Mirabelle plums in low chill

Now that ordering season is arriving my thoughts are turning to unusual varieties that may not have been tried in low chill areas. The Mirabelle’s have always interested me. Anyone out there in 300-450 chill hour land have any experience with these exotic french plums?

Last winter was a low-chill one for my area (GetChill reports it as in your range). My cherries didn’t set to speak of, for reference, but my Pafum de Septembre mirabelle did fine.

1 Like


Has PdS fruited for you in previous years? Or is this the first year?

Have you harvested any yet? How do you like the taste?

My tree’s in its 4th leaf and had modest set last year. The crop this year ripened over about 3 weeks, but everything was early, and it’s already finished fruiting. It was about the same season as Bavay Gage, for comparison. I do like the taste. I tasted Nancy and Metz from a nearby commercial orchard around the same time mine was fruiting. The differences between them were subtle but noticeable–true to name, Parfum de Septmbre had a bit of a "perfumed’ or lightly aromatic character the other two did not. It was less “plumy” than Metz.

1 Like

‘Geneva’ Mirabelle was developed by the New York State Agriculture Experment Station at Geneva, New York, in the 1950s. You might try this one. Mirabelles are finicky. Given proper chill hours they will fruit sooner than most euro’s or so I have found.

I don’t see any Euro type plums being adapted to low chill and severe heat. You’d be very lucky to get any fruit in Phoenix area IMO. Tree probably dead within 3 yrs.

1 Like

I agree with you fruitnut. It needs similar temperatures (climate to Alsace). Mine are ripening nicely (my Metz).

1 Like

I think this is one of those deals where I might see if I can bribe anyone to send me wood. Ill just graft it on a existing tree and see what it does. Never know…sounds like Parfum de Septembre is worth a shot.

I toyed with ordering a couple of Mirabelles as well, Eric. I might give both Parfum de Septembre and Geneva a try. I wonder if they will cross pollinate each other? My weather certainly is nothing like the Alsace region of France, but I think I may have enough chill hours to get fruit set. I get that many ch’s or more during a more normal winter. I did some Googling, and apparently, they are actually suited to up to zone 10b, so I am intrigued.

1 Like


Raintree’s catalog provides a nice pollination chart for mirabelles and euro plums.

Yes, I believe PdS will cross-pollinate with Geneva mirabelle.

1 Like

Thanks, Matt. Boy, that was some buried info. Finally found the chart, and it looks like they all pollinate each other, and I understand that PdS is somewhat if not completely self-fertile. So, I’ll roll the dice and see if I can get them to produce here. I went ahead and ordered Geneva, PfS, Nancy and Metz (thanks mrsg for your great recommendations), I love very sweet stone fruits, and these sound perfect to me. Plus they’re little, another bonus for me :slight_smile:

1 Like

Ooh la la! Will send recipe, but a bit later. Tons on my plate right now. Mirabelles are pretty much self pollinating. A different variety in the mix always helps. Many people confuse them with ‘cherry’ plums and wild plums. Those are a good second best. Mirabelles like a freeze. The more snow and ice we have the more blooms there are in spring. What do you make with your grain alcohol?

If you’ve got lemons. . . perfect! Your climate and surroundings is perfect for sipping lemoncello in the evening. Have you ever made ‘Pruneau’ from prune plums and Armagnac? You would like those two. There is always a jar of plums here. Cannot wait to see your new Mirabelles. They are really fun, as they are small, but very tasty.

1 Like

Have a look at this site HQ, it will encourage you to order mirabelles


Any photos of your mirabelles you can share?


A few notes about them:

I did not thin the tree this year. Presumably doing that would increase the size a bit, but I do not get the impression these will ever make it substantially larger.

These were unceremoniously tossed in the refrigerator over a month ago and the eating quality is not much different from the day they came off the tree.

The one at the 5 o’clock position probably has the most representative coloring. Mine are yellow/orange with a blush that transitions from pinkish to an almost translucent light purple


Thanks, mrsg. I have Nancy, Metz, Geneva and Parfum de September all on order with Raintree. So, need to find a nice little row to plant them all. I’d really like to plant them along a walkway, so I can walk and pick them. I am re-designing my ampitheater slope in my backyard, so they may be planted there, along the trellised walk I have cut out on the slope. Hoping they will do well here, we’ll just have to see! I am ordering them on TM/Mar 2624 rootstock as opposed to St. Julian, in hopes I can keep them a bit smaller.

While they are young they are quite easy to keep small and manageable. Like the Euro plums I have grown, they can produce new branches during the summer of up to five feet long. They have amazing growth power. Mine (mirabelles) started fruiting after five years, unlike my Italian plum prune which took seven years to fruit.

1 Like

Great, that may translate here in S. Calif. to fruit in 3 years :slight_smile: And, we do get these crazy 5 to 10’ long summer shoots as well, more pronouced on a a few varieties (Sweet Treat pluerry is notorious). I just prune those way down or out if needed during my summer pruning. Excited to see how they do out here. Hoping for decent chill hours. Going to move my weather station into full sun, so I can keep it charged for a full 24 hours. It is getting too much shade, and not staying “on” for a full 24 hours, and I didn’t get correct chill hours collections last season. So, on the list of “to do’s” for the weekend.


Where are you located? Your PdS look great, thanks.