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This article compares the best plum tree varieties commonly grown in the UK. Each variety can be researched in more detail by clicking on the plum variety name for a more comprehensive description.

At the end of this article we suggest three varieties which will pollinate each other very successfully and provide a lengthy cropping season for the average UK garden.


FACTORS USED IN THE COMPARISON


First, the plum tree varieties compared below are in alphabetic order not order of preference. It is almost impossible to recommend a particular variety from those described below because each person will have different needs and garden situations.

There are three different different types of plum trees as far as taste goes. Those which are only suitable for cooking jams, sauces, pie-fillings etc., those which are best for eating and those which do a good job for both. The problem here is that the choice of good plum tree may suit one person but not another, however, there are some favourite plum varieties which have stood the test of time.

AVALON PLUM TREE


A new variety of plum which in most areas is more than a match for most other varieties. Taste and disease resistance are particularly good. This is primarily a top quality eating plum but it also cooks well when harvested slightly earlier.

Avalon plum

Click here to go to our comprehensive description and pictures of the Avalon plum tree.

BELLE DE LOUVAIN


Best used as a cooking plum, this variety will do well in all sites and tolerates shady and windy spots in particular. Self-fertile and crops from mid to late august. Click here for detailed information about this variety.

BLUE TIT


Delicious small plums which are both for eating and for cooking. Reliable crops year on year. Fruit is produced in mid-August and this variety is self-fertile. We have one in our garden and can recommend it highly.

Blue tit plum

Click here to go to our comprehensive description and pictures of the Blue Tit plum tree.

CAMBRIDGE GAGE


The fruits are smaller than your average plum but that's as expected for a Gage. The fruit colour is yellow / green, turning slightly more yellow and pink as it ripens ........

Cambridge Gage

Click here to go to our comprehensive description of the Cambridge Gage tree.

CZAR


We recommend it for two reasons and the first is that it makes a very reliable cooking plum which crops very early in the season. The second reason is that it thrives in conditions where lesser plum trees would fail. Cold, shade and poor soil ........

Czar plum

Click here for our in depth description of this plum tree with pictures.

FARLEIGH


Dating back to the early 1800s Farleigh damson trees regularly produce a large crop year in year out. They are exceptionally hardy and were often used as windbreaks for more tender fruit ........

Farleigh damsons

Click here for our in depth description of Farleigh damson trees.

JEFFERSON


Jefferson is one of the best tasting plums with a firmish texture, lots of juice and sweetness. Another plus point for this variety is that it crops over an unusually long period of about ten days. Click here for our in depth description of this plum tree with pictures.

LIZZIE


A very early cropping plum variety which stands frost at blossom time very well. One of the sweetest of all the eating plums. Self fertile, cropping in early to mid July. This is a new variety which looks to be a very good choice.

MIRABELLE


We have included Mirabelle here for a couple of reasons firstly because it is so easy to grow in the UK, so easy in fact that it is often found growing wild. The picture of the plums below are taken from a tree which has grown in significant shade on a countryside pathway but it still produces a large crop of fruit every year.

Mirabelle Plum fruits

There are several varieties but the one almost exclusively grown in the UK is Mirabelle de Nancy. The fruit is cherry sized yellow plums, masses of them, which are ready from mid August to early September depending on weather conditions. They originate from the Lorraine area of France and traditionally are harvested by placing a large sheets under the tree and shaking it. Ripe fruits will fall off easily and can be collected in the sheets. It regularly produces a large crop each year.

The plums can be eaten raw although the texture is not nearly as juicy as many other plum or greengage varieties. Their primary use is for cooking and they make excellent tarts and jams.

OPAL


A cross between a gage and a plum, Opal has taken on the full sweet flavour of the gage side of its parents but with a slightly larger fruit. Plums are produced early in the year, late July in some areas, and ...... read our detailed and full review of this plum tree variety (including picture) here.
 

SHROPSHIRE DAMSON


We have included a damson here because they make the best jam of all time! The bitter sweet taste is out of this world. This damson will tolerate almost all conditions although water-logging will be a problem. Self-fertile producing fruit in mid to late August.
 

VICTORIA


An old variety which has most definitely stood the test of time as both an eating and a cooking plum. A very reliable tree which can produce a crop so large that the branches break. Keep an eye out for this when the plums are forming and prune about half of them off if the crop looks to be large.
 
Victoria plum tree

Victoria plums

Self-fertile, Victoria produce a good crop of plums in August and September. Click here for our in depth review of the Victoria plum tree including how to prune them, pests and diseases, pollination partners, flowering and fruiting times adjusted to your area of the UK.

WARWICKSHIRE DROOPER


The Warwickshire Drooper is a superb plum tree to grow in most parts of the UK. It has lovely looking yellow skinned plums which are slightly smaller than average, two small bites of heavenly taste. Kids love them because they are on the sweet side when mature and the yellow flesh comes away easily from the stone ........
 
Warwickshire Drooper plum

Click here for our in depth review of the Warwickshire Drooper plum tree including how to prune them, pests and diseases, pollination partners, flowering and fruiting times adjusted to your area of the UK.

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