This article has been checked for horticultural accuracy by Oliver Parsons.


The Victoria plum, Prunus domestica 'Victoria', is Britain's best-known plum variety. It produces heavy crops of delicious, egg-shaped fruits, ideal for use in jams and chutneys, as well as eating straight from the tree.

Prunus domestica 'Victoria' tends to be grafted onto a semi-dwarfing rootstock, which produces a compact tree suitable for small- to medium-sized gardens. A Victoria plum tree will reach about 4m in height. If you want to grow it in a container, choose a dwarfing rootstock such as Pixy.

'Victoria' is a great choice for a small garden as it's self fertile, so doesn't need a pollination partner nearby. The fruits can be eaten raw or cooked, making this variety a versatile choice for home growers. Victoria plum tree blossom can be affected by early spring frosts as the tree's flowering time can be as early as March. To protect a small plum tree, you could cover it with fleece. If you are planting a plum tree, avoid planting it in a cold spot where harsh frosts are more likely, such as at the bottom of a hill.

The lifespan of a Victoria plum tree varies depending on rootstock, location and soil type, but you would expect most plum trees to live for around 20 years.

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How to grow a Victoria plum tree

For the sweetest, juiciest plums, grow Prunus domestica 'Victoria' in full sun and moist but well drained soil. Water newly planted trees regularly until established.

Where to plant a plum tree

The best place to plant a Victoria plum tree is in a sunny, fairly sheltered spot with moist but well drained soil. Ideally, plant your tree during the dormant season from November until the end of January, so it has a chance to establish a little before temperatures rise.

It can take a few years for a newly planted plum tree to produce fruit. After 2-3 years, it should produce a small crop, with a good crop possible 3-5 years after planting.

How to care for a Victoria plum tree

Pruning Victoria plum
Pruning a Victoria plum tree

Water newly planted trees well during their first year. Mature trees shouldn't need watering unless there is a long, hot spell. In this situation, give them a soaking, especially in early summer when the fruits are developing.

Mulch around your plum tree in spring to conserve moisture in the soil and suppress weeds. In summer, thin out fruits if there is a big crop. This will prevent branches becoming overloaded with fruit and breaking, and give the remaining fruit more room to develop.

Feed in winter with a high-potassium fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone meal.

Pruning a Victoria plum tree

Unlike many other fruit trees - such as apples and pears - cherries and plums are usually not pruned in winter as this makes them susceptible to silver leaf disease. The best time to prune is during the summer, from mid June onwards. Young plum trees can be pruned lightly in early to mid-spring.

Pruning a Victoria plum tree is not difficult: simply aim to create an open shape, getting rid of any branches that are crossing, as well as any that are dead or diseased. Prune the branches by about a third, cutting back to just above a bud. Cut sideshoots back by half.

Pests and diseases

Brown rot on plums
Brown rot on plums

Victoria plum trees can suffer from aphids, caterpillars, plum moth and wasps. Diseases can include silver leaf disease and brown rot.

  • Aphids will cause the leaves of your tree to curl and become sticky. Birds will help to keep populations down and, on smaller trees, you could also try to remove the aphids by hand or by spraying them off with a jet of water.
  • Plum moth larvae tunnel into fruits, so remove any damaged fruit to prevent the larvae from developing further and overwintering for next year. Pheromone traps can help prevent this problem by trapping male moths. Often only a small amount of fruit is affected, so it may not be a big problem.
  • Silver leaf disease can be avoided by pruning at the right time of year. It can be confused with mildew, which causes a similar silvery effect on leaves. With silver leaf disease you will notice dieback on the main branches.
  • Brown rot is a fungal disease that can spread out from a cut or puncture in the fruit, going on to infect a group of fruits if they are touching. Remove any affected fruit on the ground or hanging in the tree.

Advice on buying Victoria plum trees

  • Victoria plum trees are sold on a variety of rootstocks. For a small tree that you can grow in a container or in a small garden, choose a plant on a Pixy rootstock. St Julien is a semi-vigorous rootstock – trees will grow to around 4m tall 
  • If you're short on space, try a fan-trained plum, which can be grown against a wall
  • Always check plants for signs of damage or disease before planting

Where to buy Victoria plum tree