History: Greengage plums are a European variety that originated in Iran, although it is unclear exactly how old they are. They were introduced to England via France in 1724 by Sir William Gage, after whom they were named in English when the French labels were supposedly lost in transit. These sweet plums were later brought to North American colonies where they were grown by prominent figures such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Although they have since fallen out of favour in North America, they are still quite popular in western Europe and occasionally referenced in pop culture. Greengage plums are the namesake of The Greengage Summer, a 1958 novel and subsequent 1961 film, and are mentioned in a Monty Python sketch.
Why We Grow It: It is a shame this plum's popularity declined in North America since it is considered a high-quality dessert fruit, possibly even the best dessert plum. Their bright green flesh is incredibly sweet and can also be used for cooking and preserving. Greengage plum trees tend to have a compact growth habit, great for anyone without a lot of space.
Canadian Hardiness Zone: 4
Soil Preference: Sandy loam and loam, like plenty or organic material. Prefers average to moist conditions with well-drained soils, avoid planting anywhere that floods for more than two weeks in the spring.
Growth Habits: Compact growth habit, tends to bear fruit every other year but produce heavy crops when they do.
Sun/Shade: Full sun (approx. 8-10 hours of sun daily)
Pollination: Self-pollinating, this variety will produce fruit without a European plum tree of a different variety but will produce more and better fruit if one is present
Flowering Time: Middle
Bloom Colour: White
Ripens: Late September
Storage: Keeps about a week in the fridge.
Recommended Use: Fresh eating, cooking
Size including roots:
- 1m+ Whip grade: 100cm+
- Branched grade: 100 cm+ with 3 or more branches, 30 cm or more
- <1m Whip grade: less than 100 cm