Help us achieve our goals:
make a donation »
Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Cordons are a practical way to enjoy heavy crops of plums, in a compact form. Grown against walls or used to create ‘rooms’, cordons can be an attractive design feature within the garden.
Suitable for PlumsTiming Plant in winter, prune in summerDifficulty Difficult
Plum cordons are excellent for the small garden. They are simply single-stemmed fruit trees with short sideshoots (fruiting spurs).
Any plum cultivars can be grown as cordons by using the dwarfing rootstock ‘Pixy’, but the best results are from those cultivars which are naturally compact such as ‘Early Laxton’, ‘Czar’ and ‘Blue Tit’.
Cordons can be planted and trained obliquely or vertically. The oblique cordon is preferable as it encourages the production of sideshoots. If you are growing more vigorous cultivars, double and triple cordons are a better choice of form.
The angle of the main stem slows the movement of sap and encourages more even growth.
The pruning of cordons is carried out to concentrate growth into fruit buds and maintain a manageable tree.
Prune established plum cordons in summer (July to August): they should never be pruned in the dormant season because of the risk of silver leaf infection.
Keep an eye out for the following problems;
More generally, diseases such as silver leaf, bacterial canker and pocket plum can affect plums.
Plum aphids and plum moth are also troublesome.
Apples and pears: growing and training as cordonsApples: stepover (horizontal cordon) trainingFan-trained trees: initial trainingFan-trained trees: established treesPlum aphidsPlum mothPlums, gages and damsons: choosing cultivarsPlums: pruningPocket plumSilver leaf
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9