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The Satsuma Plum: Everything You Need To Know

The Satsuma plum is a fruit that has been beloved by fruit enthusiasts for decades. With its vibrant orange skin and juicy, sweet flesh, it’s easy to see why this plum variety is so popular.

Originating from Japan, Satsuma plums have been cultivated for centuries, but they only made their way to the United States in the early 1900s. Since then, they have become a staple fruit in many households, and they are also widely used in cooking and baking.

Keep reading to explore how to grow Satsuma Plum trees, whether they need a pollinator, how long it takes for them to produce fruit, when they ripen, and more. Satsuma plums are rich in vitamin C and iron, and their deep red interior makes them a beautiful addition to any garden.

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

Satsuma Plum Basket

What is a Satsuma Plum?

A Satsuma Plum is a Japanese variety of tree that produce juicy fruit that you can eat right from the tree. Although the name suggests that this variety is from Japan, it originated in China. Japan is included in the name of the Satsuma Plum tree because it was introduced to America by Japan. 

Many people choose to plant and grow Satsuma plums for their delicious fruit that is perfect for snacking or adding to preserves. Satsuma Plums grow to around 12 feet and once they are mature and established will continue to provide you with plenty of fruit to enjoy year after year. 

Satsuma Plums are chosen by many because they are a large sweet plum variety that produces dark fruit that is perfect for canning or enjoying freshly picked. The inside of the plum is a deep red and will satisfy your tastebuds with scrumptious Satsuma fruit. Combined with their reddish-purple skin and their dark red interior, these stone fruits are commonly referred to as the blood plum, and for good reason. 

Besides having beautiful blooms in the Spring and fresh fruit in the late summer, these Japanese plums also provide you with an incredible source of vitamin c and iron. Growing plums on your property will set you and your family up to enjoy all of the benefits that plums offer. They can even be used in a variety of dishes such as paired with ice cream and made into chutney. You also have the option to freeze plums or store theme in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

The possibilities that you gain from growing a Satsuma plum tree on your property are endless. Your backyard orchard is off to a great start by growing plum, peach, and apricot trees that will give you plenty of fruit to enjoy with your family and friends. 

How to Grow Satsuma Plum Trees 

Satsuma Plums are a delicious variety that should be planted while the trees are still dormant, in late winter or early spring.

This variety of plum trees require full to partial sun and are not fans of frost and extreme cold temperatures. When planning the site for your Satsuma Plum trees, you need to find a space in full sun that accommodates two Japanese Plums.

Another aspect of choosing a location for your plum tree is to find a space away from any wind. Placing your Satsuma Plum tree in a windy location will likely cause any blooms that grow to be blown off in the heavy wind.

After you have found a suitable spot for your new trees, you will need to make sure the soil is ready for planting. You can add organic material in the spring to have all the nutrients in the soil that your Satsuma Plums will need. These plum trees do best with well-drained soil that allows them to soak in water without being overly drenched. 

Next, dig a hole three times the size of the root ball of your plum tree. By digging a larger hole, you give the tree room to spread its roots freely and successfully. When digging the holes for both of your trees, make sure to space each hole at least twenty feet apart. 

Finally, place your Satsuma plum trees in the hole you created so that around three inches of the tree are left above the ground. You will then add soil in and around the tree and create a small mound around the tree’s base. 

When it comes to watering, it is recommended to water your Satsuma tree once a week during the first year of heavy growth. After that, you can cut back to watering your tree regularly to keep your tree happy and healthy. 

Do Satsuma Plums need a Pollinator? 

Bee on Plum Flowers

Yes, Satsuma Plums are an incredible addition to any garden because of their fresh and delicious ready-to-eat fruit, but they must have a cross-pollinator to produce fruit. The main thing about Satsuma Plums is that they are not self pollinators and need another Japanese Plum tree to pollinate with which will allow them to produce fruit. 

You can choose to pollinate with any Japanese plums such as Toka (aka Bubble Gum Plum), or Shiro. Santa Rosa plums are also a great option to use as a cross-pollinator for your Satsuma plum tree. The tree will grow up to 12 feet, so make sure you have placed your plum trees an adequate distance apart from each other. By planting your Satsuma plum with another Japanese plum tree, you are setting up your plum tree for successful cross-pollination.  There are plenty of varieties you can choose from to allow your plum tree to pollinate for years and years. 

Satsuma Plums

How long does it take a Satsuma Plum to produce fruit? 

With many fruit trees, you will likely not get fruit until it has a few years to mature. Once fruit trees start producing, you will have fruit for years. These trees typically take two to five years to reach the age that they will successfully produce fruit. 

Satsuma plum trees have a hardiness for climates that get below 30 degrees but should be protected from hard freezes. When it comes to plant hardiness, these plum trees thrive in USDA zone 6 to 10. 

Organic Satsuma Plums

When does Satsuma Plum Fruit Ripen? 

Satsuma Plums produce beautiful blooms around the month of March and fruit will continue to grow and ripen until August or late summer. In August, you can take a basket out to harvest your delicious plums or pick one for a mid-day snack. 

One important aspect of when your plums will ripen is where you live and the climate in your area. Satsuma plum trees thrive in warmer climates and do not do well in frost. Since these plum trees usually bloom earlier than most, they are also in danger of freezing in colder climates in the month of March and beyond. 

Satsuma Plums will continue to ripen once they are picked, you can ripen them in a cool area to have fully ripe fruit at your fingertips. The refrigerator is a great choice to keep your plums ready to eat while allowing them to ripen beautifully. While in the refrigerator, Satsuma plums can last longer which will give you plenty of time to enjoy them over a couple of weeks. 

Where to Buy Satsuma Plum Trees 

Satsuma plum trees are a popular variety, and gardeners can find them at many different online nurseries. Some of our favorites include:

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


Sunday 11th of June 2023

My Satsuma plum tree is about 5 years old. 1st year, we had blooms but only 3 plums and they were the size of cherries. Last year same but had more. This year we have more but still the size of cherries. Can you recommend any information Thank you


Wednesday 14th of June 2023

@Diane, could be many things. Poor pollination, lack of water or lack of nutrients. perhaps you need to provide your tree with more water when the fruit is setting? I would also add compost in spring too and make sure you have some pollinator attracting plants close by e.g. lemon balm, chives, comfrey and borage.


Monday 12th of June 2023

That's odd. How confident are you that the tree is indeed Satsuma?