Patience is Worth Waiting For

February 26th, 2014 Posted in bees, early spring flowers, fruit trees, habitat, native plants, trees, wildlife

I swooned the first time I saw a native Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana) tree in bloom one February.

mexican plum flowers austin texas

A grower friend gave me a very small one, just as this native was making it into nurseries.

mexican plum flowers central texas gardener

February #6 came and went, no flower in sight. Year seven (maybe 8)  was the magic number! Again, I started with a tiny sapling.

mexican plum flowers central texas gardener

Once mature enough to propagate, it doesn’t mickey mouse around. In a span of two weeks or so, visible buds swing into action.

mexican plum leaf first buds central texas native plants

mexican plum February buds central texas gardener

mexican plum flowers buds central texas gardener

Even with my allergy-stricken nose, I don’t miss out on its perfume bottle.

mexican plum native texas plant

Honeybees and native bees get the message pronto!

Honeybee on mexican plum flower native texas plant

Wizzie Brown, Texas A&M Agrilife entomologist, identified this spotted cucumber beetle having a meal. I’m like her: I take the good with the bad, since somebody good needs dinner.

spotted cucumber beetle on mexican plum flower

Fall-ripened fruit goes to the birds, though we could eat them too.

mexican plum fruit central texas gardener

Sadly, in drought, a lot of mine end up aborting fruit when the parent’s survival matters most. And across the area, even this tough native has succumbed to drought like many trees.

Brief fall color isn’t blinding in my garden. Mexican plum does everything in a hurry, except for the fruits that do take months to ripen.

mexican plum fall color

Mine in dense soil stands now about 18’ tall but it can get to 35’. It’s about 13′ wide. It hunkers under the neighbor’s pecan tree, but gets blasts of sun, generally late day in summer. It’s been a wonderful screening tree for us, especially since we’ve kept its lower branches.

mexican plum native texas tree

It’s not too late to plant, but do give it deep soakings this first year after letting it dry out in between.

Thanks for stopping by! Linda

  1. 10 Responses to “Patience is Worth Waiting For”

  2. By Ellen on Feb 26, 2014

    The stamens are like the ones described by Proust in his famous passage about the hawthorne flowers, which “held out each its little bunch of glittering stamens with an air of inattention, fine, radiating ‘nerves’ in the flamboyant [Gothic] style of architecture, like those which, in church, framed the stair to the rood-loft or closed the perpendicular tracery of the windows, but here spread out into pools of fleshy white, like strawberry-beds in spring.” I am going to recommend this tree to my Texan cousin when he moves into his new house.


    Linda reply on February 28th, 2014 6:14 pm:

    Wow, Ellen! How lovely! When your Texas cousin moves to his house, we’re ready to help him at CTG!


  3. By Cat on Feb 27, 2014

    Oh, it’s beautiful! What a statement it makes in your spring garden! I know what you mean about patience – I planted a six-eight inch tall mountain laurel about six years ago. It’s now just standing at about six feet tall. It has never bloomed and I’m beginning to wonder if it ever will. Every spring I think, okay, this is the year…Fingers crossed for this spring!


    Linda reply on February 28th, 2014 6:13 pm:

    Cat, same here thing with us on Mountain laurel! It took FOREVER! Next year, I just know it!


  4. By Tina on Feb 28, 2014

    Another one of those plants I wish I had room for. Sigh. Love the photo with the bee!


    Linda reply on February 28th, 2014 6:12 pm:

    Thank you, Tina! Believe me, I wish I had room for LOTS of plants!


  5. By heather/xericstyle on Mar 3, 2014

    I just planted one TODAY….I am so excited for it to be as pretty as yours one day. I saw some larger ($$$) ones at the nursery too and was taken by their beautiful bark!


    Linda reply on March 4th, 2014 7:27 pm:

    Yahoosers! You will love it!


  6. By Paige on Mar 26, 2014

    The little plums make the BEST jelly- coveted by family and friends. Sadly I lost my mature tree, so I’ve been foraging and hoarding plums in the freezer and waiting on the newly planted ones to grow.


    Linda reply on March 26th, 2014 5:17 pm:

    I’m so sorry about your trees. Many gardeners lost them in these years of drought. Thank heavens you have freezer plums until your new ones grow up!


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