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The Best Cherry Plum Cultivars for North Dakota

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Cherry plums were developed to survive the extreme weather of the northern Great Plains. They are extremely hardy (Zone 3), resist drought, and will bear fruit after one to two years. They grow as small trees 6 to 8 feet tall and can be spaced 4 to 8 feet apart.

Close up of ripe cherry plums

They are self-unfruitful. Plant at least two cultivars for fruit set. The fruit is not as big or as delicious as most other plums. Fruits begin to ripen in late August.

The following cultivars are listed in order of ripening:

CULTIVAR

DESCRIPTION

Red Diamond

Dark red skin and flesh. Sweet and juicy.

Sapalta

Dull purple skin and flesh. Nearly freestone. Very productive.

Compass

Dark purple fruit with yellow flesh. Juicy flesh with sour skin. Good for jams and sauces.

Source:  and Kathy Wiederholt of North Dakota State University Extension; Charles Elhard and Jamie Good of North Dakota Department of Agriculture. Reviewed 2019. Starting a Community Orchard in North Dakota.  Photo courtesy of Fir0002.