How to Care for the Dwarf Santa Rosa Plum Tree


The Santa Rosa plum produces fruit with sweet yellow flesh and dark, dusky maroon skin. This Japanese variety plum is one of the larger fruiting plum trees, but by grafting a section of a full size Santa Rosa plum onto a dwarf root stock, you get a dwarf Santa Rosa plum tree. Because the fruiting part of the dwarf plum has the genetic material of the full size tree, the fruit on a dwarf tree is the same as on a full-size tree.

Step 1

Plant dwarf Santa Rosa plum tree saplings in the early spring as soon as the soil is thawed enough to work. Alternately, plant in the late fall when the soil is moist, before the first hard frosts. In mild climates where the winters are cool and damp, plant in the winter between December and January.

Step 2

Dig the hole at the planting site about twice as large as the spread of the root system. Fruit trees come either in pots filled with soil, or bare root with the roots wrapped in plastic or cloth for protection. If your tree came bare root, dig the hole large enough so that you can spread the roots out in the hole.

Step 3

Place the roots of the dwarf plum into the hole so that the base of the trunk is level with the top of the surrounding land. Fill in under and around the roots until the hole is full and the tree is secure in the ground. Pat down the soil to firm up the area.

Step 4

Water the area after planting to settle the soil around the roots. Apply 2 gallons of water to your sapling each week split up into two or three waterings. Apply water slowly with a hose or drip line so that it can seep into the soil.

Step 5

Fertilize three times a year using 1/4 lb. of a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer. Apply fertilizer in late February, June and again in August. Keep the area around the roots free of grass and weeds to avoid competition for water and nutrients.

Step 6

Prune dwarf Santa Rosa plum trees in the winter when the tree is dormant. Remove any diseased or dead wood and small, spindly branches. Prune plum trees so that there are four main branches evenly spaced with additional fruit bearing branches emerging from the main limbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer
  • Water
  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Growing Plums in Florida
  • Pacific Groves: Fruit Tree Varieties
  • Longwood Gardens: Dwarf Fruit Trees
  • British Colombia Ministry of Agriculture and Land: Plums in Your Garden
Keywords: growing fruit trees, dwarf fruit trees, fruit tree care

About this Author

Eulalia Palomo has been a freelance writer since 2009, with her work appearing on GardenGuides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University.