Hanska Plum TreePrunus x 'Hanska'
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Prunus x 'Hanska'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Hanska Plum is a heritage hybrid fruit tree created from American and Chinese parents to grow and bear in cold parts of the country, where other fruit trees fail. Its beautiful red fruit has the skin of a plum, but the flavor of an apricot, especially when cooked. It has a tiny stone and yellow flesh, and it is delicious fresh, baked into pies, or turned into preserves. This fast-growing tree begins to bear fruit in its second year, and it grows rapidly, reaching 12 feet in 3 or 4 years, and then developing into a tree 15 feet tall, or a little taller, serving as a dual fruit and shade tree, ideal for a smaller garden. The beautiful pure-white spring blossoms on the bare branches are a further bonus that will brighten your garden at the beginning of the season.
Plant your Hanska Plum in a sunny place, in well-drained soil. It will grow in most types of soil, preferring a rich, slightly sandy soil. Unlike other fruit trees, it needs little or no pruning – just remove damaged and overcrowded branches. It is rarely bothered by serious pests or diseases, and it carries fruit even when grown alone. This heritage tree brings you something unique, not just a garden copy of fruit you can buy at the store. Ideal for organic gardening and homesteading, this tree is also a great addition to every garden, for its beauty and utility.
Growing fruit trees is a fascinating and useful thing to do in your home garden, but why grow fruit you can get at the supermarket? It makes a lot more sense to grow unique and unusual fruit trees, and ones adapted to where you live. Growing fruit in cold areas is difficult, as late frosts often kill the blossoms, and the short summer makes it hard to ripen the fruit. A long time ago this problem was tackled and solved, but these special trees have become harder to find. So we are thrilled to have sourced a supply of the Hanska Plum, a unique hybrid of plum and apricot, which was created for the cold north-west, and which thrives and fruits even in zone 3, where you simply cannot grow most fruit trees.
Even in warmer areas the Hanska Plum is a great choice for something unique in your garden. It is fast growing, so you won’t be waiting long to pick your first fruit, and it is beautiful in bloom, adding color and interest to your spring garden. The fruits are small, but they are abundant, and packed with powerful flavors you will adore. Eaten fresh, baked into pies, or turned into preserves, you will love having this very special fruit right from your garden, and knowing exactly how it was grown, for your peace of mind when feeding your family. Unlike other types of fruit, like apples and peaches, you don’t need an elaborate pruning program – just plant it and let it grow, and you will be picking fruit from the second year on.
The Hanska Plum grows rapidly into a tree about 15 feet tall, with a spreading crown. Its attractive shape and moderate size make it a wonderful shade tree too, for a smaller space, so it is the perfect dual-purpose tree. In spring the bare branches are covered in beautiful pure white blossoms, filling the air with a subtle fragrance. The leaves are between 2 and 4 inches long, oval, with a soft serrated edge. Over the summer months the fruit develops, and by late summer you will be harvesting your first fruit.
The plums are a beautiful rich red color, dusted with a pale blue powdery ‘bloom’. The flesh is golden yellow, juicy and aromatic, with a firm but delicate texture. The fruit is small, a little more than one and one-half inches across, not like an over-fed supermarket fruit from a commercial orchard, but the stone is very small, so there is lots of juicy goodness in every beautiful plum. They are delicious fresh, and when baked the subtle apricot quality is intensified, creating a unique flavor found in no other fruit.
The Hanska Plum should be grown in full sun, and with its rapid growth it will be a full 12 feet tall within 3 years. It grows best in well-drained soil, preferring a richer, slightly sandy soil, but thriving in almost any garden situation. This extremely hardy tree can be grown successfully even in zone 3, and it is an ideal choice for zones 4 and 5 too, where many fruit trees will not grow.
It needs no detailed pruning, but removing any dead, weak, broken or crowded stems is recommended. Longer shoots can be cut back by a few inches, to encourage a denser form. Unlike many other stone fruits, this variety is normally free of pests and significant diseases. It is self-fertile, and it will produce fruit when grown alone. For a heavier crop, plant it alongside another plum variety, preferably of the American plum.
Dr. Niel Hansen was a Danish-born plant breeder who worked in South Dakota around the beginning of the 20th century. At the South Dakota Agricultural Experimental Station, part of the State University, he created hundreds of fruit trees for colder climates, often using native plants and plants he had collected while exploring in China.
To create the Hanska Plum he took pollen from the Chinese Apricot-Plum (Prunus simoni), and used it to pollinate a plant of the native American Plum (Prunus americana). His goal was to create fruit that could be grown by the small farmers settling the cold north-west. He called this new plant ‘Hanska’, from the Sioux word for ‘fast’, because of its rapid growth. Many of his plants were given Sioux names, as he worked closely with many Native American people who still lived in Dakota at that time. He released his new plum in 1908. This heritage fruit was almost lost, but with the return of interest in traditional and heritage plants, it has been re-discovered as an ideal tree for gardeners in northern areas.
At the Tree Center we always take pride in offering the unusual and special, and the Hanska Plum is certainly that. We have found a limited supply of these trees, and we know they will soon be sold to the many people in colder areas looking for fruit trees they can grow. Order now, as this rare and desirable tree will soon be gone.