Prunus domestica Opal produces bite-sized dessert plums that are deliciously sweet and that unusually have a great colour range, from sunshine yellow to deep purple, often on the same fruit. They have pale yellow flesh with a signature Greengage flavour. Opal plums are extremely early cropping and in a good year you can look forward to the first fruit being ready at the end of July. Because they are so early, Opal plums mature quite fast and so do better in the South of England; they also reward being planted in a south facing spot - trained against a south facing wall is ideal.
Sweden may not seem like an obvious place for plum trees to be studied and bred. In fact, the climate in the south is perfect for breeding hardy plants that will succeed in Northern Europe and Opal is just one of the creations of the Horticultural Research Stations in Alnarp and Balsgard, near Sweden's southern tip. It was crossed in the 1920's from two classic plum trees, Early Favourite and Oullins Golden Gage, which are robust English and very tasty French cultivars respectively.
Your Opal plum tree is self-fertile, which means that although a pollination partner such as Marjories Seedling can improve the quality of the harvest, Opal is quite happy to bear a heavy crop all by itself. It is also reassuringly regular in the size of harvest each year.
Plum trees are natives of a warmer climate and need some special consideration to encourage strong growth, resistance to disease and bumper crops. Plums are only pruned in summer, to reduce the risk of silver leaf disease.
Please note that all our Opal plum trees are on St Julien A rootstocks unless otherwise described.