Botanical Name: Prunus mexicana
Common Name: Mexican Plum, Bigtree Plum, Inch Plum
Description: Don’t be confused by the name of this beautiful tree, it is actually native to northeast Texas. Very pretty, fragrant, white flowers bloom February through April before the leaves start showing. The flowers attract pollinators. After the flowers, the plums start showing up! The plums are edible and are used for cooking, jams, jellies, etc. Birds and critters like them too. This is a very easy to grow, single trunk, non-suckering, deciduous tree that will reach 15 – 25′ tall and wide. It likes dry to moist, well drained soils, in part sun to part shade. It likes protection from the hot afternoon sun since it grows naturally as an understory tree. The plums mature July through September and change from yellow to mauve to purple in coloring. It is the host plant for the Tiger Swallowtail and Cecropia moths, and has special value for our native bees. It is not deer resistant. Another cool aspect is the bark peels as it ages.
They are self-pollinating because they are a monoecious species with perfect flowers ( each flower has both stamens and pistils). Bees are the principal pollinators, and can pollinate the flowers on the same plant.
Mexican Plums do a pretty cool thing in the heat of the summer to help conserve water: their leaves will droop. So, please, don’t think your tree needs extra water when you see it doing that. Check the soil first to see if it really does need water, but keep in mind that the leaves will droop and it will look thirsty. As long as the tree looks healthy otherwise, there’s nothing to worry about.
This plant in the 3-gallon container is 3-4′ tall x 1-2′ wide, not counting the container.
This plant in the 15-gallon container is 5-7′ tall x 2-4′ wide, not counting the container.
Fun Fact: Mexican Plums are slow to start producing their delicious plums, so don’t expect much from them for three to six years after planting. That’s one reason why the best time to plant a tree was yesterday, but the second best time is today.
Hardiness Zones 6 – 8
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