Excalibur Plum Tree Care: Tips For Growing Excalibur Plums
By: Mary Ellen Ellis
For a tasty, large plum in your backyard orchard, consider growing Excalibur. Care for an Excalibur plum tree is easier than for some other fruit trees, although you will need another plum tree nearby for pollination.
Excalibur Plum Facts
Excalibur is a cultivar that was developed about 30 years ago to improve upon the Victoria plum. The fruits are larger and also are generally considered tastier than those from the Victoria tree. Excalibur plums are large, red, and sweet, with a yellow flesh.
You can enjoy them fresh, but Excalibur plums also stand up well to cooking and baking. They can also be canned or frozen to preserve them through the winter. Fresh plums will only hold up for a few days. Expect to get fewer fruits than you would from a Victoria tree but of higher quality. Get ready to harvest your plums in early or mid-August.
Growing Excalibur Plums
Excalibur plum tree care is considered to be relatively easy. With the right conditions, this tree will grow and thrive, producing abundant fruit each year. Plant your tree in a spot with soil that drains well and that is adequately fertile. Add compost or other organic material to the soil before planting if necessary.
The tree will also need a spot with full sun and enough space to grow. Watering regularly is essential in the first season while your tree establishes strong roots, but in subsequent years you should only need to water when rainfall is unusually light.
Excalibur trees should also be pruned at least once a year, and while it has good disease resistance, watch out for signs of illness or pests. Being proactive about disease is important for protecting your tree.
Excalibur is not self-pollinating, so you will need another plum tree in the same general area. Acceptable pollinators for an Excalibur tree include Victoria, Violetta, and Marjories Seedling. Depending on your location, the plums will be ready to harvest and eat fresh or cook with in August.
This article was last updated on
Read more about Plum Trees
Plum Trees or Prunus Domestica
Plum Fruit trees are popular for their striking spring flowers and tasty fruit. Pictured here is River’s Early Prolific in bloom.
The Prunus Domestica is a family of fruit trees better known as plum trees, though not all plum varieties belong to this specific family. Exceptionally showy in the spring and with delicious fruit in the summer or autumn, plum trees keep on giving throughout the year and ask very little in return. We offer plum trees for sale in various sizes and bearing different types of fruits, all of which are fully hardy and suited to growing in the United Kingdom climate.
Plum Fruit trees are typically small to medium-sized deciduous cultivars, which makes them well suited for gardens of any size. You can choose to grow a single fruit tree as a specimen tree for a compact space, or plant them en masse, for an abundant fruit production and masses of delicate blossoms in the spring.
Plum trees produce oval, juicy fruit with a stone inside, and most varieties are sweet and tasty whether eaten freshly picked from the tree or cooked in compotes or preserve. Some varieties can be slightly tart, such as damson plums, and are usually used only for jams and jellies. When it comes to storing excess fruit, most plums freeze well or can be dried if you like prunes. Plums are rich in vitamins C and K and are an excellent source of potassium and fiber: not only that they taste heavenly, but they are also the perfect healthy treat.
In terms of care, plums do not require much to thrive. Plant your tree in a spot in full sun and well-drained soil, preferable fertile. Although plums tend to be hardy and robust, all varieties will appreciate a sheltered position in the garden, where their delicate blossoms would be away from harsh, cold winds.
PLUM TREES. A-H
Plums belong to Prunus genus which are related to peach nectarine and even almonds, all of which are considered as Drupes, fruit that have a hard stone pit surrounding the seed.
Plums, peach and nectarines are very similar in formation and are thought to have to have originated from one species, but with the skill and care together with detail for taste, colour and appeal, made by growers/grafters, they have evolved to some varied and interesting fruits. plums are delicious fruits that are not only flavoursome and juicy,but can be used in cooking, to make plum jams, plum pies, plum wines and so on, and are as delightful just in the eating. If you choose a plum tree my suggestion would be of one that can be used for eating (beware they may disappear before your eyes), as well as one of the uses suggested.
When selecting a plum tree take the advice of your garden/horticultural centre as they have the skill and knowledge to help and advise you of a suitable choice to suit your site conditions. Whilst not all gardening centres grow the varying plum trees included in my lists, they have probably taken supplies from growers of repute, and their suggestions are given knowing the reliability of the source.
The Avalon plum tree is partially self fertile, from around the Bristol area in the U.K. Producing a large oval/round plum, which is classed as a good quality dessert plum, ready for picking mid August.
A self fertile tree, the Belle de Louvain produces a very large purple plum, which is both firm textured and sweet. Suitable for both culinary and dessert uses this plum ripens in mid August.
The Black beauty plum is similar in shape and size to a Red beauty but with a darker more purplish black skin, a very juicy ( beware the dribble factor) and sweet plum.
A medium sized plum, produced on the Burbank tree which is partially self fertile, and is often heavily set with plums, so be sure to support the limbs of this plum tree, for should they snap off fungal disease may enter the tree and destroy it. The plum tree Burbank is a low growing flat topped tree, bearing plums that have bright red mottled yellow skins and a deep yellow flesh that has a very good flavour.
If you are looking for one of the best tasting late season plums then Cassleman is a plum tree to consider. With a bright red skin the plum flesh is a deep amber, tasting both sweet and meaty.
Czar plum trees are good croppers especially if sited and trained on a south facing wall. This plum was a cross of two varieties, raised in the U.K. around 1870 by Thomas Rivers, and named to coincide and honour the visit of the Russian Emperor. The plums are round, to oval, purpleish skin having yellow to green flesh and a very juicy flavour. no pollinator is required, as the Czar plum is self fertile tree.
The Edwards plum is known for it’s reliability to produce large heavy crops of plums with dark blue skins having a greenish-yellow flesh, however, I should warn you that unless you like a “sharp” taste, these plums are best cooked, when you can add your sweetener to taste.
EL Dorado produces a plum with a brightred skin with purple highlights, whilst the amber flesh of the plum has a mellow sweet flavour. One of the assets of this plum is that it stays firm during cooking, and this makes it an ideal plum for canning or preserving to give you some idea of it’s size, you will have between 5 to 8 plums in the pound.
The Elephant Heart plum tree produces a large, dark red/purple conical plum, which has a red/purple juicy sweet flesh, in fact a all purpose plum as it is not only good for eating fresh, but ideal for bottling, preserving or canning. You could say a plum with a built in dribble factor.
(Nothing to do with King Arthur or his sword). The plum of Excalibur, in many ways is very similar to the Victoria plum, an early season fruiting/ripening plum, which is large and of excellent quality.
The colouring of the Fiar plum reminds me of a damson, with the deep blue to purplish black skin, but the amber flesh of plum has a sweet taste when ripe.
The Herman plum tree is a self pollinator, with the plums ready for picking in mid season, (late July). A medium sized plum with a blueish black skin with flesh of excellent quality.
Just the writing about plums and their flavours makes my mouth water, so I will continue with yet more descriptions, just to whet your appetite, but do remember that with a little TLC (Tender loving care) you can have a fruit tree that will yield plums for the rest of your life.
How to Identify Different Plum Trees
Plum trees (Prunus spp.) come in a wide range of different species and cultivated varieties, or cultivars. Plum trees are among the cold-hardiest of fruit trees, some species growing in regions with winter temperatures that are well below 0 degrees F. Different types of plum trees can be difficult to tell apart, especially when they aren’t fruiting, but you can distinguish the species or cultivar by looking at many other characteristics. About six or seven main plum tree species are the most common throughout the world.
Identify the American plum tree (Prunus Americana) by its 10- to 30-foot mature height and 5- to 12-inch trunk diameter. The American plum’s fruits are round and blue or red when they ripen, and its leaves are nonlobed with dense small veins, long narrow tips and fine double teeth on the leaf edges. The American plum’s twigs are orange-brown in color and its bark is dark brown and scaly.
- come in a wide range of different species and cultivated varieties, or cultivars.
- Plum trees are among the cold-hardiest of fruit trees, some species growing in regions with winter temperatures that are well below 0 degrees F. Different types of plum trees can be difficult to tell apart, especially when they aren’t fruiting, but you can distinguish the species or cultivar by looking at many other characteristics.
Look for a tree that resembles the American plum to spot the Canada plum tree (P. nigra). Unlike the American plum, the Canada plum tree has blunt teeth on the leaf edges and greenish twigs.
Identify the Damson plum tree (P. institia) by its 1-inch-diameter, dark blue or purple fruits with yellow, firm inner flesh that ripen from August through October. The Damson plum has oval to elliptical leaves that are green and sometimes wrinkled on the upper surfaces with pale-colored, softly hairy undersides. This plum tree grows 10 to 20 feet tall and wide with an oval-shaped canopy.
Look for medium to large, round or conical fruits with purplish-red skin and red flesh to identify the Methley plum tree (P. salicina). Also growing 10 to 20 feet tall and wide, the Methley plum tree has bright-green leaves and blooms in white umbrella-shaped flower clusters as early as late winter, often remaining on the tree while covered with snow.
- Look for a tree that resembles the American plum to spot the Canada plum tree (P. nigra).
- Identify the Damson plum tree (P. institia) by its 1-inch-diameter, dark blue or purple fruits with yellow, firm inner flesh that ripen from August through October.
Spot the Mexican plum tree (P. mexicana) by looking for its small, red fruits and orange autumn leaves. The Mexican plum also blooms in late winter with showy, fragrant white flowers, but this tree grows 15 to 30 feet tall with a rounded canopy that’s 20 to 25 feet wide at maturity.
Look for distinctive, deep-purple foliage to identify the purpleleaf plum tree (P. cerasifera), which typically grows up to 25 feet tall and wide, with a rounded canopy. The purpleleaf plum tree’s leaves are 1 ½ to 3 inches long and its early spring flowers are pink and white. Purpleleaf plum trees produce reddish, 1 ¼-inch-diameter, round fruits in late summer.
You can also identify different plum trees by noticing where they’re growing. The American and Canada plum trees can grow in the coldest regions and cannot tolerate much heat, while the Damson plum tree is hardy down to -15 degrees F and can tolerate a wide range of soil types. The Methley plum is also hardy down to -15 degrees F and can tolerate high heat with a short dormancy period, but prefers lower humidity and rainfall while actively growing. The Mexican plum is hardy down to only -5 degrees F, but it can grow in nearly any soil type and is drought-tolerant when established. The purpleleaf plum withstands temperatures down to -25 degrees F and prefers acidic, well-draining soils, but tolerates some heat and drought.
Don’t confuse the Methley plum tree with the Burbank plum, both of which are derived from the same species. Unlike the Methley variety, the Burbank plum tree can grow up to 35 feet tall and produces red and golden-yellow fruits. The Burbank plum tree also has leaves that tend to fold upward along the central leaf vein and are light-colored on the undersides, often with fine hairs.
OPAL FRUIT PRODUCTION TIME
Your town has not been set, the average main flowering time for your Opal plum tree in the UK is the third week of April. Fruit will be ready for picking in the first week of August. Click here if you want to set the dates to your home town.
Flowering and fruit production dates vary according to the weather in any particular growing season so the above dates may well change slightly from one year to the next. The flowering date above is when the plum tree produces the maximum number of blossoms, it will also produce blossom, although less, a week or two either side of the date given.