Plum Tree Varieties and Pollination

Hi there,

I have four plum trees that are new additions to my garden. I have Methley, Santa Rosa, Au Rosa, and Bruce.

I am wondering if anyone has experience, good or bad, with any of these varieties?

I really just wanted one tree to begin with but then began to wonder if I would be better with multiples for pollination purposes. I am aware that Methley, Santa, and AU Rosa are all partially self fertile, but find conflicting info on whether Bruce is or not.

I’m torn because I read that Methley is absolutely dismal for disease resistance, but am also finding that it is the appropriate pollinizer for Bruce. I also read lots of people ragging on Methley for having bland flavor and poor texture.

Any recommendations on what to do? I would like to not deal with diseased trees, but don’t want to give up the necessary pollen partner for Bruce.

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Hi Chase,
I’m always interested in learning more about cross pollination, so your concerns intrigue me as well. Here is what I read about Bruce:( Prunus salicina X angustifolia Early fruiting open spreading small tree. A cross between Japanese plum and native Chickasaw. Ripens before Methley. Brown rot resistant. Introduce in 1921 by A. L. Bruce of Donelly County, TX…)
Since Bruce is a hybrid you have many choices to assure it will be cross pollinated without over reliance on Methley. I would expect a number of Asians and hybrids of Asians and p Americanna might cross pollinate Bruce. The website of Purvis Nursery gives some good descriptions of his plum varieties often stating whether they are early, mid to late blossom schedules. You might start there with his list of possibles. Here my Cherry plum Methley is my earliest to blossom followed closely by Methley and Beauty. To cross pollinate Bruce you need to locate several varieties of Asian or hybrids that are likely to have compatible pollen and are flowering slightly earlier or at the same time as Bruce.

Good luck
Kent, Wa

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Thanks Dennis. Do you have any problems with your Methley trees? How is the fruit quality? Thanks.

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I started an AU Rosa last spring… and for a first year plum it bloomed quite well. 100+ blossoms first spring.

I also started a Shiro… and it opened one blossom… but opened it 4 or 5 days after AU Rosa finished blooming.

AU Rosa despite not having another pollinator… set 100 fruit.

It looked to me like every blossom set fruit.

Based on that experience… I would say that AU Rosa can definately stand alone and produce loads of fruit.

Mine will have 5 or 6 other pollinators when I am done grafting this spring… not that it needs them… just trying other varieties.



I did see that AU Rosa seems to have a successful fruit set without another pollen source in other threads. That’s cool.

My main concern is getting Bruce to set fruit. I would truly like to dig up Methley and just be rid of it as it is my least favorable plum tree. I’ve not tasted it as it is only a second year tree but I’ve read enough about it I no longer want it. My main concern is that Santa Rosa or AU Rosa will not be a good pollen source for Bruce.

I also just don’t want as many Plum trees as I have. Lol.

I planted Spring Satin today so now I’ve got that, Bruce, Santa Rosa, Au Rosa, and Methley. That’s just more than I need by any means.

Anyone think any of the other trees would be a good pollinizer for Bruce or is Methley the only one that blooms on th same schedule?


Why not graft methely to Bruce? Then dig it up after you keep a small presence for stud service. If it doesn’t take you could graft it to your Santa Rosa.

My direct question would go to @DennisD, because he grows more plums than anyone I know. But if my takeaway from his past posts is correct, you will need to find what works for your area. They all behave a bit differently across zones.

I personally went on a walkabout around the neighborhood looking for plums that bud swelled with mine this week. I saw a random plum at a park & cut a sprig of it to graft. Even if it is just for pollen, I know they are synched. If I hate it later the pollen stud can be castrated.

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I did consider grafting Methley. I would just hate to compromise the health of another tree with a vector for disease. I’ve also never grafted before. Lol. Gotta start somewhere though I suppose.

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I’m curious as to why you single out Methley as the “Vector of diseases”. All of my Methley grafts have grown aggressively, easy to graft, and while I have yet to see them fruit, I am impressed by their early and abundant blossom sets. Last year was my first year to graft it so they were too immature to set fruit in 2023, so I cannot attest to the fruit quality, but even so they all blossomed right after I grafted them in spring of 2023. You might post pics of your Methley if there are abnormal signs of disease and perhaps some member can advise you how to respond to it. But if it looks normal you may consider keeping it until you can record the blossom schedule of all you varieties.
Kent, Wa

Well admittedly I have seen no sign of disease on my one tree. It is quite young and I headed it back heavily this year. I only single it out because I have read multiple accounts from others that it is a black knot magnet and has lousy fruit quality.

Maybe I am being naive, but it is also just my ugliest tree. I grow many of my fruit trees in an edible landscape styled garden with lots of other ornamentals, roses, etc… so I like to keep the trees aesthetically pleasing. My Methley was very top heavy last year with the lowe scaffolds lagging far behind the upper leaders. So I made a low heading cut to try to encourage a lower scaffold.

My first plum was the Santa Rosa which I have read does not fruit well here in a northern climate. Then I bought Methley with hopes of it being a good pollination partner. Then I couldn’t pass up the other three just because they were such nicely formed trees.

What is your location Chase, have you searched the member map for other members near you who might give you reliable data about Methley?

When I started my orchard and nursery in NYS (the humid region of this country) my two J plums were Methely and Shiro. I eventually had to cut down Methely in my own orchard and have since had to cut it down in most of the orchards where I panted it because constant cutting out of black knot during the growing season never quite controls it on this variety. I have yet to plant it on a site where it is useful.

I’ve grown about 15 other varieties of J. plums and pluots and an equal or greater number of E plums in my nursery and orchard and none comes close to the susceptibility to BK that plagues Methley. Orchards with this variety do seem to suffer more BK pressure when it is there than after it is removed.

Different regions, different pests, but if BK is a problem where one is growing plums I expect Methley will be useless. My sister lives in coastal far-northern CA, and in spite of the humidity (her property is partially redwood forest and she’s only a few short blocks from the Pacific) she has no issue with black-knot on her plums. Her fireblight attacks the tips of pears but doesn’t seem to damage big wood and she gets pristine apples by pasturing chickens in her orchard and doing no spray at all. She’s been growing fruit there for half a century but doesn’t have much useful advice for people growing fruit in the East on pest control (although I bet the chickens would help with insects that live in drops). She never has to spray anything.


I found this writeup helpful. It is based from Georgia but very good information here on some popular cultivars. And at the very top of the list is Methley with unimpressive health rating as well as a note mentioning the higher susceptibility to black knot infection.

Anyway it also mentions bloom time for some of the other plum trees mentioned here in relation to Santa Rosa. Bruce is sadly not mentioned anywhere but that’s okay I suppose. I will just have to monitor my trees the next couple years and see who is blooming when.

Thanks everybody. Hope this information makes its way to somebody else to help!


Do you guys think that a Spring Satin plumcot would pollinate other plums? Would this be typical of a cross? Can they pollinate either way, apricots or plums?

Hi Chase,
Thanks for posting the above reference. I like the data layout, it would be nice to see the same for all of my stonefruit varieties. To answer your question, a lot depends on finding a Plumcot with similar blossom timing. Ideally one that opens bloom a week before Spring Satin so that the pollen is released when Spring Sarin is most receptive during its first 10 days. Stark Brothers suggest these Asian varieties for pollinators: Methley, Santa Rosa, Superior, and Bubblegum.
As I checked my varieties this week, the following are swelling along with Spring Satin: Cherry plum, Nadia, Methley, Ozark Premiere, Obilyana, Kuban Comet, Mexican plum, Sweet Treat Pluery, Dapple Dandy, Flavor King, Santa Rosa, SM Rosa, Satsuma, Beauty, Flavor Supreme, Luisa, Black Splendor, Camp Joy Sauna, SM Plumcot, Hollywood, and Shiro. Within a few weeks I can tell you the blossom time of each of these which might help you select varieties likely to be early enough to cross pollinate Bruce or Spring satin.
Kent, Wa


Hello fellow plum growers! I often get inquiries from others on the forum who are seeking varieties they should add to improve cross pollination of their existing stonefruit varieties. We know that a good pollinator is one that produces compatible pollen and has a blossom schedule that is in close match to the variety a member may already be growing. The intent of this Google Form is to create a ready data source that members in any growing zone can reference for the blossoming data of all varieties that other members have submitted.
Compatible pollen: We know that Asian plums varieties have pollen compatible with other Asian varieties as well as most Native American plums (p Americanna) and most European plums are pollinated by other European (P domestica) varieties. Native plums of P Americana are compatible with hybrids of natives, and most Asian plums. Plumcots are compatible with other Plumcot varieties as well as the Asian plum in their heritage. If you are entering data for a hybrid cross and know the varieties the breeder used to create the hybrid please enter that data under Genus to help other members in their use of your data. Hybrids crosses are a bit trickier. Here are just a few sources from online searches:

  1. Oregon State University provides this information: “ Pluots, like plums, will also need a pollinizer of a different variety to ensure a good fruit set. Most pluot varieties will pollinate another pluot variety. Another option is planting certain varieties of plum to pollinate the pluot. Plant a Japanese plum tree within 100 feet of the pluot for cross-pollination. Although a pluot is part apricot, another apricot will not serve as a pollinator.”
  2. Methley one of the best cross pollinators due to its hybrid heritage: “The Methley Plum Tree actually has a very interesting history in that it is believed to be a Hybrid between an American Plum variety (Prunus cerasifera) and the Japanese Plum (Prunus salicina). This happened unintentionally as a select seedling in South Africa around the turn of the 20th century.” Since so many plum varieties have been bred from crossing other Asian plums with P cerasifera and P cerasifera has befound on most continents, it’s often used in plum breeding and is therefore one of the universal choices for cross pollination.
  3. Another source states: “Hybrid plums require a specific second variety for pollination (see variety charts). For example, in order to get fruit from an Alderman plum, you would have to plant either a Toka or Superior plum as well (or a native American or Canadian plum). European plums and tart cherries are self-compatible.”
  4. Will a pluot tree pollinate a plum tree? “Pluots are generally larger than plums and higher in sugar content; they are a flavor delight. Pluots, like plums, will need a pollinator of a different variety for good fruit set. Most will pollinize with another pluot, or certain varieties of plum.”
    The other consideration in using data from another growing zone is that a variety may alter its blossoming schedule when taken to another climate zone. So if I am in zone 8A I would like to obtain data from a nearby grower or preferably one and the same zone. But if the data I want is available only from another zone, it’s is useful to determine how many days of delay should be used to adjust the blossoming data from the other zone. This can easily be done by comparing the data of a common variety in each zone.

In closing this is a trial and my first time creating a Google form, so I may need to tweak it to assure data is being recorded in a usable spreadsheet format.
The spreadsheet is automatically updated as you make a data entry on the Form. And it can be opened by any member for reference even though it says it’s Private!
It best to write down your complete schedule with the date of each event: balloon thru petal fall. Then make your data entry, so a complete record is recorded on the spreadsheet. You cannot add the data later since the spreadsheet is closed and is read only! The entry I made for Cherry plum was before petal fall so that data cannot be revised once the event actually occurs.
Any feedback for improvements are welcomed

Dennis Kent, wa


my black ice only fruited a few fruit last summer. i didn’t note bloom time so ill have to get back to you on that. have brookcot apricot. and Canadian plum grafted to it.

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FWIW Ersinger plum (Germany circa1890) began blooming two days ago. Today Kirke’s Blue (Brompton, London, circa1830) began blooming. In both cases I refer to 10% bloom as beginning.

Daytime highs of 70°F or more moved Ersinger to full bloom yesterday. A cold front is moving in so Kirke is likely to take a couple days to get to 90% (of about 30 bloom buds I counted, its debut bloom).

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Does your Canadian plum bloom coincide with other varieties Steve? My Canadian plum trees are 3 years old (no fruit yet), but they seem to be blooming later than any of my pluots, plumcots, Japanese or hybrid plums. American and Canadian plums are the most recommended to pollinate hybrid plums, but I can’t see them doing much good if their blooms don’t coincide.

What are others experiences with Canadian plums as pollenizers?


On my 2 J plum trees… (AU Rosa and Shiro)…

Last spring when I planted them… i added a graft of AU Producer.

That AU Producer graft bloomed this spring.

The bloom order this spring was… March 1… AU Rosa opened first blossoms. Then 4-5 days later AU Producer and Shiro started blooming at the same time.

AU Rosa is definately self fertile… and Shiro and AU Producer bloom at the same time. Ideal.

I added 6 other grafts to my 2 original trees this spring… all looking successful. Bueaty, South Mtn EB plumcot, Spring satin plumcot, Superior, Alderman, Vic Red american plum.

I am trying to get some varieties that bloom significantly later… to help with my late frost issues. Bueaty and Alderman are known to bloom later…and I think Superior may be later than the average J plum.

According to others… AU Cherry plum has proven to be more frost hardy than AU Rosa… I may add it next spring… Waneta blooms late and for extended time… may add it too.

AU Rosa has set fruit the last two seasons early March… only to get frosted… the fruit turn black and fall off.

Tennessee springs are not nice to Jplums… especially early blooming varieties.


Reema is as reliable here in the northeast as Shiro- it blooms at t he same time and is more flavorful- a top notch J. plum but somewhat susceptible to bac. spot while Shiro is not. It’s not a big issue here most years but might be further south.

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