Plum bloom times

Thanks for posting this list, Bob. Mind if I add mine in a month(or even later…I hope) or so?

I’m not Bob but I think I can add my opinion here. I am around 60mi east of Bob in se ct. and had my toka produce last year. Some did have a slight taste of bubblegum and some did not. I harvested mine about a week or two after he did. Here’s a pic of mine and the sizes of them…

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As far as Toka vs Superior goes, I grow both and think they are both great choices. Toka needs more pruning, aggressive grower in my yard on prunus americana roots, Superior is dwarfy, weeping habit, precocious bearer and larger fruit size. Superior is a more soul satisfying fresh eating experience- you can take a big juicy bite…Toka is also addictively tasty out of hand, and seems like a better culinary plum as well, more meaty flesh and semi freestone. Thank goodness I don’t have to choose!

Here’s a bowl from '15 of Toka with a few Superior, Alderman and VT plums on top, on the bottom row from the left is Superior, Toka, Alderman, Vermont.


I couldn’t harvest mine any later, as some animal ate most of what was remaining off the tree in one night. Another thing to throw out there is that when I severely under thinned Superior, they just didn’t ripen, at least not as early as they had in the past. I think it added a couple weeks to how long they hung on the tree, completely hard/firm. I’m not saying that this is necessarily responsible for yours being later, but it shows that there are some additional cultural factors in when they ripen.

Please do- I’m grafting several from you and it will be interesting to compare the orders next year. I’m guessing that yours will all be more compressed, just like mine are probably pretty close compared to people further south.

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I have an aunt who has a fence row lined with seedling P. americana. Bubblegum is definitely a flavor in some of them, so it isn’t surprising that Toka has that flavor too.

I had some J plums from Costco last year that had bubblegum in their flavor profile. This was before I knew if you snooped around on boxes at Costco you usually can find the variety on the label. I wish I would have, as they were some of the best I’ve had. I might have to add Toka as a graft on my Superior at some point.

I was out taking another look today and noticed something interesting in the tops of the trees. The new growth at the top of the Laroda has flower buds all the way up. While the Lavina’s flowers only extend part way up the tree. Here’s a pic where you can see the difference.

I wonder if some plums flower on 1 year old wood, while others only make flowers on 2+ year old wood.

Laroda in the foreground (and to the right), covered in flower buds to the top and Livina in the background (and a bit to the left) with open flowers, then nothing in the top of the tree.


Thank you so much Bob.

Bob thanks for posting. I have only three small plum trees, Producer, Rubrum, and Methley. They are still small and the only one that bloomed was the Rubrum. This is some useful information and I will be seeing later if any of the ones I have show these traits. Bill

A month and a few days later, my plum trees are just starting to bloom. Warm sunny weather for the first part of the weeks should really get them going, and I will post my observations then. Very little flower buds on the two Waneta I allowed to over crop last year, go figure, but plenty on Superior which was also loaded with fruit last year.

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Here’s my list of plum bloom times, roughly in order from earliest to latest-
Purple Heart
Northern Blue (not)
Santa Rosa
South Dakota
Prunus americana seedling
Beach plums (at least one week later)

Hope to share a harvest report in late summer, I promise not to be as long winded as last season!


You had a very compressed bloom- your plums were just starting to bloom 3 days ago and now your list is complete! I think the difference between my first and last was a lot longer. Toka was my last non-Euro plum by quite a bit, after Purple Heart by a decent amount. Maybe our Toka or Purple Heart are different. You sent me a bonus scion of Purple Heart this year, so now I’ll have PH from two different sources and can compare.

It’s funny that Superior was your first to bloom and it was around the middle of my list. I think that is mostly a factor of the types of plums I have- pure Asian plums and plutots seem to be a bit earlier.

Long winded isn’t bad- it just means lots of info! :slightly_smiling:

Truth is that some are not yet blooming, or just beginning to. A shot of warm weather has sent my trees into overdrive, so I reckon they will all be blooming in the next few days,with exception of the beach plums.

Beach plums are just starting to open up their first flowers, 10 days or so after my early hybrid plums. This is the first season my beach plums have bloomed, one bush is only 2’ tall but loaded with flower buds, compact little guy. Hope there’s some fruit to try from these…let the anticipation begin!
The delayed bloom of beach plums would seem to make them a surer bet for frost prone areas.

To update this thread for 2017, it looks like most of my plums followed roughly the same timing. At least, I didn’t noticed anything which jumps out at me as far off, when looking at the list in my first post.

I did notice several additional plums which flower on new wood. I know because I grafted them last year, so I can clearly see which wood grew after the graft was made…

South Dakota
Elephant Heart

A couple Euros, grafted on the Asian plums did as well:
Early Laxton

Also, I took note of Euro plums. It doesn’t seem like there is that much variation in the Euros. They fall into 3 groups:

Early (almost done and leafed out):
Jefferson- B, 17

Mid (full bloom now):
Rosy Gage
Golden Transparent Gage- C, 20
Opal C, 21
Jam Session
Kirk’s Blue- D, 23
Valor- C

Late (soon to open):
Reine de Mirabelle
Count Althann’s Gage- D, 22

The notes after some of the cultivars are the pollination group assigned by Keeper’s Nursery, which has a ton of Euro plums.

In addition to being the earliest bloomer, the Jefferson is noteworthy in that it is only a 2nd year tree. Of the 6 other 2nd year Euro plums I have, only Middleburg (6-7 flowers) and Ersinger (1-2 flowers) have any at all. And Jefferson doesn’t just have a few, but looks pretty well covered.


That order is very similar to what I have seen. I don’t have all of those varieties, but Jefferson is definitely early for me and Reine de Mirabelle is my latest. Castleton, Bluebyrd and Rosy Gage have been mid bloomers. My Castleton is a fairly small tree but is loaded with blooms this year, the rest have light to moderate blooming. Over 90% of Jefferson’s blooms got fried, but I still have a fair amount of fruitlets forming right now. Hopefully they hang on.

On a related note–> As advertised, Surefire pie cherry is supposed to be the latest blooming stone fruit, and it still hasn’t bloomed yet this year. It probably will in a few days. All my other pie cherries have already been in full bloom for several days.

I think you’re generally way ahead of me. None of my cherries have bloomed yet.

Here’s an example of the difference, as illustrated by a Valor branch grafted on a Vision tree.

On 2nd look at the tree, it isn’t the whole tree that is covered, but only one branch and the lower part. It is still the heaviest bloom of the new Euro plums.


Right now…out of all my plums, pluots, apricots…my Prunus Americana seedling rootstock tree (that has a ton of branches covered in blooms) has yet to open a flower. Everything else is in full bloom or past full bloom (apricots).

My Stanley is in bloom now, before the Gala apple. Brooks says it’s too young to flower. Everything else is past.

I forgot to mention Krymsk 86 which has a bunch of flowers…has still not bloomed. Very late. I have no idea if this thing sets fruit or not (K1 never did last year). K1 flowers very early.

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I have the same observation. Both of my hybrid Japanese X American plums were done by the end of the weekend, and I would say that Monday looked to be about peak bloom on the roadside P. americana around here.