The Victoria Plum Tree
The Victoria Plum is perhaps the most loved plum variety out there. It’s a particular favourite here in England and as you can probably guess, it was named after Queen Victoria.
The plums are known for their delicious sweet taste and pleasing appearance and are always a treat when they appear each year from late summer / early August. Read our Victoria Plum Tree Care Guide for more information on how to grow Victoria plums at home.
Growing Victoria Plum Trees
Victoria plum trees are usually quite small and can be grafted onto different size rootstocks to control the height. The 2 most popular rootstocks for plums are the semi vigorous St Julien A (4m / 13ft) and semi dwarfing VVA-1 ® (3m / 10ft).
Their size makes them perfect for garden growing but don’t underestimate them, they might be small but they still produce an outstanding amount of delicious fruit each year. That’s what makes them so popular! Growing plums has never been easier and it’s such a treat when you can eat them fresh, straight from the tree.
Victoria Plums are often heavy croppers and will produce a good amount of plums each year. Although it is possible that some years will be heavier than others.
Victoria Plum Tree Location
Plant your plum tree in a sheltered, sunny spot of the garden to ensure a heavy crop of fruit each year. Fruit trees in general need plenty of sun throughout the summer months and ensure that the ripening fruits are sweet to the taste.
Although Victoria plum trees are hardy in the UK, late frosts can damage spring blossom and reduce fruit yield. Plenty of sun is also needed throughout the summer to ensure lots of sweet tasting fruits.
Growing Victoria Plum Trees in Containers
If you don't have space in your garden to plant a victoria plum tree, worry not, as there are some grafted onto dwarfing rootstock such as the VVA-1 rootstock.
Patio Victoria plum trees can be happily grown in large containers without sacrificing the high yield of fruit. Potted fruit trees do require a little more care and attention than those planted out in the ground but if done properly you will reap many delicious rewards from the branches.
How to pot your plum tree:
Repot your tree every couple of years, ensuring to size up enough to accommodate the next couple of years worth of growth. Keep potting up your tree until it is fully grown.
When your tree is in it's final pot it will need a little maintenance every couple of years to keep it healthy and happy.
To avoid your tree from becoming root bound, it is advised to conduct a little bit of root pruning. When doing this it's also recommended to replace at least 50% of the old compost with new to refresh vital nutrients lost through vigorous growing seasons and watering.
Choose a stable pot that isn't likely to blow over in the wind, if you need you can weight the pot down with some stones in the base before planting. In summer, if it gets too windy and the tree is in full leaf, the leaves can act like a sail and sometime blow the tree over.
When potting your tree, use regular soil mixed with some compost and grit. We recommend this mix as 100% compost dries out much more quickly and will need watering more regularly. The grit in there makes sure that the drainage of the soil remains good and doesn't become waterlogged.
Potted fruit trees will require watering more frequently and it's important to make sure that they are not left to dry out in between. If you're not sure simply test the soil with your hands by feeling a couple of inches below the surface. If it's feeling dry then your tree will need watering.
You won't need to water too much over the winter while the tree is in it's dormancy but make sure to keep well watered over the hotter, summer months. Watering will usually be needed twice a week dependent on weather conditions.
In the winter if the weather is due to drop below freezing you may need to offer your Victoria Plum Tree some overwintering protection. Ground planted trees have the surrounding soil to protect their roots from frost, however, potted trees do not have this luxury. To protect the roots, wrap the pot with a layer of horticultural fleece or move the pot into an unheated garage or sheltered area of the garden. Never bring your tree into a heated house or room.
Thinning Victoria Plum Fruits
Thinning fruits is an important part of caring for your tree if you want the biggest, juiciest plums possible. Overcrowding on the branches will make for smaller fruits that don’t develop fully.
Start the process in May by removing some of the smaller, immature clusters of fruit. This gives an increase to the leaf/fruit ratio and helps get rid of plums that would never reach full maturity.
The next round of thinning can begin in July. While the fruits are still quite hard, go round and remove all diseased and damaged plums. At this time you also want to remove any fruits that are too close together, ideally you want around 3 inches between each fruit. Aim to leave an identical amount of fruit on each branch and avoid taking off the largest fruits, even if you find they are slightly overcrowded.
The final round of thinning has found people hitting the tree with a length of PVC pipe until some of the smaller, unripe fruit has dropped off the branches.
Once thinned, the remaining fruits will continue to ripen to their full size.
Pruning Victoria Plum Trees
Prune young trees in late summer taking back the new upright growth by about a third. any new branches growing low down on the main trunk can be removed right at the base.
For older, full grown trees, start by removing any dead, diseased or dying branches first. Next, conduct a harder pruning on old branches to improve productivity and promote new growth. Established trees shouldn’t need pruning too much, only to keep them productive.
Victoria Plum Trees Pest and Disease
Whilst Victoria Plum Trees are good heavy and reliable croppers, like most fruit trees, they can be susceptible to certain diseases. If you notice any diseased fruit, you should remove it straight away as this will just attract wasps and more disease. Don’t worry too much though, Victoria Plums are really quite disease resistant and you should hopefully have nothing to worry about.
Stoned fruit trees can be prone to silver leaf disease which can be fatal if left untreated. If you notice leaves with a silver sheen and notice some branches dying back and some fungus on the branches. Treat quickly and accordingly to keep your tree happy and healthy.
In spring and summer, check new growth for green aphids or black fly. This is easy to treat once caught early with a diluted mixture of soapy water or simply removing them by hand.
Brown rot is another common issue with some fruit trees, this will cause wilting in blossom and a spreading rot in the fruits. Ensure to remove any affected blossom, fruits or branches to keep your tree healthy. You may also need to spray your tree with a fungicide.
Harvesting Victoria Plums
Victoria plums ripen between late August and early September but this can vary year to year depending on the local growing conditions. The tree produces heavy crops of sweet, yellow fleshed fruit that can be eaten fresh, straight from the branches.
Plums don’t continue to ripen off the branch so for the best flavour possible, plums should be left on the tree until they are ripe and ready to eat. You will know when they are ripe because the fruit will not be too firm to touch and will come away gently from the tree.
The fruits will ripen in flushes over a 2-3 week period. Check daily or weekly over this time to pick the ripest plums ready for eating. If a fruit looks ripe but is still quite hard to the touch, it’s not ready for picking just yet.
Send a Victoria Plum Tree as a gift
Our beautiful plum tree gifts are very popular indeed. Send as a birthday gift for a fruit lover or even as a housewarming gift to plant in the garden.