While the briefness of their glory has to be acknowledged, cherries really are the hardy spring-flowering trees for warm environment yards. I can think of no others, apart from their close Prunus loved ones and also some of the magnolias that even resemble matching blooming cherries for large weight of bloom and vibrance of colour.

The category Prunus, to which the cherries, plums, almonds, apricots and also peaches belong, includes around 430 species spread over a lot of the north pleasant areas as well as has a toehold in South America. Although including a couple of evergreen species, such as the well-known cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), the category is generally deciduous and also generally hardy to the frosts likely to happen in many New Zealand yards.

The category Prunus is commonly identified as being split right into 5 or 6 subgenera, though some botanists like to recognise these as distinctive genera. The subgenus cerasus is the one to which the cherries belong. This group consists of a wide range of varieties, a number of which are not extremely decorative. The varieties which are of a lot of passion to gardeners are the Chinese and also Japanese cherries, not only because they tend to be the most attractive, yet likewise since they often tend to be sensibly portable, frequently have eye-catching fall foliage as well as springtime flowers as well as because centuries of growth in oriental gardens have actually generated countless attractive cultivars.

The Japanese recognise 2 main teams of flowering cherries: the mountain cherries or yamazakura as well as the holy place or garden cherries, the satozakura. The mountain cherries, which tend to have easy blossoms, are mostly stemmed from the initial Mountain Cherry (Prunus serrulata var. spontanea), Prunus subhirtella and Prunus incisa. They are mainly grown for their early-blooming habit, which is just as well because their instead fragile display screen would be overwhelmed by the flamboyance of the yard cherries.

The garden cherries are the result of much hybridisation, primarily unrecorded, so we can not be exactly sure of their beginnings. Prunus serrulata (in its lowland type) and Prunus subhirtella additionally include mostly in their history. The various other major impacts are Prunus sargentii, Prunus speciosa, Prunus apetala and perhaps the prevalent Bird Cherries (Prunus avium as well as Prunus padus). The outcome of these old hybrids and contemporary developments is the wealth of types that break right into flower in our gardens every spring.

Regretfully, that complex parentage and those centuries of growth and also numerous cultivars combined with Western misunderstandings of Japanese names and numerous introductions of the very same plants under different names has led to significant complication with the names of flowering cherries.

The majority of the popular yard plants are lumped together under three basic headings:

1. Prunus subhirtella cultivars and hybrids;

2. Sato-zakura hybrids;

3. Crossbreeds no longer noted under parent species, being instead regarded as simply to tough to identify because method.

Yet nevertheless you see them, flowering cherries have so much to supply that a little complication over naming as well as identification should not stand in the means of your including them in your garden. And since a lot of them are available as container-grown plants that can be gotten in flower, it’s truly simply a matter of picking the flowers you such as.

Nonetheless, it behaves to recognize exactly which plant you’re dealing with, to make sure that you can be certain of its performance and size. While a lot of the larger baby rooms and garden centres make sure to supply plants that cling type, see to it on first blooming that your cherries match their tag descriptions. Misidentification, or maybe misrepresentation, is common.


Prunus subhirtella cultivars and also crossbreeds

Although the flowers of Prunus subhirtella are normally tiny and also fairly easy, they show up from very early winter months well into springtime, relying on the cultivar. Not only that, the cultivars themselves are long-flowering, frequently being in bloom for 3 weeks to a month. There are numerous cultivars, but many resemble, or types of the two main kinds listed here.

‘ Autumnalis’ (‘ Jugatsu Sakura’).

This is one of the most dependable winter-flowering type. It usually starts to flower in late April to early May and can lug blossoms throughout up until mid September. It seldom produces a massive burst of flower, instead sporadic collections of blossoms. This is just as well since the flowers are damaged by heavy frosts. The flowers of ‘Autumnalis’ are white to fade pink opening from pink buds; those of ‘Autumnalis Rosea’ are the same yet with a deep pink centre.

‘ Pendula’ (‘ Ito Sakura’).

Prunus autumnalis tends to have weeping branches and ‘Pendula’ is a cultivar that stresses this feature. Its blossoms are typically light pink as well as open in late winter season to very early spring. ‘Dropping Snow’ is a cultivar with pure white blossoms, while those of ‘Rosea’ are deep pink.

Sato-zakura hybrids.

‘ Fugenzo’ (‘ Shirofugen’ ).

‘ Fugenzo’ was just one of the very first, otherwise the first, Japanese cherry to be grown in European gardens. It’s origins can be mapped back to at least the 15th century. Its blossoms are white to extremely pale pink, opening up from pink buds, and when fully open just how 2 conspicuous eco-friendly leaf-like pistils in the centre of the blossom.

‘ Taihaku’.

‘ Taihaku’, likewise known as the great white cherry, has white blossoms up to 5cm across. It expands to a minimum of 8m high with a wider spread as well as its blossoms open at the same time as its bronze foliage broadens, making a pleasurable comparison. Thought to have actually been lost to cultivation, this cultivar was recognized in Sussex yard from an old Japanese print.

‘ Ukon’.

Although ‘Ukon’ suggest yellowish, this cultivar has very unique pale green blossoms and is just one of minority apparent cherries. Its vegetation creates purplish tones in fall. The uncommon flower colour contrasts well with the likes of ‘Sekiyama’.

‘ Amanogawa’ (‘ Erecta’).

‘ Amanogawa’ grows to around 6m high, yet only about 1.5 m large, as well as has pale pink single flowers with a freesia-like scent. It grows in mid-spring and also in fall the foliage establishes striking yellow and also red tones.

‘ Shogetsu’ (‘ Shugetsu’, ‘Shimidsu-zakura’).

‘ Shogetsu’ flowers late and produces necklace collections of white, dual blossoms that open up from pink buds. The flower clusters are up to 15cm long, that makes a tree in full bloom a detaining sight, specifically thinking about that ‘Shogetsu’ is not a large tree and that its crying habit means it can be covered in blossom right down to the ground.

‘ Sekiyama’ (‘ Kanzan’).

Definitely among one of the most popular cherries and also frequently offered under the name ‘Kanzan’, ‘Sekiyama’ has a reasonably slim, upright growth practice when young but eventually turns into a dispersing 12m tall tree. Its blossoms, which are pink as well as extremely totally double, are lugged in pendulous collections of five blossoms. They open up from reddish-pink buds. The foliage has a mild red color.

‘ Ariake’ (‘ Dawn’, ‘Candida’).

This cultivar expands to concerning 6m high as well as blossoms in springtime as the foliage creates. The young leaves are a deep bronze shade that contrasts well with white to very pale pink blossoms.

‘ Kiku-shidare’ (‘ Shidare Sakura’).

‘ Kiku-shidare’ is comparable in blossom to ‘Sekiyama’, but it has a weeping development practice. It is a tiny tree and also is frequently smothered in blossom from the upper branches down to near ground level. The blossoms can each have up to 50 flowers.

‘ Pink Perfection’.

‘ Pink Excellence’ was presented in 1935 by the well-known English baby room Waterer Sons as well as Crisp. It is a potential ‘Sekiyama’ × ‘Shogetsu’ hybrid and also has blossoms that show qualities of both moms and dads; the gathered flowers of ‘Shogetsu’ and the pink of ‘Sekiyama’. The blossoms are extremely completely dual and the young foliage is coppery.

‘ Kofugen’.

‘ Kofugen’ has elegant semi-weeping branches and also a relatively compact growth practice. Its flowers are not truly single yet semi-double, though both twists of petals are flat as opposed to ruffled, so the impact is not that easy to see.

‘ Shirotae’ (‘ Mt. Fuji’).

This stunning tree has a spreading growth practice that in the most effective samplings reveals clearly tiered branches. Its flowers, which are white as well as semi-double on fully grown plants, start to open up prior to the foliage expands. They are pleasantly scented.

‘ Takasago’.

Although possibly a Prunus × sieboldii cultivar, ‘Takasago’ is now more widely listed under the satozakura cherries. It births collections of semi-double pink blossoms with bronze-red brand-new foliage.

‘ Ojochin’ (‘ Senriko’).

This tree, instead squat when young, yet eventually 7m high bears single white flowers in such profusion regarding give the perception of double blossoms. Opening from pink buds, the flowers depend on 5cm in diameter and among the later to grow. ‘Ojochin’ implies large light, which aptly explains the shape of the flowers.

Other hybrids, species and their cultivars.

‘ Honor’.

One of one of the most popular of all garden cherries, ‘Distinction’ is a Prunus sargentii × Prunus subhirtella crossbreed that turns into a flat-topped little tree. In spring it is surrounded in dangling clusters of big, bright pink, semi-double blossoms.

Yoshino cherry (Prunus × yedoensis).

Widely known as an opportunity tree, this Prunus subhirtella × Prunus speciosa hybrid is surrounded in white to extremely pale pink blossoms in spring prior to or as the new leaves establish. When the blossoms are spent they create drifts of fallen petals around the base of the tree. There are a number of cultivars, such as the pink-flowered ‘Akebono’, the light pink ‘Awanui’ as well as a weeping form (‘ Shidare Yoshino’ or ‘Pendula’).

Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulata).

The Taiwan cherry is valued for its early-flowering behavior and fiery fall vegetation. The blossoms, which are generally a vivid deep pink, are heavy with nectar and also very popular with birds. Taiwan cherry is rather frost tender, though as soon as developed it expands well in the majority of coastal areas.

‘ Okame’.

Presented in 1947 by the British authority Collingwood Ingram, ‘Okame’ is a hybrid in between the Taiwan cherry and the Fuji cherry (Prunus incisa). It is generally rather sturdy, though this appears to be variable, and it flowers greatly in early springtime. The blossoms open in late winter to very early spring before the foliage establishes and also are a brilliant soft pink. ‘Pink Cloud’ is a comparable though more compact cherry elevated by Felix Jury.

Himalayan hillside cherry (Prunus cerasoides).

This species is instead frost tender, particularly when young, yet is an attractive tree where it expands well. Not only does it produce pink flowers in winter season, when little else remains in bloom, it has actually eye-catching grouped bark as well as the unusual practice of dropping its vegetation in late summer season after that generating brand-new leaves prior to winter months. The variety rubea has much deeper pink blossoms in spring.

Cyclamen cherry (Prunus cyclamina).

Blooming on bare stems in very early spring, the cyclamen cherry is a sturdy tiny to medium-sized tree from central China. The blossoms, which are rose pink, are complied with by bronze brand-new development that preserves its colour for some weeks prior to greening. The leaves fall late in fall as well as typically colour well.

Sargent’s cherry (Prunus sargentii).

This large and really hardy Japanese types is possibly best called one of the moms and dads of the popular crossbreed ‘Honor’. It can expand to as much as 18m high and also will certainly endure a minimum of -25 ° C. Its 3 to 4cm wide, intense pink blossoms are complemented by red-brown bark.

Kurile cherry (Prunus nipponica var. kurilensis).

Generally little greater than a big shrub, this Japanese cherry can reach 6m high under optimal problems. The blossoms, which are soft pink as well as open from early spring, are backed by red sepals that hold on for some time after the blossoms have dropped, thus extending the springtime colour.

Prunus × sieboldii.

This crossbreed has actually triggered a number of popular cultivars. The initial cross is a slow-growing small tree with semi-double 3 to 4.5 centimeters large flowers in springtime. The brand-new stems are typically very glossy.


Flowering cherries are largely undemanding plants that thrive in almost any well-drained soil. For the best display of flowers they need to see at least half-day sun and if sheltered from the wind, the blooms and the autumn foliage will last far longer than if exposed to the full blast of the elements.

Cherries are often seen growing as lawn specimens, but they can be planted in shrubberies, borders or small groves. By choosing a selection that flowers in succession, it’s possible to have bloom from mid-winter to early summer.

Cherries are natural companions for azaleas and rhododendrons, and can be used to beautiful effect as shade trees for the smaller varieties of these or to shelter a collection of woodland perennials such as primroses and hostas. Japanese maples also blend well with cherries and they can combine to make a brilliant display of autumn foliage.


Flowering florarie cherries seldom need major pruning once established. Young trees can be lightly trimmed to develop a pleasing shape and mature plant may be kept compact by tipping the branches, otherwise just remove any vigorous water shoots and suckers that sprout from the rootstock. Make sure that any pruning is done in summer to prevent infecting the trees with silver leaf fungus (Chondrostereum purpureum). Although this disease is present throughout the year, cherries are most resistant to it in summer.

Pests and diseases.

Apart from the already mentioned silver leaf, there isn’t really very much that goes wrong with flowering cherries that can’t be tolerated. Sawfly larvae (peach or pear slug) sometimes cause damage to the foliage, and older plants sometimes suffer from dieback in their older branches, but these are seldom serious problems. The dieback is sometimes the result of Armillaria, so it may be advisable to insert some of the now readily available Trichoderma dowels into the trunks of any older cherries to prevent the problem developing.


Virtually all of the fancier flowering cherries sold for garden use are budded or grafted, usually onto Prunus avium stocks. Although few home gardeners attempt them, these processes are not difficult. Budding especially, is straightforward and is carried out in exactly the same way as budding roses.

Species, including the standard Prunus avium stock, can be raised from seed or from softwood cuttings taken in spring or early summer. The seed should be removed from the fruit by soaking for few days until all the flesh has fallen away. It is usually best to simulate winter conditions by chilling the seed for a few weeks before sowing.

Graft height.

When buying flowering cherries you may be faced with a choice of graft height. Which you choose largely depends on the cultivar and the type of growth best suited to your garden. With weeping cherries choose the highest graft possible (usually 8ft [2.4 m], to allow the maximum length of flowering branch. Upright cultivars like ‘Sekiyama’ are best grafted near ground level so that their erect habit has a chance to develop properly, while graft height in not that important with bushier trees.

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