10 to 30 ft.
8 by 12 ft.
central and eastern US
USDA zones 3-8
hardy to 8,500 ft.
American plum is a small, native deciduous tree or large shrub found naturally between forests and open grasslands. Fragrant white flowers appear before the leaves emerge in spring.
It produces small, red plums which are quite attractive to birds, but are only somewhat palatable to humans. Its leaves are a shiny medium to dark green in color in summer, changing to yellow and orange in fall.
Specimens in the wild often spread into large, thicket-like colonies.
One tree-form American plum grows in low water zone at the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden. It has proven to be a drought-tolerant tree with attractive white flowers in spring. It occasionally produces fruit, which is moderately palatable. It is sometimes damaged by deer.
Remove lower branches and suckers to preserve a single-trunked specimen. Prune when young to develop a strong tree when mature.