Elephant Heart Japanese Plum Tree

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Heart-Shaped Gems Elephant Heart Japanese Plum Tree!

  • Incredible Large, Heart-Shaped Fruit
  • Gorgeous Blood-Red Juicy Flesh
  • Red & Green Skin & Frosted Bloom
  • Rich, Berry-Like & Distinctive Flavor
  • Early Spring Bloom of White Flowers
  • Fragrant & Calls Pollinators
  • Fresh Eating, Canning & Freezing
  • Clingstone
  • Prolific Bearing
  • Late Season Harvest
  • Dark-Green Foliage & Upright Growth
  • Disease & Heat Resistant
  • Pollinated by Beauty or Santa Rosa
  • ~500-600 Chill Hours

The Elephant Heart Plum Tree (Prunus salicina 'Elephant Heart') produces large, heart-shaped plums with sweet, juicy richly flavored blood-red flesh. It's firm and juicy and excellent for fresh eating, canning and freezing!

A Japanese Plum variety, the Elephant Heart ripens when most plums are long gone, with a prolific harvest in September. You can extend your plum harvest longer by planting this tree among your earlier fruiting varieties!

Originating in the early 1900s by Luther Burbank, this is sometimes known as the Burbank Elephant Heart Plum tree or the Blood Plum due to its coloration.

Smothered in glorious white blossoms in the spring, your tree will be humming with pollinators! These fragrant flowers are an early spring delight! The dark-green foliage emerges soon after and cloaks the tree in vibrant greenery until fall. Providing wonderful shade and backdrop for the juicy red gems in autumn, plus some fall color!

Elephant Heart does require a pollinator to produce that novel fruit, so pair it up with another Plum for cross-pollination, such as Beauty or Santa Rosa.

How to Use Elephant Heart Japanese Plum Tree In The Landscape

Japanese Plum trees are fantastic dual-purpose ornamental beauties! Spring blossoms, lush foliage and juicy red gems, even the winter branching structure is ornate!

Create a spectacular specimen tree in your front landscaping or soften the edges of a garage or shed with a lovely tree that also provides a juicy bounty. Add to side yards or in hedgerows for privacy and screening neither you or your neighbors will mind seeing.

Growing to a hefty size if allowed, Elephant Heart Plum casts cooling shade for your patio and seating areas as well as over garden beds, just be sure you’ll still be able to reach your harvest!

Prune smaller as needed for easy to reach snacks and to incorporate into any sized yard or home orchard. You can easily control the size as you like, or try your hand at Espalier for a truly unique conversation piece!

Plums are delightful for eating fresh, and can be stewed, used in jams and jellies, or made into compotes, puddings, pies, and cakes. Plums are a good source of Vitamin C and make for delicious healthy snacks.

#ProPlantTips For Care

Elephant Heart Plum prefers drier, more arid climates, but also suitable for USDA growing zones 5 through 9 as well. Situate in an area that is protected from frost pockets and with good air circulation, and a site that favors the morning sun.

Plant in full sun for the most vigorous growth and best fruit. Provide at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Japanese Plums can grow in many soil types but do best in fertile, well-drained soil. Periodic deep watering in the summer months is advised, even though the trees are fairly drought tolerant. A generous layer of mulch helps retain soil moisture as well as insulate the root system from heat and chill.

For best results, fertilize your tree regularly with Dr. Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer or a good organic, slow-release fertilizer. Add Nature Hills Root Booster while planting for a life-long symbiotic relationship with the tiny feeder roots.

Provide ample water for your young tree while it becomes established, not allowing it to dry out between waterings. Then reduce your watering to moderate, yet consistent moisture during the heat of summer and when fruiting.

Heavy pruning is necessary at all ages to control size (if desired) and to remove damaged, dead or diseased branching. Prune also to keep an open canopy, so that both sunlight and airflow reach the interior. Head over to read more on Plum Tree Care in our Garden Blog for more Fruit Tree Planting, Fruit Tree Pruning and Plum Tree Care tips and tricks can be found!

You’ll adore this unique fruit tree and its fascinating fruit! But only if you order yours today at NatureHills.com before they’re gone!

Plum Tree Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for Elephant Heart Japanese Plum Trees to bear fruit?

Nature Hills Nursery sells fruit trees with mature root systems that are already three to four years old, so you’ll enjoy fruit sooner than you would with younger trees! Expect young Plum trees to begin fruiting usually by the 2nd to 4th year after they establish in your landscape.

How big do Elephant Heart Japanese Plum trees grow? How fast do Plum trees grow?

The Elephant Heart Japanese Plum tree can grow to a mature height of 15-25 feet and a mature width of 5-15 feet. 

Once your Plum tree has been established (after the first year), it can typically add 13-24 inches of new growth per growing season. If your plants are growing less than that in a season, it may be worth your while to check the fertility level.

Where is the best place to plant a Elephant Heart Japanese Plum Trees?

Plum trees grow best in well-drained, fertile soil in at least 6 hours of full sun per day or more. Provide good air circulation and moderate, yet consistent water in well-drained, fertile soil.

Do You Need 2 Plum Trees to Produce Fruit?

The Elephant Heart Japanese Plum trees are not self fertile, so planting more than one Plum tree that blooms at about the same time, boosts yields on both trees and extends your harvest time! 

No room? Look into High-Density Planting techniques, or choose a semi-dwarf or dwarf fruit tree.

When Should Elephant Heart Japanese Plum Tree be Planted?

Bareroot Plum trees can be planted in spring when they are available in your area. Container-grown Plum trees can be very successfully transplanted all throughout the growing season. Check for first and last frost dates for your area with your local County Extension Office.

  • Plant bareroot Plum trees in the early spring.
  • Plant container-grown trees anytime the ground is not frozen by digging a hole as deep as the soil line and twice as wide.

How Do I Find Elephant Heart Japanese Plum Trees for Sale Near Me?

Make your life easier and your landscape tastier by shopping for Plum trees at NatureHills.com online fruit tree nursery. You’ll find a massive selection of fruit trees for sale, including many lovely Plum tree varieties!

Choose the right tree for your area by first finding your USDA growing zone by entering your zip code in the field above the Plant Highlights section on our product pages. Narrow down your options by plant hardiness zone, sun availability, and size requirements.

Place your order, knowing it’s backed by the Nature Hills Nursery product guarantee and protected by Plant Sentry™, which helps ensure regulated plant materials aren’t sent to prohibited areas.

Expect to receive your plants at the appropriate planting time for your growing zone when temperatures are safest for those plants that ship in fall, winter, or early spring.

Shop the selection of mature Plum trees for sale at Nature Hills Nursery and place your order for Elephant Heart Japanese Plum Tree today.

What shipping options do you offer?

NatureHills.com works closely with our growers and nursery professionals to ensure we ship when it is most appropriate for your area. Our goal is to deliver the hardiest plants by avoiding extreme high and low temperatures. Check out our shipping schedule for more information and to learn our wills and won’ts when it comes to shipping plants. Find your Elephant Heart Japanese Plum Tree for sale here at NatureHills.com!

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with NatureHills.com and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

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Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
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Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates

Flavorful Elephant Heart Japanese Plum

Upon his death in 1926, Luther Burbank was credited with at least 113 named varieties of Plums. Though Elephant Heart was developed by Burbank and selected by him in 1920, it would not be released and named until 3 years after his death in 1929.

The Elephant Heart plum is most likely a hand pollinated cross of possibly Satsuma and some unknown

The Stark Brothers Nursery received most of Burbank's work after his death and were tasked with determining what had value and what could be let go. The Elephant Heart Plum already being a selection that Burbank had made, along with the fruit's obvious unique qualities, put it on the fast track for naming and release by the Stark Brothers in 1929.

Named for its heart-shaped fruit, large size and rich, deep red flesh color, the variety saw limited success in the commercial markets. This was most likely due to its delicate skin which bruises easily and short shelf life after harvest. The home garden market, concerned mostly with flavor, quickly became the primary market. Aside from a few Farmers Market Growers, the popularity continues in the home garden today.

Considered by many to be one of the finest eating, late season plums. The Elephant Heart remains somewhat tart until fully ripe and some prefer this quality. Picked fresh at the time of peak ripeness, the acid sugar balance is perfect, the fruit is juicy with a rich, complex, incomparable flavor.

One of the traits that keep the Elephant Heart a home garden favorite is the long hang time. The fruit eats well and hangs on the tree continuing to sweeten for well over a month. During this time the tartness of the fruit softens, finishing with almost a tropical-like quality; with the skin taking on a tart berry like flavor that only adds to the eating experience. All in all, this is one of Burbank's finest that he never named.


Elephant Heart Japanese Plum Tree Is Suited to Grow in Zones 5-9
Growing Zones 5-9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Prunus salicina 'Elephant Heart'
Type Deciduous
Mature Height 15 - 25 feet
Mature Spread 15 - 20 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Widely Adaptable
Moisture Consistent Moisture
Growth Rate Medium
Flower Color White
Foliage Color Dark-Green
Fall Color Yellow
Harvest Time Late Season
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Fruiting Time 3 to 5 years
Pruning Time Late Winter
Fragrant Yes