Summer Solstice! Early Plums and Flavor Supreme Pluots are ripe…

'Flavor Supreme' pluot yields large, deliciously juicy, flavorful fruit.

Summertime! And the livin’ is easy, Plums are ripe…sweet and juicy.

We have several fruit trees growing  in our teeny suburban garden: a Hachiya persimmon, ‘Peter’s Honey’ fig, and miniature ‘Necta-Zee’ nectarine in large containers, five low-bush blueberries as part of our edible landscaping, and two hybrid crosses between apricot and plum trees ~ Flavor Delight® Aprium and Flavor Supreme® Pluot.

Spring 2008 'Flavor Supreme' pluot blossoms
February 2008 ‘Flavor Supreme’ pluot blossoms

The complex, intense flavor of both the Aprium® and the Pluot® is unique to interspecifics, much like a blend of fruit juices where the mixture is an improvement over individual ingredients. Pluots have 3/4 plum parentage with smooth skins, while Apriums are 3/4 apricot in their genetic heritage. Hybridizing these trees was the inspiration of Santa Rosa (CA) own remarkable plant wizard, Luther Burbank, hybridizer of the incredibly delicious ‘Santa Rosa’ Japanese-type plum. The sugar content of interspecifics is much higher than in standard plums or apricots, yielding fruit of incomparable sweetness.

If you have been considering growing fruit trees and your climate matches Flavor Supreme or Flavor Delight’s needs, I recommend them highly!

Ripe, ready to pick 'Flavor Supreme' pluots

Pat. No. 6763 (Zaiger)

A sensational plum-apricot hybrid. One of the original plum-apricot crosses and a taste test winner! Medium-sized (ours grow large) plum-like fruit has richly flavored, firm, sweet red flesh and greenish-maroon mottled skin. No tartness.

Flavor Supreme comes in very early with a flavor superior to any other early season plum. Ripens in mid-to-late June, about 2 weeks before the Santa Rosa plum. 7-800 chill hours. A decent self-pollinator, but helped by other pluots®, a Japanese-type, Burgundy, Santa Rosa or late blooming plums. Pluots require hot summers to achieve their full flavor.

Gathering 2007's 'Flavor Supreme' Pluots in my tee shirt. Photo by Victoria Brush.
Gathering 2007’s ‘Flavor Supreme’ Pluots in my tee shirt. Hmmm…where’s my gardening apron?

USDA Zone: 5,6,7,8,9
(Some sources list Zones: 7 to 10)
Pollination: (Semi-self pollinating, helped by Japanese-type / Santa Rosa plums or apriums)
Tree Size: Large (we can vouch for that)
Ripens: Very Early
Rootstock: Myrobalan
NOTE: Semi-dwarf is still a huge vigorous tree

Looking through comments on gardening forums, the delectable Flavor Supreme pluot rates 5 out of 5 on many folks lists:
~ Flavor Supreme (5) This year was the best fruit I’ve ever grown or tasted. Has less tendency to crack than many others. Productive if properly pollinated. Very vigorous tree so don’t over-fertilize.

~ Overall Flavor Supreme is the best pluot I’ve tried. If you can hold down the vigor and get it pollinated,  it can be as good as it gets. Best rootstock might be Citation.

~ Flavor Supreme is the sweetest and most flavorful of all the pluots and that’s saying a lot.

Ripening 'Flavor Supreme' pluots grown in Santa Rosa CA
‘Flavor Supreme’ pluots beginning to ripen with a flush of pink

*   *   *   *   *   *

One Can’t Always Believe Plant Catalog Descriptions.
I ordered “semi-dwarf” trees for the narrow side yard we had available for fruit trees. Even in the restricted 30 foot long by 7-8 foot wide space, our two trees have grown huge, completely shading out our raised vegetable bed. AND have pushed their roots, not only into that bed, but well beyond the area we had planned for their growth.

As a novice home orchardist, I didn’t know Flavor Supreme was ‘extremely vigorous.’ It was helped along with my committed organic horticultural practices and diligent fertilizing every spring for it’s first decade. With a huge tree to manage, now, I don’t fertilize at all!

'Flavor Supreme' pluot loaded with fruit June 2008
‘Flavor Supreme’ pluot loaded with fruit June 2008

Surprisingly, several gardeners in the forums I read, while preparing this post, commented on unreliable pluot / aprium fruit production due to pollination problems. That hasn’t been our experience. Every year since ‘Flavor Supreme’ started producing fruit (except recently in 2009 / 2010), we’ve had harvests so generous we couldn’t eat all the fruit even sharing the bounty with family and neighbors. I suspect the issue other gardeners attribute to “lack of pollination” is actually winter weather patterns…as we have observed with our aprium’s early flowering habit.

The 2008 'Flavor Supreme' pluot's crop was so prolific the tree was leaning on the fence.
The 2008 ‘Flavor Supreme’ pluot’s crop was so prolific the tree was leaning on the fence.
'Flavor Supreme' pluot harvest stacked up on our side fence.
Late afternoon sun spotlights 2008 ‘Flavor Supreme’ pluot harvest stacked on our side fence.

The Flavor Supreme pluot’s 2008 crop was SO prolific our tree was leaning against the fence and hanging over our neighbor’s side yard. Got permission to set up wooden 2×4’s in her yard to support the fruit laden branches, so they wouldn’t break. Three branches heavy with fruit, including a main upright, on our side of the fence snapped before I got to propping them up. I had an inkling the week before that I should tend to them, but dilly-dallied and my pluot “baby” got hurt. (sniffle)

One box of our 2008 'Flavor Supreme' pluot's harvest
One box of our 2008 ‘Flavor Supreme’ pluot’s harvest

Flavor Delight®, Flavor Supreme®, Pluot® and Aprium® are registered trademarks of Zaiger Genetics of Modesto, California

'Flavor Supreme' pluot's luscious fruit win many taste test  contests
‘Flavor Supreme’ pluot’s luscious fruit win many taste test contests

The following mail order companies sell ‘Flavor Supreme’ Pluot trees as well as other plucot varieties and apriums:
(Conventionally Grown and Certified Organic) (wholesale) Also, check out their videos on YouTube ~ search: DaveWilson fruit

4 thoughts on “Summer Solstice! Early Plums and Flavor Supreme Pluots are ripe…”

  1. Victoria Brush

    Boy, your trees look really happy! Can you over-eat this stuff? You may want to find some kind of support for that one branch, though, so it doesn’t crack. Just recently I was reading somewhere about how fruit trees can easily break their branches in a “good” year.

  2. Hard to overeat ripe plums/pluots as they’re so filling. Extremely difficult to eat / cook the entire harvest quickly enough, so they don’t spoil. Some always fall on the ground where the garden clean-up crews (slugs / snails / sow bugs (roly-polys) / earwigs / ants) enjoy them.

    Have noticed the past few years a beautiful, but wary, Stellar Jay hangs around while the pluots are ripening. Pierces the ripe plums using his bill like a straw to suck up the juices. Inadvertently, startled him this past Sunday when he discovered me pruning the aprium.

    2008, which was the heaviest harvest of all, three branches DID break, including a major one, as I mention in the last paragraph of the article. (sob, sniffle)

  3. Glad to hear no problems with pollination. I was almost put off purchasing a tree because I also read those gardening forums that talked about poor fruit set.
    Glad I came across your blog and my Flavor Supreme is now on its way! They look totally scrumptious.

  4. Chris ~ The flavor is really superb. You won’t be disappointed. Just started harvesting this year’s teeny crop of about 2 dozen pluots yesterday (spring weather issues). Our weather patterns must really be changing…the past four years, the crop’s been poor.

    SOME TIPS: Took a backyard orchard pruning workshop many years ago (tree/flowering shrub pruning is an interest of mine) and learned some very interesting things:
    ~ Don’t prune any side branches, even low on the trunk, for 5 years. The baby sapling needs all the food it can get from the leaves and branches.
    ~ For a home orchard, you may leave branches much lower on the tree (compared to commercial orchards that use equipment), so you can pick fruit easily. I have and it makes fruit so easy to harvest.
    ~ Home grown fruit trees only need aesthetic pruning (since it has ornamental function in the garden, too).
    ~ Mainly prune for health (removed diseased / broken branches) and spent fruit spurs, which on plums produce for about 4-5 years.
    ~ To control growth, Plums / Pluots branches need to be cut all the way to the point of origin on the side branch. If tip pruned, the tree will respond with overly long side growth. I can attest to that!! as I didn’t understand this bit of advice when I first heard it.
    ~ Best time to prune is right after summer harvest. I’m doing my tree now.
    ~ If the new growth each year is at least 12 inches long, the tree does not need fertilizing. New growth on my tree is often 3-4 feet long!! Vigorous? YEAH.

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