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Everything You Need to Know About Damson Plums

Plum trees are a great option to add to your backyard orchard for both visual appeal and to have fresh fruit at your fingertips. If you love to can fresh fruit or use fruit in your baked goods, a blue damson plum tree is a wonderful option for you.

Every plum tree that you see seems to offer something different. Newport plums offer stunning visual colors while not offering fruit commonly eaten by humans. At the same time, Methley plums provide delicious rich plum flavor. Damson plums, or Prunus Institia, give you a little of both worlds. They provide you with beautiful spring colors and provide you with a useable plum in your cooking recipes.

No matter what variety of fruit trees you decide to add to your outdoor space, each will bring with it various health advantages as well as unique colors and fruit. By arranging your backyard orchard in a way to have multiple fruit trees, you will have plenty of fresh fruit to choose from that is right out your back door.

We will break down the different ways you can use Damson plums as well as how to successfully add a blue Damson Plum tree to your backyard space.

Looking to buy a Damson Plum Tree? Check availability. Here too.

Damson Plums on a Tree.
Damson plums ripening on plum tree growing in an organic garden.

What is a Damson Plum?

Damson Plums bloom in the late spring and offer not only a delicious fruit but also beautiful showy white clusters that cover the tree. Because they bloom in late spring, they are less likely to be damaged by frost. Also, once you plant a Damson Plum tree, you can expect a fruitful harvest in 2-4 years.

The dark green foliage along with the purplish-blue fruit, complement each other to create a stunning display. Once the fruit begins to form, you can expect to pick perfectly ripened fruit in the late summer months before winter comes in strong. a Blue Damson Plum offers both visual appeal and, when added to jams and baked goods, an immense flavor. While many plums are great eaten fresh off the tree, Damson plums are not recommended for fresh eating.

You can expect to pick the small Damson Plums from August to September every year. Damson plums are oval and are considered clingfruit because the fruit is attached to the stone inside. When eating a blue damson plum, you must eat around the stone it is attached to, knowing that ahead of time is crucial.

What Does a Damson Plum Taste Like?

Purple Damson Plums

The taste of Damson Plum depends on when it is harvested off of the tree. If you pick one too soon, you could bite into a very sour plum, while a fully ripe plum boasts a sweet-sour flavor that is bitter unless added with other sweeteners.

When you take a bite into the purplish-blue exterior, you are greeted by a sweet yellow flesh that is delicious as a snack or a sweet component of any meal. Because a Blue Damson plum has a sweet-sour flavor, they are often used in a variety of jelly and jams where sweeteners are added.

How to Use a Damson Plum?

Sliced Damson Plums.
Fresh damson plums with plum cake.

A Damson Plum has a variety of health benefits as well as different uses that make it a perfect addition to any backyard.

Damson Plums can be used in various ways throughout the kitchen. They can be served fresh, stewed, as well as cooked into multiple dishes. From a delicious ice cream topping to a great pastry filling, Damson Plums are a great fruit to bake with. They are also a great option for canning, so you can enjoy their sweet flavor throughout the year in jams and jelly.

Damson Plums are stocked full of fiber and vitamin c, making them a great healthy snack to grab on the go. With a strong amount of Vitamin C, Damson Plums are a perfect way to boost your immune system while also supporting healthy hair and nails.

A Damson Plum tree not only provides health benefits and plenty of ways to use it in the kitchen, but it also provides a great habitat for birds and other animals.

Also, butterflies love the beautiful white flowers that appear in the late spring season. With the perfect cover for butterfly caterpillar and larva, you will often see a variety of butterflies flocking to your tree year after year. Beautiful color, attracts a variety of animals, and useable fruit; what could be better in a fruit tree?

How to Grow Damson Plum Trees?

You can find a Damson plum tree as both a dwarf variety and standard. A dwarf Damson Plum tree grows to be ten feet wide and ten feet tall compared to the standard plum tree being twenty feet tall and twenty feet wide. That means if you are limited on space, you can grow Dwarf Damson Plum trees on your back porch with ease.

Damson plum trees have a moderate growth rate, so where you decide to plant them is crucial. They typically grow a foot to two feet every single year. Damson Plum Trees also thrive in full sun and well-draining soil.

Damson plums are perfect for any soil type but love growing in moist soil. They are also incredibly cold-hardy and do well in various growing zones. They grow best in growing zones 5 through hardiness zones 7. Damson Plum trees are very wind-resistant and can withstand a variety of circumstances.

While many fruit trees need another tree to pollinate, the Damson Plum tree is self-fertile. Many people recommend planting more than one so you have a bountiful harvest every year, although it is unnecessary.

One of the best aspects of a Damson Plum tree is that it does well with little to no maintenance once it is well established. That is why giving your plum tree a healthy start is crucial, so it can produce well for years to come. Because they are self-pollinating, you must ensure you space your tree away from others so they have plenty of room to grow.

Many plum trees are shipped as bare root trees, so you will need proper well-drained soil to fill in around your Damson Plum tree once it is planted. Because the blue Damson Plum does fine in various soil and hardiness zones, once it is established, you do not need to worry about much maintenance and upkeep. Also, this type of plum tree gives you an oval shape that is a perfect accent to any yard.

Where to buy a Blue Damson Plum Tree?

Depending on your location, you can often find Damson plum trees at your local nursery.

Alternatively, you can buy the Damson plum tree online at Stark Bros or from Restoring Eden Nursery.


Do I need to prune Damson Plums?

The only time you truly need to prune a Damson plum tree is to remove any old dead branches that have been leftover from previous growing seasons.

Organic Damson Plums
Topview background from organic Plums or damson, own garden or market

Can you eat Damsons straight from the tree?

You technically can eat a Damson plum straight from the tree, but Damson Plums are not recommended for fresh eating. Oftentimes Damson Plums have a sweet and sour flavor and can not be the most pleasant plum to eat straight from the tree. Damson plums are best when used in baking or combined to create a jam or jelly.


Blue Damson plum trees offer you bright white flowers in the later spring months and a large bounty of fruit around the months of August and September. While you may think that having a plum tree in your backyard gives you easy access to fresh-picked fruit that you can eat right off the tree, the Damson Plum is not the tree for that.

The Damson plum tree provides you with fruit that is often sweet and sour, making it the perfect fruit to add to recipes, but not the fruit you want to eat straight from the tree. When it comes to choosing a plum tree, Damson plums are a great option for those that love to can and create preserves from fresh fruit. Also, once this plum tree is established well, it requires very little maintenance and upkeep.

Another amazing aspect of Damson plums is that you can buy a regular or dwarf variety to fit your space. If you buy the dwarf variety, you simply need a space that holds a ten-foot by ten-foot tree, whereas a normal tree will be twenty feet tall and twenty feet wide. You also don’t need to prune a blue damson plum tree, and it requires little water once it is established.

If you are looking for a plum tree that is easy to grow, produces beautiful flowers, and gives you fresh fruit right out your backdoor, the Damson plum is for you.

Excited for more plum content? Then check out our plum trees page for the latest growing tips, care guides, recipes, and more!


Wednesday 23rd of August 2023

My allotment has inherited damson bushes. Well, the previous owner cut down a damson tree (very prolific I'm told; he just didn't like them. Now a whole set of damson bushes are pushing up, 4 or 5 feet by now. But they are close together. Should I thin the bushes out? If so are there any dos and don'ts?


Tuesday 29th of August 2023

I would thin them out to ensure even sunlight & air circulation.


Thursday 11th of May 2023

I have a blue damson plum here in zone nine be in Florida. I’ve had it two years now and have not seen any fruit. Is my climate too warm to produce fruit with this tree? Sometimes the nursery sell things here that I don’t really grow well here. I guess IShould have done more research before I planted it. Any chance this will fruit and my zine? It’s about 6 foot tall now


Friday 12th of May 2023

Gurneys says it requires 600 chill hours. The tree may not get that in Florida.

Renee Hoffman

Wednesday 8th of June 2022

I have two Damson plum trees planted two years ago. One produced one plum last year. I have one that has yellow leaves yet no bugs to the naked eye. I’m not sure if there’s something to be done


Wednesday 23rd of August 2023

@Renee Hoffman, I believe our tree is 4 years old this year and just started yielding. it yields ALOT just to forewarn you


Friday 10th of June 2022

Likely all they need is your patience! :) They could take as many as 5 years to really start producing.


Wednesday 18th of May 2022

Last year the leaves of my damson tree were holey as if eaten by something. A lot of the plums were distorted with a sticky substance oozing from them. What can I do to prevent this happening again?


Saturday 21st of May 2022

"Holey" oftentimes means a caterpillar or worm of some sort. Watch carefully this year, and if you start seeing holes on the leaves, look carefully to find and identify the critter that is responsible, then you can appropriately deal with them.