Expert help available for Opal plum trees

Opal plum trees

  • Pick: Early-season
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Self-fertile
  • Uses: Eat fresh 
  • Disease-resistance: Good
  • Pollination partners
RHS AGM for Opal

Opal is one of the best-flavoured early plums - indeed it is sometimes called a gage-like plum thanks to the excellence of its flavour. However the flavour depends crucially on developing sugars during the short growing period, and in the UK and northern Europe Opal really benefits from being grown against a south-facing wall or in a sunny aspect. In less favourable situations it will still give good crops but with a less intense flavour.

The fruit is medium-sized, coloured dusky red with a heavy bloom, becoming blue when overripe. The plums ripen over a period of about 1-2 weeks, so you don't have to deal with a glut. The flesh is straw-yellow and fairly juicy. Opal is a semi-freestone plum - the stone falls away fairly easily from the flesh. If picked on a warm July day and placed in a fruit bowl Opal also has a wonderful aroma. This primarily a plum to eat fresh, but it is also useful for jams and fruit crumbles.

We recommend Opal because it is easy to grow in a variety of climates and provides good quality plums early in the season.

Opal plum trees for sale

Order now for delivery from week commencing 23rd January.

Mature size* Supplied as Price Quantity

Pot-grown fruit trees

Medium  (2.5m after 5-10 years) 2-year bush-trained - 12l pot - VVA-1 rootstock £32.45
Large  (3m - 3.5m after 5-10 years) 2-year bush-trained - 12l pot - St.Julien rootstock £32.45 Sold outalert me
Large  (3m - 3.5m after 5-10 years) Half-standard premium - 12l pot - St.Julien rootstock £34.95 Enquire

Bare-root fruit trees

Medium  (2.5m after 5-10 years) 1-year - bare-root - VVA-1 rootstock £18.45
Medium  (2.5m - 3m after 5-10 years) 1-year - bare-root - Pixy rootstock £18.95
Medium  (2.5m after 5-10 years) 2-year bush-trained - bare-root - VVA-1 rootstock £26.45 Sold outalert me
Large  (3m after 5-10 years) 1-year - bare-root - Wavit rootstock £18.95
Large  (3m - 3.5m after 5-10 years) 1-year - bare-root - St.Julien rootstock £18.95 Sold outalert me
Large  (3m - 3.5m after 5-10 years) 2-year bush-trained - bare-root - St.Julien rootstock £26.45
Large  (3m - 3.5m after 5-10 years) Half-standard - bare-root - St.Julien rootstock £27.95 Sold outalert me
Full size  (4.5m+ after 5-10 years) 1-year - bare-root - Brompton rootstock £19.95

Trained fruit trees - pot-grown

Medium  (2.5m after 5-10 years) Fan -12l pot - VVA-1 rootstock £54.95 Sold outalert me

Delivery period: Pot-grown trees can be delivered from September onwards. Bare-root trees can be delivered from mid-November onwards. Within those periods you can specify your preferred month of delivery during the checkout process. It is best to order as soon as you can to ensure items are reserved for you.

*Mature size: Height shown is the approximate height of the tree when mature (after 5-10 years), not the height when supplied. See photos of trees as supplied. Actual mature heights may vary considerably dependent on your local conditions and training and pruning regime.

Stock availability: Items showing as 'sold out' will probably be available again next season. Click here to be notified when we get more trees of this variety.

Alternatives to Opal plum trees

Summary features of Opal

Growing

  • Gardening skill: Suitable for beginners?
  • Cropping: Heavy
  • Fertility: Self-fertile?
  • Flowering group: 3?
  • Pollinating others: Average?
  • Ploidy: Diploid?
  • Vigour: Slightly large?
  • Bearing regularity: Regular?
  • Fruit persistence: Ripens over a period?
  • Attractive fruit
  • Overall disease resistance: Good?
  • Organic / no-spray culture?

Uses

Identification

  • Country of origin: Sweden
  • Period of origin: 1900 - 1949
  • Fruit colour: Red
  • Blossom colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • RHS AGM: RHS AGM
  • Popularity: Best sellers?

Climate

  • Temperate climates
  • Tolerates cold winters
  • UK Zone 2 - Northern UK: Yes
  • UK Zone 3 - Southern UK: Yes
  • Cold hardiness: -30F / -34C?
  • Planting position: Full sun preferred

Pollination guide for Opal

Opal is in flowering group 3. Opal is self-fertile and does not need a pollination partner, although fruiting may be improved if there is a compatible tree of a different variety nearby. Since it flowers in the middle of the blossom season it can be pollinated by most other plum trees.

How to grow Opal plum trees

Opal is very easy to grow, and crops reliably, so it is a good choice for almost any situation. However to really develop its flavour potential there are two simple things to consider. Firstly, it re-pays planting in a good sunny aspect. Growing as a fan along a south-facing wall will get the best results.

Secondly, Opal has the potential to produce a heavy crop, and in a good spring it is likely that too much of the blossom will set fruit. This will lead to a very large crop of very small plums which will lack flavour. If this seems to be happening, thin the fruitlets towards the end of May so that there is one plum per cluster, with about 2" / 5cm or so between each plum. Thinning plums is a tedious business, but you won't regret it as the ones left will be bigger and with better flavour.

Opal is a very winter hardy tree and a good choice for all areas of the UK.

Historical details

Opal was developed in Sweden in 1925 from a cross between Oullins Gage and Early Favourite.

Botanical name

Prunus domestica 'Opal'


UK-grown trees All our trees are grown in the UK.