The name “thundercloud” might give people the wrong impression about the Thundercloud Plum Tree because it sounds a bit fierce. However, these plums are delightful in jams and pies. You can even snack on them raw. Plus, their trees are ornamental.
Before you rush out to purchase one, it could help for you to better understand what type of care the Thundercloud plum tree requires to thrive. Additionally, you should learn where you should purchase the trees from, so you receive a healthy plant that’ll thrive well.
Firstly, the thundercloud plum’s scientific name is Prunus cerasifera. It classifies as a cherry plum and is a type of red plum tree. Naturally, this plant originated in western Asia and the Caucasian Mountains — a range spanning through Europe and Asia.
Humans have brought this plum tree to other parts of the world, including North America. Today, this fruit tree has become one of the most abundance ornamental trees in the nation.
The leaves of this tree have a simple oval shape with serrated edges. Initially, they’re more of a red or reddish-purple color in spring and summer but eventually darken and turn to a more purple color in the fall. The leaves range between two and four inches in length.
The tree itself tends to grow 15 to 30 feet tall and spread out, often having a round appearance.
The thundercloud plum tree will bloom in spring. Usually, they have white-to-light-pink, five-petaled flowers that measure about one inch across.
After the flowers, one of the most noteworthy aspects of this tree appears — the fruit. The plums are on the small side and purple in color.
This Thundercloud plum tree is a hardy tree. It can grow just almost anywhere without a problem. However, areas that don’t get enough sunlight, or if you plant it in a shady area, aren’t ideal if you’re choosing this tree for its beauty. If it doesn’t get enough sunlight, the leaves will be a more greenish color rather than red or purple.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture rates determined they grow best in zones four through nine. Therefore, they can withstand freezing temperatures but prefer locations where it’s not too cold and not too hot.
Size and Spacing
On average, a thundercloud plum tree gets between 15 and 20 feet wide.
Generally, you want to space them between 20 and 25 feet apart from one another. This way, they won’t overlap and block the much-needed sunlight from one another.
A thundercloud plum tree doesn’t classify as a self-pollinating plant. Therefore, if you have only one, it won’t pollinate on its own. Instead, it requires cross-pollination, meaning that pollen from one plant will blow through the air or be carried by an animal to the other tree.
However, plum trees aren’t male or female. The flowers of the plum have both female and male parts, but they thrive best when there are two trees to help with the pollination process.
Fortunately, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance fruit tree, this may be the one for you. The thundercloud plum requires little routine care but does require ample sunlight and watering and will need pruning.
The thundercloud plum tree enjoys the sun and thrives best when you plant it in a location where it gets direct sunlight. A tree that doesn’t get enough sunlight won’t look as vibrant, and it may not yield as much fruit or any fruit at all. Therefore, you want to make sure you plant it, so it has enough space away from other trees that could block its sunlight.
You should water your plum tree regularly during its growing season, especially during its first growing season. Ideally, you must water the tree once per week, giving it about an inch of water each time. You want the soil to be moist but not flooded. This tree is vulnerable to fungal infections, so regulating water can reduce the likelihood of a fungus infection affecting your tree.
When you’re watering your plum tree, make sure you avoid splashing any of its levels with water. This particular plant is prone to powdery mildew, leaf spots, and other foliage diseases. Therefore, you want to keep them dry since they obtain enough moisture when it rains.
Thundercloud plums need pruning. However, you must watch how often you prune because it’s easy to damage a plum tree by over pruning it.
First and foremost, when you prune, you want to look for diseased or decaying branches and remove those. If disease affects one branch of the tree, it may spread to other branches as well. You also want to remove any broken branches. Disease and pests may enter into the broken portion of the tree.
As you prune your tree, you want to remove any branches that are growing too close together because this can lead to issues in the future as they grow larger. .
Generally, you should prune a thundercloud plum in winter or spring. If you prune in summer or fall, you could stimulate new limb growth, and those branches may struggle to survive the winter.
Common Uses For The Fruit
The thundercloud plum is juicy and soft. When you first bite into it, you’ll notice that it’s a combination of sweet and spicy. Once you continue to eat it, you’ll notice a bit of tartness with a dash of sweetness.
Raw and Cooking
You and your family can all partake in the fruit raw. Their sweet, yet tart, flavor makes them versatile for baking. For instance, these plums are commonly used to make a pie. Jam is another option, and it’s as simple as cutting up the plums and cooking them along with sugar and water. You could make jelly, butter, wine, muffins, cake, crumble, pudding, moose, or a tart from these plums.
You may want to try this recipe for a plum crisp, simple, yet delicious.
You could try a plum smoothie or ice cream. You’ll only need to cook the plums for the ice cream. This recipe for honey roasted plum ice cream is quite a treat.
Canning is an effective method to keep plums all year round for baking and eating. The process delays the decaying process because it protects against microbes. You may can the plums whole (with the pit in them) or with the pit taken out. You can also choose to can them in halves. You could choose to can them in water, syrup, or juice.
Fortunately, you can choose to can the plums raw or partially cooked. It could depend on your desires. Keep in mind that it’ll change how you can them slightly.
Fortunately, plums will last up to six months in the freezer and still maintain their taste and freshness. Ideally, when you freeze plums, you want to pit and cut them. Cut them in halves, chunks, quarters, or however you want to store them for later use. You may choose to let them defrost or munch on them directly from the freezer, an ideal treat on a hot summer’s day.
You may dry out plums in the oven on a low heat setting or in a dehydrator. If you have racks for your air fryer, you may also choose to dry your plums in the air fryer, although you’ll need to read the instructions to see how long the manufacturer recommends for drying fruit.
With the oven or a food dehydrator, quarters, chunks, or slices tend to take between eight and 12 hours on 135-degree-Fahrenheit heat. Halves tend to take between 12 and 18 hours.
Thundercloud plums are an excellent source of potassium, calcium, vitamin B, vitamin C, and phosphate. The nutrition provided by plums helps with your metabolism and nervous system function. Moreover, potassium and calcium are necessary for your heart to function, while your bones require calcium and phosphate for strength. You also need calcium for your blood to clot, and vitamin C plays a role in immune function and bone maintenance.
Plus, one plum has less than 40 calories. Therefore, it’s an excellent addition to a well-balanced diet that won’t add on too many additional calories.
Where to Buy This Fruit Tree?
You may check your local nursery for plum trees. However, if you’re looking for a way to get the tree shipped to your door, Nature Hills Nursery sells the Thundercloud Plum Tree. They’re the largest online plant nursery and have a solid reputation for sending healthy plants. The nursery has been in business since 2001. Although it started as a local nursery for Omaha, Nebraska, residents, it now ships plants through the United States.
Where to Buy the Fruit
You won’t find these plums in your local grocery store in the produce section. You may, however, find them at local orchards. Often, you’ll find they have plum jams and other treats made from plums in their stores.
However, if you have the room and sun and are a huge fan of this type of plum, you could benefit from growing them in your own yard. You’ll have them when you want them, especially if you can them.
Fortunately, thundercloud plums are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that taste delicious as a snack raw or in a pie. And if you don’t have a green thumb, these fruits are quite easy to grow since they require little to no maintenance. You just need enough sunlight, especially if you plan on the tree also adding curbside appeal to your lawn.