Plum trees are part of the genus Prunus, a genus of more than 200 species of trees and shrubs that occur in areas ranging from woodlands and thickets to coasts and cliffs. Known for their showy, spring-blooming flowers, plum trees also produce distinctive red to purple fruit in summer that is oftentimes edible and frequently enjoyed by birds. Plum trees require moist, well-drained soil to thrive and are oftentimes short-lived.
American plum (Prunus Americana), also called wild plum, is a rapidly growing deciduous plum tree variety that has a medium texture. It has a thicket-forming shape with spreading branches and a broad crown. The side branches on American plum trees are distinct because of their thorns. American plum trees grow 12 to 20 feet tall and produce 2- to 4-inch-long foliage. The early spring-blooming white flowers on American plum trees are fragrant and followed by the 1-inch, red to yellow fruit in mid-summer. Hardy, American plum trees thrive with neglect, creating a low-maintenance plum tree variety. They grow best in full sun and tolerate a wide range of soil types. Plant American plum trees in USDA zones 5 to 9.
Blireiana plum (Prunus x bilireana) is a variety of plum tree with a moderate growth rate and medium texture. It has a rounded form and dense branching. Blireiana plum trees grow 15 to 20 feet tall and wide and produce double, 1-inch-wide, light pink flowers that emerge in early spring and are followed by their purple to red fruit. The foliage on Blireiana plum trees starts off red and purple and fades to green. In fall, foliage casts a striking red and bronze that lights up the landscape with color. Blireiana plum trees grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. They are suitable to grow in USDA zones 5 to 8.
Purple Leaf Plum
Purple leaf plum (Prunus cerasifera), also called the Myrobalan plum, is a deciduous plum tree with a moderate to rapid growth rate. It has a rounded, shrubby form and spreading branches. It grows 15 to 25 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide and produces fragrant, white flowers in April. Following the flowers are the 1-inch red fruit in summer. Short-lived, purple leaf plum trees grow best in full sun and well-drained, moist soil. Plant purple leaf plum trees in USDA Zones 5 to 8.