, such as Honey Royale) can get into the high 20’s without any acid to cut the sugar.

Still, even without getting anywhere near 20 brix, pluots can taste very sweet. Flavor Grenade is nothing but sugar, and even though it gets full sugar when crisp ripe, you can always store it at room temp for a soft plum. I like it better crisp, myself, but I have plenty of E.plums for softer sugar. None of them I grow can be eaten firm and sweet, except maybe Autumn Sweet.

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Cityman, I have Flavor Grenade and 1 or 2 of the other low chill California bred plums/pluots. Right now, (2/16), the Flavor Grenade and my apricot tree are both in full bloom with the crazy warm weather we have had and thus the chance of having a crop this year are probably thin to none. My thoughts after growing them for 4 years is there no harm in growing these low chill types in our part of the world as long as we keep our expectations at having little to no crop due to late spring freezes some or most years.


Yes that is kind of how I look at it. Without huge amounts of land and unlimited space I don’t think it’s dedicate entire trees to these early bloomers. Especially if I was counting on them as a necessary food source. But I’ve grafted many onto my existing trees hoping that on any given year I’ll get some to enjoy. You never know, they could get frozen out 3 years in a row and then go on a producing streak of 4-5 years. You just have to keep your expectations in check.


Can I take a moment here and not only say thank you, but just marvel at what an incredible community we have here. That 8 or 9 people would all take a few minutes out of their life just to help a fellow fruit grower try to find just the right fruit to suit him (both in terms of taste and grow-ability) is remarkable to me. Even when your tastes run counter to my own, you’ve tried to share what you to know to help me, and I sincerely appreciate it. I am literally preparing a new tree order today based 100% on the information contained it this thread-and if you’ve read or contributed to it you already know which trees I’m going to add!

I also find it interesting how much our tastes differ. I think my own tastes are different from most, but that’s ok. I have often seen comments here from people “complaining” that a particular fruit has very little flavor distinction other than extreme sweetness, or that a certain fruit is “too sweet”. Those actually sound great to me! I guess that’s why I prefer candy to potato chips as a snack- we’re all different. Same with texture. Many people sing praises about a fruit (like @speedster1 above) because of it’s crispness/crunchiness whereas that’s a bit of a negative for me. In fact, I lost a lot of fruit from my “Dragon Tear” (my strange-story pluot) because I would try to let them hang on the tree until the went soft, and I’d wait so long that there was a very short window in the end between them going sour/rotting and hitting that softness I love. But those that made it that soft stage- HOLY COW they were incredible!!! Perhaps I’d have had better luck letting them soften on the counter as suggested by @fruitgrower and @alan .

Last but not least, some of you mentioned some fruits I’d either never heard of or had forgotten about, but which I’m now probably going to try. I have a fair amount of space at my place, and since this is my only hobby that costs money, I don’t mind buying a few more trees here and there. Also, this will be my 5th year since I started my little orchard, and I already have identified a few trees that are going to get their last chance to impress me this year or face the ax ! (well, shovel. haha). I suspect some of you can relate.

Thanks again for the great responses!


I am growing Flavor Queen Pluot also but I am not so thrilled with the flavor. Yes, it has extremely high sugar content but mine were sour near the pits and the skin was both sour and becomes more and more bitter the longer you chew on it. I have to remove the skin to find them palatable and even then I can’t get over the sour flesh at the pit. Kind of like downing a mixture of lemon juice and corn syrup. Strangely enough the ones that I bought from the local farmer’s market looked identical to mine but were fairly bland in all respects. Perhaps my growing conditions are affecting the flavor.

On the other hand I found the Parfume De Septembre mirabelle plums to be absolutely fantastic. Very sweet and slightly crunchy, reminiscent of eating candied cherries. Not even the slightest hint of acid or bitterness so common in Asian plums. I am now in the process of adding three more mirabelle cultivars and a number of other Eropean plums for comparison.

Plums are flowering today. Flavor Queen in the front, Hollywood are the pink ones in the back. European plums are still sleeping.


I wonder if I could tag on to this thread and ask about the sweetest apples to grow. My kids are big fans of Honeycrisp, but I’ve heard Honeycrisp aren’t too successful grown in the Deep South (zone 8a).

Any other apples with mostly sweet and hardly any tart flavors that might be more successful here?

Not that you need it at this point but I’ll add that yes letting stone fruit soften on the counter is a great idea. It has always worked well for me and it is a great way to extend the harvest - fresh consumtion period. Put some in the fridge for a few day and then pull them out to soften a week later to further extend this process.


For pure sweet with no acid it’s hard to beat fuji

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@VSOP Here’s a list of the sweet apples that I’m growing/experimenting with in zone 7B Maryland. Most have not fruited yet so I can’t say much:

Keepsake (some prefer it to its progeny Honeycrisp) , Dula’s Beauty, Williams Pride, Hooples Antique Gold, Keener Seedling, Husk Sweet, Kentucky Limbertwig, Summer Buff, Milo Gibson (20 brix by one grower), Caney Fork LT, Red Royal LT, Victoria (aka Sweet) LT, Swiss LT, Hauer Pippin (after storage), Sundance, Myers Royal Lt, Virginia Beauty, Junaluska, Hall, Yates and Liberty which is sweet under certain conditions I gather.

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It can also be stored in a mere rootcellar until Spring and be as good as the day it was picked off the tree.

Suzanne Joyner at Big Horse Creek Farm tells me that Husk Sweet is the sweetest of their many varieties, and her favorite.