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Best plum trees for eating fresh

If you are looking for the sweetest fruit flavours available in our temperate climate then you need to consider the humble plum. The plum varieties listed here can rival the richness of flavours that we expect from tropical fruits - yet you can grow them in British gardens and eat them straight off the tree.

Many of the best-flavoured plums are referred to as "Gages", after Sir William Gage, a 17th century English fruit enthusiast who imported some green plum trees from France. Gages tend to be green or yellow, and usually have a very sweet flavour,

Plums and Gages are usually easy to grow, and most are self-fertile. Those that are not self-fertile are usually easily pollinated by other plum trees in nearby gardens. Pruning is not usually an issue - and in any case is generally best avoided with plum trees. The main problem when growing plum trees is the tendency to over-set fruit. This can be avoided by thinning the fruitlets in June. It is a tedious task, but you will be rewarded with larger plums with fuller flavours.

  • 1st Cambridge Gage

    See also Cambridge Gage

    Cambridge Gage is a traditional English green gage, The plums are very juicy and have a sweet honey-like flavour, typical of gages.

    Cambridge Gage is probably a seedling of the highly-regarded Old Green Gage. We recommend it in preference because it is slighly more reliable and better cropping, and the flavour is just as good. 

    Buy Cambridge Gage eating plums here
  • 2nd Avalon

    See also Avalon

    Avalon is a large mid-season red/purple plum. It was developed in the 1980s with the aim of improving on the flavour of the popular Victoria plum. 

    If you pick the plums slightly under-ripe Avalon is a good variety for making plum jam and baking. ,Alternatively for eating fresh leave the plums on the tree for a bit longer until they reach full ripeness. You will then have what is undoubtedly one of the best-flavoured English plums available.

     

    Buy Avalon eating plums here
  • 3rd Excalibur

    See also Excalibur

    Excalibur is a modern English plum variety, descended from the highly-regarded Count Althann's Gage. The plums have a very good tangy-sweet flavour.

    Excalibur has a reputation as a light-cropper, but this also means you don't usually have the chore of thinning the fruitlets to get a good fruit size. 

    Buy Excalibur eating plums here
  • 4th Oullins Golden Gage

    See also Oullins Golden Gage

    Oullins Gage is a traditional French gage with a golden yellow skin attractively flecked with orange. The plums are quite juicy and the pale yellow flesh has a rich modererately sweet flavour.

    Oullins Gage can also be used for making plum jam, and the plums freeze well.

    The tree is vigorous and easy to grow, and reliably self-fertile.

    Buy Oullins Golden Gage eating plums here
  • 5th Early Transparent Gage

    See also Early Transparent Gage

    Early Transparent is so-named because the plums have a semi-transluscent skin. It is a traditional English gage, developed at the famous Thomas Rivers nursery in Hertfordshire in the 1860s. The large plums are beautifully coloured, and very sweet and juicy.

    Early Transparent plums are also excellent for making plum jam - pick them just before they are fully ripe if you want to cook with them.

    Buy Early Transparent Gage eating plums here