Jefferson plum Prunus domestica 'Jefferson' (D)

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
plum 'Jefferson'


The 'Jefferson' plum, as it is commonly known, is a deciduous fruit tree with an attractive appearance. Starting with the foliage, this variety boasts a lush canopy of bright green leaves that are elliptical in shape, providing a dense and vibrant covering throughout the growing season. As spring emerges, the 'Jefferson' plum tree is adorned with delightful blossoms that can vary in color from white to a soft pink, creating a striking contrast against the emerging green leaves. The real showstoppers are the plums themselves, which the 'Jefferson' variety produces in abundance. The fruit typically ripens in the late summer and is known for its large size, with the skin displaying a deep purple hue that can sometimes appear almost blue. The surface of the plums has a light powdery coating—known as bloom—that gives them a subtle sheen. Beneath the skin, the flesh of the 'Jefferson' plum is a golden yellow, juicy, and sweet, making it both an attractive and delicious treat. This plum variety, while primarily grown for its fruit, also serves as an excellent ornamental tree due to its seasonal changes in appearance. The combination of the flush of spring flowers, the verdant summer foliage, and the bounty of large, colorful fruit makes the 'Jefferson' plum a distinctive and appealing addition to any garden focused on both aesthetics and produce.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Jefferson Plum

    • Common names

      Prunus domestica 'Jefferson'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Prunus domestica 'Jefferson' is a variety of European plum. In general, the European plum fruit is safe to eat. However, like other stone fruits, parts of the plant, such as leaves, stems, and seeds/pits, contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide when ingested. Cyanide is a toxic compound that can interfere with oxygen utilization in the human body. If someone ingests a significant amount of these parts, symptoms of cyanide poisoning may occur, including headache, confusion, dizziness, shortness of breath, and potentially seizures, coma, and death if left untreated. It is essential to eat only the flesh of the fruit and avoid consuming the pits, leaves, or stems.

    • To pets

      The Prunus domestica 'Jefferson', also known as the European plum, presents similar risks to pets as it does to humans. The fruit's flesh is not toxic to pets, but the leaves, stems, and seeds/pits contain cyanogenic glycosides which can be harmful if ingested. When pets consume these parts of the plant, their bodies may release cyanide, leading to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, excessive drooling, lethargy, seizure, and in severe cases, death from respiratory failure. Pet owners should ensure to keep these parts of the plum tree away from their animals and should seek veterinary attention if they suspect their pet has ingested a toxic amount.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      15 feet (4.57 meters)

    • Spread

      10 feet (3.05 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • High-Yielding: The 'Jefferson' plum variety is known for its ability to produce large amounts of fruit, making it ideal for both commercial growers and home gardeners.
    • Nutritious Fruit: Plums provide an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which contribute to a healthy diet.
    • Aesthetic Appeal: With beautiful spring blossoms and attractive fruits, 'Jefferson' plums add ornamental value to landscapes and gardens.
    • Pollinator Attraction: The flowers of the 'Jefferson' plum attract bees and other pollinators, thereby supporting local ecosystems.
    • Culinary Versatility: This variety of plum can be eaten fresh, dried into prunes, or used in cooking and baking, offering a range of culinary uses.
    • Adaptable to Processing: 'Jefferson' plums have qualities that make them suitable for canning, which is convenient for preserving the fruit for off-season use.
    • Cross-Pollination: Planting 'Jefferson' plums can increase the pollination success of other nearby plum trees, improving their fruit set.
    • Shade and Shelter: Like other fruit trees, 'Jefferson' plum trees can provide shade and shelter in garden and orchard settings.
    • Wildlife Habitat: When planted as part of a diverse ecosystem, fruit trees such as 'Jefferson' plum can offer food and habitat for wildlife.
    • Local Food Production: Growing 'Jefferson' plums encourages local food production, reducing the need for transport and the associated environmental impact.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antioxidant Properties: Plums, including Prunus domestica 'Jefferson', contain various antioxidants, which may help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
    • Fiber Content: The high dietary fiber in plums can contribute to digestive health, potentially aiding in the prevention of constipation and promoting regular bowel movements.
    • Vitamins and Minerals: Plums are a source of vitamins such as vitamin C and potassium, which can support overall health and wellness.
    • Glycemic Control: Due to their fiber and sorbitol content, plums can have effects on blood sugar regulation, although they should be consumed in moderation.
    • Hydrating Effects: Plums have high water content, which can contribute to hydration and support kidney function.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Woodworking: The wood of the European plum tree can be used in the creation of small wooden objects, such as handles for tools or intricate carvings, due to its fine grain and workability.
    • Dye Production: The skin and pulp of European plums can be used to make natural dyes for textiles, providing shades of pink, purple or reddish colors depending on the mordant used.
    • Companion Planting: European plum trees can be interplanted with other crops to provide benefits such as pollinator attraction or as a windbreak in agricultural settings.
    • Beekeeping: Since the European plum tree produces an abundance of flowers, it serves as a valuable nectar source, helping to sustain bee populations and support honey production.
    • Smoking Food: Wood chips from the European plum tree can be used for smoking meat and fish, imparting a unique flavor to the foods.
    • Culinary Vinegars: Overripe or slightly damaged European plums can be fermented into a fruity vinegar that offers a unique flavor for salad dressings and marinades.
    • Biomass Energy: Pruning and wood waste from European plum orchards can be utilized to produce biomass energy through combustion or gasification.
    • Natural Potpourri: Dried European plum petals and leaves can be mixed with other aromatic plants to create natural potpourri for freshening the air.
    • Environmental Education: The life cycle of the European plum tree, including its growth and fruiting patterns, can be used as a teaching tool for educational programs about temperate deciduous fruit trees.
    • Wildlife Habitat: The European plum tree provides shelter and food for various birds and small mammals, thereby enhancing biodiversity in gardens and orchards.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plum tree is not commonly used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plum tree is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Fertility - The Jefferson plum, as with many fruit trees, represents fertility because of its abundance of fruit.
    • Renewal - In line with many fruit-bearing trees that shed their leaves and blossom annually, the Jefferson plum is often associated with new beginnings and the renewal of life.
    • Wealth - The lush fruitfulness of the plum tree is sometimes symbolic of wealth and prosperity.
    • Inner Peace - In some cultures, the plum tree is a symbol for inner tranquility and the serenity of the mind.
    • Perseverance - As plum trees can survive in harsh conditions and still bear fruit, they are also seen as symbols of perseverance and overcoming adversity.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Not needed
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Jefferson plum tree requires regular watering, especially during the growing season. Young trees should be watered deeply once a week, providing about 2 to 3 gallons per watering session. Mature trees might need water less frequently but in larger quantities, ranging from 10 to 15 gallons every two weeks, depending on weather conditions and soil moisture levels. Consistent moisture is important, but overwatering should be avoided to prevent root rot. During prolonged dry spells or extreme heat, additional watering may be necessary to keep the soil consistently moist.

  • sunLight

    The Jefferson plum tree thrives in full sun exposure. It needs at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth and fruit production. The best spot for planting is an open area away from buildings or other trees that could shade it, ensuring it receives ample sunlight throughout the day.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Jefferson plum trees prefer a moderate climate and are hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9. They can tolerate winter temperatures as low as negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit and summer temperatures well into the 90s. The ideal temperature range for growing this plum variety is between 35 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal fruit development.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning a Jefferson plum tree is necessary to maintain its health and productivity. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Remove any dead or diseased branches, thin out crowded limbs to increase air circulation, and shape the tree to encourage strong structure. An annual pruning routine is generally recommended for the best fruit yield.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mix for 'Jefferson' plum is well-draining loam with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Amend soil with organic matter and ensure good drainage to prevent waterlogging.

  • plantRepotting

    'Jefferson' plum, being a fruit tree, is typically not repotted but planted outdoors. If grown in containers, young trees may be repotted every 2-3 years to ensure adequate root space.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    'Jefferson' plum trees are tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels, thriving in conditions typical of temperate regions. Excessive humidity is not required.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Growing 'Jefferson' plum indoors isn't practical due to its size.

    • Outdoor

      Plant 'Jefferson' plum in full sun, well-draining soil; water and mulch regularly.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The 'Jefferson' plum, a cultivar of Prunus domestica, begins its life cycle from seed (though cultivars are primarily propagated by grafting), which after stratification germinates to form a seedling. With proper soil, water, and sunlight, the seedling matures into a young tree through vegetative growth, characterized by the development of a trunk, branches, and foliage. Upon reaching maturity after several years, this deciduous tree enters the reproductive stage, producing white blossoms in early spring that are pollinated by insects. Following pollination and fertilization, the flowers develop into plums by mid to late summer, with the 'Jefferson' plum known for its large, sweet, and freestone fruits which are often harvested. After the fruiting stage, the tree enters senescence in the fall, shedding its leaves and entering dormancy over the winter months until the cycle begins again with bud break in the spring. If conditions allow, the 'Jefferson' plum tree can have a productive lifespan of several decades, providing fruit and repeating this cycle annually.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The most popular method of propagating the 'Jefferson' plum, a cultivar of Prunus domestica, is through grafting. This technique is best carried out in late winter or early spring when the plant is still dormant. In grafting, a section of stem from the 'Jefferson' plum with desirable characteristics, known as the scion, is joined to a rootstock that provides support and absorbs nutrients. The compatible rootstock is often chosen for its disease resistance and adaptation to soil conditions. The cut surfaces of the scion and rootstock are matched and bound together, ensuring that the cambium layers are in close contact. This union is then wrapped and sealed to maintain moisture and prevent disease while the graft heals, which can take several weeks. After the graft has taken and new growth is observed, any tape or binding can be removed to allow the scion to expand and grow into a new 'Jefferson' plum tree.