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Opal plum trees

Prunus domestica

Opal is probably the best-flavored early plum variety - indeed it is sometimes called a gage-like plum thanks to the excellence of its flavor. However the flavor depends crucially on developing sugars during the short growing period, and in northern gardens Opal really benefits from being grown in a sunny aspect. In less favourable situations it will still give good crops but with a less intense flavor.

The fruit is medium-sized, colored 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 free-stone plum - the stone falls away 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

Pot-grown

All pot-grown trees are suitable for planting out in the garden, some are suitable for growing in containers.

  • PG12-year bush-trained 12L pot-grown tree VVA-1 rootstock £43.50
    Medium tree (2m-3m after 10 years)
    Out of stock
  • PG22-year bush-trained 12L pot-grown tree St. Julien rootstock £42.50
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
  • PG3Premium half-standard 12L pot-grown tree St. Julien rootstock £47.50
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
  • PG4Fan-trained 12L pot-grown tree St. Julien rootstock £62.50
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
    Contact us

Bare-root

  • BR11-year bare-root tree VVA-1 rootstock £23.95
    Medium tree (2m-3m after 10 years)
    Out of stock
  • BR22-year bush-trained bare-root tree VVA-1 rootstock £33.95
    Medium tree (2m-3m after 10 years)
    Out of stock
  • BR31-year bare-root tree St. Julien rootstock £22.95
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
    Out of stock
  • BR42-year bush-trained bare-root tree St. Julien rootstock £32.95
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
    Out of stock
  • BR52-year half-standard bare-root tree St. Julien rootstock £37.95
    Large tree (3m-4m after 10 years)
  • BR61-year bare-root tree Brompton rootstock £23.45
    Very large tree (4m-7m after 10 years)
    Out of stock

How to grow

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.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

History

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

Opal characteristics

Using

  • CroppingHeavy
  • Picking seasonEarly
  • Keeping (of fruit)1-3 days
  • Fruit persistenceRipens over a period
  • Flavour qualityVery good
  • WildlifeRHS perfect for pollinators
  • Food usesEating fresh
  • Cling-stoneSemi-freestone

Growing

  • Gardening skillBeginner
  • Self-fertilitySelf-fertile
  • Flowering group3
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • VigourSlightly large
  • Bearing regularityRegular
  • Organic cultureSuitable

Problems

  • Disease resistanceGood

Climate

  • Climate suitabilityTemperate climates
  • Cold hardiness (USDA)(4) -30F / -34C
  • Summer average maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)Cold (< 20C / 67F)

Identification

  • Country of originSweden
  • Period of origin1900 - 1949
  • Flower colourWhite
  • Leaf colourGreen
  • Fruit colourRed
  • AwardsRHS Award of Garden Merit