How to Propagate the Chickasaw Plum

by Reannan Raine

Chickasaw plum (Prunus angustifolia) usually grows in shrub form to a height of 4 to 12 feet but can grow into a 25-foot tree. It grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 to 9 and naturally grows in fields or along fences and streams. It works well for informal hedges and screens. You can buy seedlings but you can also increase your stock by propagating your Chickasaw plum.

1. Seed Propagation

1 Place 1- to 2-inch layer of sand in a clear plastic zip-top bag or sealable container in late summer. Put the clean, dry Chickasaw plum seeds in the sand, seal the plastic bag or container, and put it in the refrigerator for three to four months.

2. Seed Propagation

2 Pour a half-and-half mixture of sphagnum peat moss and perlite or vermiculite into a 3- to 4-inch-deep seed flat or container with drainage holes in the bottom. Pour room-temperature water over the mixture until it is thoroughly moistened. Take the seeds from the refrigerator and plant them in the moist mixture. Plant them at a depth equal to one to two times the seed width and 2 to 3 inches apart.

3. Seed Propagation

3 Cover the flat with a piece of hard plastic. Put smaller containers in a covered aquarium or 1-gallon clear plastic bag and seal it. Place them in bright, indirect light. Set the container on an electric heat mat. Turn the heat mat up each morning to 86 degrees Fahrenheit and down to 68 F in the evening.

4. Seed Propagation

4 Add water gently when the top of the potting mix begins to dry. Do not allow the seeds to become dry. Chickasaw plum seeds can take up to two years to germinate. Pot the seedlings up in individual containers when they are 3 to 4 inches tall and can be handled safely.

5. Propagating from Cuttings

1 Mix together equal parts of sphagnum peat moss and perlite. Pour the mixture into a 6- to 8-inch-wide container that has drainage holes in the bottom. Wet the mix thoroughly with water. Poke 1-inch-deep holes in the mixture with a pencil. Space holes for multiple cuttings 2 to 3 inches apart.

6. Propagating from Cuttings

2 Cut 4- to 6-inch-long hardwood branch tip cuttings in the fall, using sharp shears. Strip the leaves from the bottom 2 inches of the cuttings. Pour a small amount of 1,000 parts per million indolebutyric acid rooting hormone powder into a small container. Dip the bottom end of the cutting into the rooting hormone. Insert the bottom of the cutting into the hole in the rooting mixture. Press the soil around the cutting. Water the cuttings after planting.

7. Propagating from Cuttings

3 Cut the bottom out of a 2-liter plastic soda bottle with a sharp knife. Set the bottle over the cuttings. Place them in bright, indirect sunlight. Maintain soil temperatures of 65 to 70 F. Water them if the soil begins to dry. Pot them up separately in 6-inch-deep containers after they develop roots, which usually takes four to six weeks.

8. Propagating Suckers

1 Remove the soil and expose the root between the sucker and the parent shrub with a shovel. Cut the adjoining root 6 inches away from the sucker with sharp pruners. Do this in spring before the plant has put on new leaves.

9. Propagating Suckers

2 Slice into the soil in a circle around the sucker, 6 inches away from the stem, with a spade. Push a shovel or the spade into the soil at an angle below the sucker. Lift the sucker with the shovel or spade.

10. Propagating Suckers

3 Dig a planting hole 2 feet wide and just deep enough for the Chickasaw plum sucker to be planted at the same depth it was growing before being separated.

Items you will need

  • Sand
  • Plastic zip-top bag or small sealable container
  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Perlite or vermiculite
  • Seed flat or plant container
  • Piece of hard plastic, covered aquarium or clear plastic bag
  • Electric heat mat (optional)
  • 6-inch-deep containers (optional)
  • 6- to 8-inch-wide container (optional)
  • Pencil (optional)
  • Pruners (optional)
  • Rooting hormone powder (optional)
  • 2-liter plastic soda bottle (optional)
  • Sharp knife (optional)
  • Shovel (optional)
  • Garden spade (optional)

About the Author

Reannan Raine worked for 30 years in the non-profit sector in various positions. She recently became a licensed insurance agent but has decided to pursue a writing career instead. Ms. Raine is hoping to have her first novel published soon.