Plum variety recommendation for Zone 7?

I have access to these plums to plant here just sout hof Nashville, TN

Blue damson
Santa Rosa

Any recommendations on the best of these and any variety to avoid?

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I think most plums will do well in Zone7 I think the only worry is going to be late freezes. How prone is your area? Given the list you provided I assume they are all from local nurseries? Santa Rosa, Burbank, Methley and Stanley are all wildly planted Santa Rosa is the cultivar all others are compared to for bloom times. Is also a heavy pollen producer. The Blue Damson and Stanley are Euro Plums they bloom later then the Japanese plums on the list. Overall since most of the list are older or less common cultivars my guess is they have been selected because the nurseries know they do well in the area. Just remember except for the Euro’s the other plums need cross pollination even when its claim they dont, so get 2 if not more plums.

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Also look for Shiro.

I have a prunus “burgundy” here now so this should be a cross pollinator. Thanks for the tips!

Maybe the @thecityman can recommend something. He lives in that general area and I know he’s a fan of stone fruits. Tennessee can be very humid and muggy in the summer so aside from late freezes I’d think one concern might be brown rot.

Avoid Santa Rosa, its too hard to get fruit on it.

That list looks like its from about 50 years ago, it contains none of the more recent disease-resistant Japanese plums. But I’m sure there are some good ones on there. Stanley is a standard Euro plum and Damson is the best plum for jam.

It always makes me feel good when folks here actually know me well enough to remember my preferences…and you’re certainly right, I’m a stone fruit guy through and through! I mean my preferences, not my expertise because I’m no expert. But I can tell you, @drewk , which plums have worked really well for me here just north of Nashville.

Probably my most dependable plum- the one that bears both the most fruit and the largest fruit- is Bruce. For production, it’s a winner for sure. However, I personally am not a huge fan of the taste, though you certainly might be since that’s a subjective thing. I have no other way to describe what I don’t like about it other than to say it is too “plumy”. I know, that tells you almost nothing. But it just has a really strong plum flavor, whereas other plums, even non-hybrids, taste like they have some other fruity component besides the strong plum taste.

Another plum I have very good luck with is Methley (kudos to @Matt_in_Maryland) . It is a very early bloomer and I have lost a crop due to that, but the blooms also seem more tolerant to cold than peaches are. I’ve seen temps below 32 that killed peach blooms but not methley. I like the taste a little better than Bruce.

My toka plum tree is also highly productive. But once again, I’m not a big fan of the flavor. My reply is starting to sound sort of negative or like I don’t really love plums, but I’m trying to recommend the ones that are most dependable and productive since I can’t know we like the same things. Many people love Toka…it is sometimes called the bubblegum plum (not to be confused with Stark Brother’s "Bubblegum Prune) because they say it taste like bubblegum. I definitely get a hint of that taste as well, and this plum certainly taste quite different from all my other plums. I just don’t happen to love the taste. But again, it’s highly productive and very dependable. I will say, though, that the plums are pretty small compared to others.

@scottfsmith has forgotten more about fruit and plums than I even know, and knows more than I’ll ever learn. So it is with great respect and concern that I differ from him, but I’ve had very good luck with my Santa Rosa. In fact, I respect Scott’s opinion so much and my Santa Rosa has done so good that I’m now wondering if I have another mislabeled tree! But I don’t think so. I can only tell you that my Santa Rosa has been a good tree and produces good fruit that I really enjoy the taste of. It also fruited on it’s second year (like 3 plums I think) which was about twice as fast as most of my plums. But I bought it as a potted tree and it was fairly large so it may well have been 2-3 yrs old when I planted it. But its been good for me here in Mid TN.

I have a pluot called Dragon Tears which has a long, complicated story of how I came to own it, and I probably shouldn’t share scion because it hasn’t been released yet to public. But the reason I mention it is just to say that I highly recommend you try some pluots. I have 5 of them now but most are just 1 year old so I can’t testify specifically about them yet. But what I can tell you is that Pluots definitely work well here and are far far far and away my favorite taste when compared to any of my pure plums.

BTW…that also brings to mind my very favorite fruit that I grow (at least tied with one other): Spring Satin Plumcot. I know you were asking about plums and I’ve spent 2 paragraphs on pluots and plumcots, but I implore you to consider planting a Spring Satin Plumcot. First, its near the top of my list in terms of production and dependability. I get so many that I have to thin them, and they are like that pretty much every year. They are early blooming but I’ve only lost a crop to frost once. Then in terms of taste they are just absolutely big balls of sugar. They still have a light plum taste, but also an apricot taste- they are truly a hybrid that you can determine from the presence of both fruit tastes. If you can’t tell yet, I love these things!

I have a blue Damnson but I haven’t had very good luck with it. For one, it is EXTREMELY slow growing…or it least mine has been. (to others: is that just mine for some reason or are Euro’s slower than Japanese?) It also doesn’t produce a lot of plums for me, though I will say they are a little sweeter than what I’d read and feared. In fairness to the low productivity, the pollinator I have for it is very young and smaller so it doesn’t produce a lot of blooms yet. Hopefully that will change/improe this year.

Hope this helps you (and others) a little bit. Feel free to ask questions…us Tennesseans have to work together! ha.


I would like some input from members who have any of these varieties that I am considering to add as pollinizers for my existing Asian plums,
Kuban Comet and Ozark Premiere.

I have read that most can be pollinizers but I am seeking input that would help me identify the ones that have a higher quality and taste so that I can narrow my scion list down to maybe the top 5:
If you have any of the following varieties, please give me your comments and rank your top 3:
Waneta, Black Ice, Obilnaya, Satsuma, Methley, Santa Rosa, Black Splendor, Burgandy,
Thanks and Happy New Year!!
Kent, wa

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I have grafts of Black Ice, Obilnaya, Satsuma, Methley, Santa Rosa and Burgundy.Santa Rosa came on a fruit cocktail tree and has only produced a few fruit,in about ten years,but they were pretty good and also made a lot of flowers,so probably a decent pollinator.
The ones that were tasted are Black Ice,nice flavor,a keeper.Obilnaya,only as a preserve and that was reason enough to add a scion.It seems the same breeder,developed Kuban Comet,which is not great,but might taste better as a spread.Satsuma,still waiting to try.Methley produces abundantly,even when young and is good,not super.Since we don’t get Black Knot in the PNW,we can grow this one,without concern,unlike some other parts of the country.Burgundy may produce for the first time this year.
With my limited experience,Black Ice taste,Obilnaya,in the kitchen and Methley,for the quantity.
How is Ozark Premier?Might add a few cuttings.

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I have not tried Waneta and Black Ice; the others I would rank based on the flavor (from best to worst): Black Splendor, Santa Rosa, Satsuma, Methley, Burgundy. Black Splendor and Santa Rosa are excellent, Burgundy is mediocre.

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I dont want to get too big into plums… i will be planting my first (Mount Royal) here in 6B in the spring.

I am trying to make a choice between these 3 so far.

Valor, Castleton and Empress.

So theres 4 Euro plums that interest me but maybe those arent my best choices. I want fresh eating and prunes both… so a double duty plum.

Even though my 20 year old Methley was always loaded with sweet, juicy plums, they were clingstone, and ripened over a short time, so I took it out. (Darn it! That was before I learned how to graft!)

My tastes lean toward rich and meaty flavor vs. sweet and juicy and freestone for ease of preparation.

My 10 year old Obilnaya and 8 year old Kuban Comet fit the bill for meaty and freestone and with good taste and great color, they are favorites at my fruit stand. As semi-dwarfs, they are approaching monster size - so I’d say they want to grow in this climate.
But my ‘grass is always greener’ attitude leaves me looking for a richer taste.The plum closest to my favorite is Imperial Epineuse, a prune plum that is rich, sweet-tart, and freestone. Even though it’s an aphid magnet and, as a 30 year old, seems to be in decline, its taste is perfect to me. Always looking for other trees to match…

Hi Brady,
Thanks for your comments, my Ozark Premiere and Kuban Comet were grafted on last year, so maybe I will get fruit this year. Both grafts grew vigorously so soon I hope to let you know about its taste once they produce.

Thanks Christine,
I don’t have Imperial Epineuse, but I have Stanley and Empress that seem very similar. Both are very sweet and freestone and are excellent for eating or jelly. I have not experienced aphids on either.

Bringing this thread back home, geographically speaking –

I’m just east of Nashville. Zone 7a, Nashville Basin. After days and days of research, combing all the nurseries and websites I could find (including this very thread), I finally ordered 5 plums to try in the spring. The problem is that I don’t really want 5, but I couldn’t decide on any of the 5 to give up. I finally decided to order them while I could get them, and then I can sell or trade or give away anything that I decide I don’t love by spring.

So – of these five varieties, in this area, which one or two would you toss? My two biggest goals are taste and reliability. I don’t particularly care about fruit size or whether it’s going to produce half a ton of fruit. All other things being equal, I’d choose the smaller tree (all of these are on a semi-dwarf rootstock, from Burnt Ridge).

Elephant Heart

Thanks in advance for any input!

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If your area gets Black Knot,it’s a good idea,not to grow Methley.Also to me,Shiro is not a great tasting Plum.

@thecityman – on your comments below

Spring Satin Plumcot. First, its near the top of my list in terms of production and dependability. I get so many that I have to thin them, and they are like that pretty much every year. They are early blooming but I’ve only lost a crop to frost once.

I am just south of you… down here in Southern Middle TN… and my past experience with J Plums was that they bloomed Mid/Late Feb and we hardly ever got fruit from them… late frost almost always took them out. In 12 years, got one good crop, and a couple other years very light crops. Mine both died back around 2016 and at this point I can’t remember the varieties… one was purple, the other yellow, both tasted great to us and we had no real pest problems with them… but got very little fruit … aside from that one year.

SOOOO… your comments above are encouraging to me… I need something that can take the frost and still produce.

I checked out the Spring Satin Plumcot on Starks and they list Shiro, Ozark Premier, Methley, Santa Rosa as pollinators.

I have heard that Shiro is quite frost hardy too… and had it on my list of possible J Plums to try next time.

Do any of you TN folks know if Shiro blooms with your Spring Satin Plumcot ?

I need a Frost Hardy dynamic duo to have success here.


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Thanks! I am in love with the looks of Shiro – those bright yellow plums! – but I’ve never tasted it. And looking up black knot disease just now, I see Shiro is supposed to be resistant to it. So I may keep that one. But I have no special attachment to Methley aside from its early fruit and ability to pollinate other trees.

I am no plum expert, but like you I’ve been looking for reliable plums in mid-TN. If you’ll look at the list I came up with, those are either late-bloomers or reputed to be frost resistant or otherwise successful in the state.

P.S. you guys are SO bad. I just added a Sweet Treat pluerry and a Spring Satin plumcot to my order. Hope and greed both spring eternal!:grin:

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