Prunus_c leaves
plums in rowbad prune job
Podocarpus gracilior

Every February, these deciduous trees acknowledge the return of spring before any other flowering tree on the Central coast. There are many varieties of Flowering plums to choose from. They can range in size from the diminutive 'Purple Pony' (12 ft tall) to 'Hollywood' (30-40 ft tall). Most of the varieties have pink flowers but some bloom pure white followed by dark purple to red leaves. It is worth the time to do a little research before selecting a variety for your yard. Some varieties do produce fruit and will stain walkways from fruit drop.

Flowering plums are not too fussy about soil and can get by with little dry season water. But, they look best with moderate water and are good trees for proximity to lawns. Because of their size, they are good choices for sidewalks and walkways. They can look dreadful when planted in a prevailing wind as they will lose leaves from the cutting salt wind. Pruning is only necessary for corrective shaping and controlling size. (see bad pruning job in bottom left sidebar)


Maximum height
20-30 feet tall
10-20 feet wide
Some varieties are shorter - some taller

Life Span
80 + years

Criteria for Ranking

1 (low) - 5 (high)

Drought Tolerance after first year establishment 3*
Wind Tolerance 3*
Frost Tolerance 5
Surface Roots/Sidewalk Lifting 5
Power Lines Proximity

5 (good choice)
Cost/Maintenance 5
Disease Resistance/Hardiness 4*
*note asterisk denote species looks best with deep dry season watering.
*note asterisk denote species will be shaped by a prevailing wind. Single trunk trained trees need more protection than shrub to grow straight. Prunus c. in the wind will lose leaves in salty prevailing wind. Better in protected location.
*note asterisk denote species can be prone to aphids, leaf spot, and, other leaf chewing insects.

Location There are many flowering plums in Marina in street locations. There are several rows of flowering plums at the intersection of Vista Del Camino and George Street.