photo: Prunus Mexicana Mexican plum
Prunus Mexicana. The greenish small ones. Austin. 2009-02-26.

February 28th, 2009
Prunus mexicana

Recently a reader asked me how many years it takes Mexican plums to start blooming. Of course, as with all garden answers, it depends. Looking back on my records, I see that it took a good 5 to 7 years for the ones I planted to start blooming prolifically. My trees came in 1-gallon pots and were probably only about 5 or 6 feet tall when I got them.

My Mexican plums are understory plants. They receive plenty of sunshine from November until they bloom in February but are in the shade of large cedar elms the rest of the year. I do not provide them with supplemental water now. I did water them some the first two or three years in the worst of the summer heat. Typically their leaves look a bit ratty and forlorn by August.

Dateline: 2006-03-04

My two smaller Mexican plum trees are covered in a froth of white blossom this week. I planted them in 1995, but it’s been only in the last two or three years that they have created the effect I originally envisioned–a solid white foam of flowers. I was inspired by the trees in my neighbor’s yard and this year almost all our trees are blooming together which is just what I imagined.

I also have a larger Mexican plum which I bought from Gardens. I think they must be slightly different varieties. The larger tree is has formed a large oval shape while the two smaller trees spread and almost weep. The large tree doesn’t flower as heavily, even though it is an older, much bigger tree. The flowers have a tint of rose at their throats; the flowers on the two smaller trees are tinted green.

photo: Prunus Mexicana
Prunus Mexicana. The pinkish large one. Austin. 2006-03-01.

Mexican plums are intended to be ornamental. The large tree bears ume-sized plums which are mostly seed, fit only for birds. I’m tempted to try making the Japanese liquor umeshu.
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