Cherry plums are the love child of sandcherries and Japanese plums. They are smaller than European or Asian plums and are classified as a cooking plum. The cherry plum ‘Ruby’ is a cultivar from the Ukraine. Ruby cherry plum fruit is sweeter than most cherry plums, but still has slightly tangy flavor. Try growing Ruby cherry plums for use in canning, baking, and other culinary pursuits.
About Ruby Cherry Plum Tree
Is it a plum or is it a cherry? If you can’t tell, it is likely a cherry plum. Ruby cherry plum trees are an example of early season fruits that are partially self-fruitful. Better yields will come with a pollinating partner, but you can grow the tree without another plum variety nearby and still get small crops. The cherry plum ‘Ruby’ is an outstanding variety that needs little maintenance or special care if situated correctly.
The name cherry plum sounds like a fictional fruit from a Dr. Seuss story but it is real. For those of you not familiar with the fruit, they first became available in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Most are low shrubs that are prolific producers. Ruby cherry plum fruit is larger than most cherry plums and reportedly has some peach flavored notes.
The skin is peachy red but the interior is a deep, dark, vibrant red. The tree is upright and has pretty white blooms in spring. It can grow 12 to 15 feet (3.5-4.5 m.) tall. Cherry plums are great in pies, juices, jams, jellies, and simply canned.
Growing Ruby Cherry Plums
These trees are ready for sale at the end of winter. Plant them when the soil is workable. Ruby cherry plums prefer sandy soil and cannot tolerate boggy sites. Incorporate plenty of gritty material and compost to amend heavy soil.
Dig the planting hole twice as deep and wide as the root mass. Soak bare root trees overnight prior to planting. Make sure to backfill around the roots and water the soil in. New trees may need a stake to train them to a vertical habit.
These types of plums do not need a lot of pruning. During the first two years, prune to give the tree some circulation in the center and select the sturdiest stems to become the bearing scaffold.
Ruby Cherry Plum Care
In the correct site, these Ruby cherry plums can grow like weeds. Once they are trained straight and have a good initial form, trimming is rarely needed except to remove old, dead, or diseased wood.
Fertilize in early spring just as buds are breaking. Watch for pests and disease, especially fungal disorders which can be combated with a fungicide spray.
Keep young trees moist but, once established, mature plants need supplemental moisture only in times of extreme heat or drought.
Ruby cherry plums are easy to grow and have few maintenance issues. Their fruit is delightful in a variety of uses and the tree itself provides an ornamental show with spring blooms and ruby red fruit in August.