What are some good plum varieties for Iowa?
Cold hardiness is an important factor when selecting plum varieties for home gardens. Japanese plums are not reliably cold hardy in Iowa. However, several European and hybrid plum varieties can be successfully grown in the state.
European plum varieties that perform well in Iowa include ‘Mount Royal,’ ‘Stanley,’ and ‘Damson.’ ‘Mount Royal’ produces small fruit with bluish black skin and greenish yellow flesh. ‘Mount Royal’ can be grown throughout Iowa. ‘Stanley’ (dark blue skin, greenish yellow flesh) and ‘Damson’ (blue skin, yellow flesh) are not reliably cold hardy in northern Iowa, but can be successfully grown in the southern two-thirds of the state.
Several hybrid plum varieties (introduced by the University of Minnesota) possess excellent cold hardiness and can be successfully grown throughout the state. Hybrid plums include ‘Alderman’ (burgundy red skin, yellow flesh), ‘Pipestone’ (red skin, golden yellow flesh), ‘Superior’ (red skin, yellow flesh), and ‘Underwood’ (dull red skin, yellow flesh).
European plums are self-fruitful. A single tree will bear fruit. Hybrid plums are self-unfruitful. Two or more hybrid plum varieties must be planted to ensure cross-pollination and fruit set. ‘Toka’ is an excellent pollinator for ‘Alderman,’ ‘Superior,’ ‘Underwood,’ and other hybrid plums.