Beach plum is a highly sought after native shrub that thrives in well-drained, sandy soils, ideal for dune restoration and parking lot or hell-strip plantings.
The plums are not only edible, they are delicious, able to be eaten straight from the plant when fully ripe, or made into jams and jellies. You don’t necessarily have to live right on the coast to add Prunus maritima to your landscape, if you have a sunny, dry, sandy area, this plant may be just the ticket!
While the benefit to us humans is great, the benefits to wildlife are far greater. P. maritima supports over 400 species of lepidoptera, and is beneficial for bees and birds as well. Planted alongside other edible species such as Bearberry, lowbush blueberry, and Eastern Prickly Pear, you can share the delicious fruits with the local wildlife with a lovely garden.
Use: Eat fresh like other plums, although the taste is very variable from plant to plant. The fruit is spectacular in jellies and jams. But you'll have to beat the birds to the fruit first.
ECO-TYPE: some local eco-type, some grown from seed collected in New Hampshire. Started by New Hampshire State Forest Nursery.
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first photo courtesy of Dan Wilder
Prunus maritima (Beach plum)
SIZE: 1 gallon pot type: shrub sun needs: full sun water needs: dry, average, moist (but well drained) height: 3-8' plant spacing: space 3'-5' apart bloom time: April, May bloom color: white
edible parts: fruit which ripens in August and September salt tolerant. Some salt exposure should not be fatal to the plant but some leaf burning may still occur.