Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

American Red Plum, Wild Plum, American Plum

American Red Plum, Wild Plum, American Plum

Prunus americana

Full to part sun; medium to moderately dry moisture level; grows in a wide range of soils including deep black loams, moderately coarse loamy sands to moderately fine clay loam as well as gravelly or sandy soil; neutral pH.

15-25 feet height by 15-25 feet spread; white flowers in early May before leaves emerge; fruits are fleshy, dull red to purplish, plum-like berries, 1 – 1 ¼ inch diameter, in late summer to early fall.

Growth Rate: Fast. Spreads by root suckers.

Maintenance: Suffers from a variety of diseases such as leaf spot, canker, brown rot and also a variety of insect problems but generally they are not serious. Remove suckers to prevent unwanted spread.

Propagation: Moderately easy from seed

Native Region: Statewide

Easy to grow as either a single-trunk tree or multi-trunked shrub. Usually occurs in large, spreading colonies or thickets and is armed with thorn-like spur branches. Typically grown for its ornamental qualities or for its wildlife value. Flowers profusely. Flowers occur in rounded to flat-topped clusters and have a strong, sickly sweet fragrance. Showy, edible fruit which can be used for making jams and jellies, but overall quality is somewhat poor. Foliage turns yellow to red in fall. Tends to thrive with neglect and is often found forming large colonies along roadsides and other uncultivated areas. Intolerant of shade and drought. Cultivars available.

Highly important as wildlife cover and food. Forms a thicket valuable for bird nesting, loafing and roosting and for animal loafing and bedding. Attracts butterflies. Preferred larval host plant for Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. Alternate host plant for Viceroy, Admiral, and Spring Azure butterflies and for Cecropia moth.


Leave a comment below. (Comments will remain hidden until approved by site administrators.)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: