Prunus domestica 'Johnson' STARKING DELICIOUS
Common Name: dwarf plum 
Type: Fruit
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 8.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy, Edible


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Best in a sheltered site in moisture-retentive soils with good drainage. Best sited in a sheltered location where periodic chemical spraying will not pose any problems for adjacent areas.

Needs another variety for pollination.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Prunus domestica, commonly called common plum or European plum, is native to Southwest Asia. It small to medium size, deciduous tree grow for its fruit. Plums are one of the most popular of the stone fruits.

Genus name from Latin means plum or cherry tree.

Specific epithet means domesticated.

'Johnson', sold under the trade name of STARKING DELICIOUS, is an exclusive introduction from Stark Bro's of Louisiana, Missouri. Stark Bro's sells this variety grafted to several different rootstocks which, inter alia, control the size of the tree (tree height in parenthesis): standard (15-20'), semi-dwarf (12-15') and dwarf (8-10'). The tree growing at the Kemper center is grafted to a dwarf rootstock. Dwarf trees bear standard-sized fruit but have the advantages of fitting into smaller spaces and of being more manageable (e.g., easier to spray, prune and harvest). White flowers appear in early spring followed by clingstone plums which feature red skins and red flesh and which ripen in mid August (USDA Zone 5). Trees usually will begin to bear fruit in 3-4 years.


Plums usually grow well in Missouri. Numerous potential insect and disease problems. Plum curculio, brown rot, black knot and bacterial leaf spot are among the most common. Netting or nylon mesh can be used, if necessary, to protect the crop from birds. Although good cultural and sanitation practices are always essential, chemical spraying is usually necessary in order to adequately control pests. Cold winter temperatures and spring frosts can cause significant damage to buds/flowers.


Grown primarily for the fruit crop, but early spring bloom has good ornamental value.

This dwarf plum is ideal for smaller spaces.