Fruit trees

Mirabels (Prunus domestica var. Syriaca)

Prunus are trees of great ornamental value, but there are many species and varieties that also produce edible fruits, and one of them is known as mirabeles. This plant produces a type of plum, but smaller than the common one and yellow or red in color.

Its cultivation is very simple, since it resists frost without problems. Also, it is not a species that needs to be pruned, which means that you will only have to worry about keeping it well watered and fertilized.

Origin and characteristics of the mirabelle

Image – Wikimedia/ Rasbak

It is a deciduous tree or sapling belonging to the genus Prunus, originating in the Lorraine region, in France. Its scientific name is Prunus domestica var. syriaca, although it is known as mirabelle, mirabelle, mirabelles, bells or rattles, and grows to a height of about 5 to 7 meters, being usual to leave it as a low shrub of about 3-4 meters. The leaves are ovate-lanceolate, petiolate, with the upper surface glabrous and with the underside somewhat pubescent on the veins.

It blooms in spring. The flowers are solitary or sometimes in fascicles, white. The fruit is a drupe of about 4cm, globose, with yellow or red skin, and inside it contains a single brown seed.

What are their cares?

If you want to have a copy, we recommend that you take care of it as follows:

Location

It is a plant that must be outdoors, in full sun. Although it does not grow much, it does need space to be able to develop well, so it must be planted at a minimum distance of two or three meters from walls, walls, tall plants, etc.

Earth

  • Pot: it can be grown in large containers, with holes for drainage, using substrates rich in organic matter that are able to quickly filter the water. For example, a good mix would be 60% mulch + 30% perlite + 10% worm castings.
  • Garden: the soil must be fertile, with good drainage.

Related article:The importance of drainage for our plants

Irrigation

The frequency will vary depending on the climate and the location, but in principle it should be moderate to frequent. During the summer and/ or if it is hot and it hardly rains, it will be necessary to water very often, but the rest of the year with one or two irrigations a week may be enough.

In any case, it is important that every time you water you soak the soil well. If it is planted in the garden or orchard, make a tree for it (it is like a low barrier, about 5cm high, made with earth, which forces the water to stay around the plant, with which it can absorb all of it) and water consciously. On the other hand, if you have it in a pot, water until the water runs out of the drainage holes.

You should never wet the leaves, and less if the sun is high since they would burn and fall before their time.

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During the warm months of the year, it  is necessary to fertilize the mirabeles with organic fertilizers, such as mulch, compost, guano, or the manure of herbivorous animals.

Planting or transplanting time

You can plant it in the garden in late winter, or in fall if the weather is mild. If you have it in a pot, transfer it to a larger one every 2 or 3 years.

Multiplication

The mirabelle multiplies by seeds in winter, since it needs to be cold before germinating. To do this, what is done is to sow them in a tupperware with vermiculite previously moistened, and then it is placed in the refrigerator -where the dairy products, fruits, etc.- are put for three months.

Once a week you have to take the tupperware out of the fridge and open it to check that the substrate is still damp and, also, so that the air is renewed thus avoiding the appearance of fungi.

After that time, they are sown in a pot or seedling tray with mulch mixed with 30% perlite, and placed outside, in semi-shade. Thus, they will germinate throughout the spring, more or less four or eight weeks after sowing.

Pests and diseases of the mirabelle plum

It is quite resistant, but can be affected by aphids, San José lice, fruit flies, rust, gummies and canker. But they can be treated well with diatomaceous earth, and fungi with eco-friendly fungicides like copper or sulfur.

Harvest

Its fruits finish ripening between the end of August and the beginning of September.

Rusticity

It resists frosts down to -15ºC.

What uses does it have?

Image – Wikimedia/ Rasbak

Apart from being used as an ornamental, it is also edible. However, its flavor is acidic, so it is usually used more to make other products, such as spirits, jams or the mirabelle cake, which is a typical sweet from Lorraine.

What did you think of this plant? Did you know her?

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