From:Georgetown, TX Region: Southwest Topic: Trees Title: Delay in fruiting of Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana) Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton
My wife and i are members of your fine organization. Several years ago we
bought four things at a spring plant sale for an understory spot in our yard.
The Possumhaw Holly, American Beautyberry, and Texas Redbud are doing great.
So is the Mexican Plum, but it hasn't flowered or born fruit yet. The plum
tree was four feet tall when we first planted it and now it is 8-10 ft and
thick with branches and leaves. We have positively id-ed it in Neil Sperry's
big book. It gets morning shade and some afternoon sun while it has leaves and
mostly full sun in the winter. Can you help us figure out why it doesn't bear
Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana) typically waits until it's pretty good sized before it begins to bear fruit. Plants are normally in one of three states at any one time: dormant, as in winter; vegetative, as when the plant is producing new growth; and reproductive, as when the plant is flowering and setting fruit. Fruit and nut trees often stay in the vegetative state for years before reaching "maturity" and beginning to reproduce.
Your plant has grown fast, which is a good indication that it has stayed vegetative. Plants often respond to stress, environmental, physical, etc., by trying to reproduce. It sounds like your plum tree has not experienced much stress and is putting all of its energy into growth. That's a good thing. Without intervention, your tree is likely to begin flowering and setting fruit in the next year or two or three.
One other possible factor is the tree's location. If it is getting too much shade, it may not flower for a while and may not flower much when it does. Nearly all fruit trees require a lot of sun to flower and set fruit. Mexican plum is no exception.
More Trees Questions
Are mountain laurel beans safe to use as rattles with small children? September 19, 2012 - Is it safe to use the mountain laurel mescalbean pods as shakers or rattles, as long as the pods are not open and the seeds left unexposed?
If a small child (very small, who has no way to open the ... view the full question and answer
Are fuzzy oak leaf galls harmful to post oak trees? October 19, 2012 - Are the fuzzy balls on the undersides of our post oak trees harmful? view the full question and answer
Damaged Shumard oak tree in Polk County Texas July 24, 2010 - I have a native Shumard Red Oak on our property in Polk County Texas that suffered damage (top blown out) during Hurricane Ike. Last year, one side of the tree browned early while the other side stay... view the full question and answer
Scrub oaks dropping limbs in Lexington TX August 23, 2009 - We live in the country between Elgin and Lexington. One of our "scrub" oaks is dropping large limbs. On examination, the limbs have green leaves and they do not appear to be rotted. Do you think ... view the full question and answer
Need suggestions for a small tree for cemetery in NH. August 30, 2012 - I would like suggestions for picking a SMALL tree for a rural cemetery in Winchester, NEW HAMPSHIRE. Would the delicate Japanese Elm be suitable for the weather, etc?
view the full question and answer