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While the briefness of their magnificence has to be recognized, cherries really are the sturdy spring-flowering trees for temperate environment yards. I can consider no others, aside from their close Prunus relatives and also some of the magnolias that even resemble equaling blooming cherries for sheer weight of flower as well as vibrance of colour.

The category Prunus, to which the cherries, plums, almonds, apricots as well as peaches belong, includes around 430 species topped much of the north warm regions and has a toehold in South America. Although including a couple of evergreen species, such as the popular cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), the genus is primarily deciduous as well as generally sturdy to the frosts most likely to occur in the majority of New Zealand yards.

The genus Prunus is extensively acknowledged as being separated right into 5 or 6 subgenera, though some botanists like to identify these as distinctive category. The subgenus cerasus is the one to which the cherries belong. This team consists of a wide variety of types, much of which are not very ornamental. The species which are of the majority of rate of interest to gardeners are the Chinese and Japanese cherries, not only since they often tend to be one of the most attractive, yet additionally since they have a tendency to be fairly portable, frequently have attractive fall vegetation along with spring flowers as well as since centuries of growth in asian gardens have actually created countless stunning cultivars.

The Japanese acknowledge two primary groups of flowering cherries: the mountain cherries or yamazakura as well as the temple or garden cherries, the satozakura. The hill cherries, which often tend to have easy flowers, are mostly derived from the initial Hill Cherry (Prunus serrulata var. spontanea), Prunus subhirtella as well as Prunus incisa. They are primarily grown for their early-blooming habit, which is equally as well because their rather delicate display screen would certainly be overwhelmed by the flamboyance of the garden cherries.

The garden cherries are the result of much hybridisation, primarily unrecorded, so we can’t be precisely certain of their origins. Prunus serrulata (in its lowland form) and Prunus subhirtella likewise feature mostly in their background. The other significant influences are Prunus sargentii, Prunus speciosa, Prunus apetala and perhaps the prevalent Bird Cherries (Prunus avium as well as Prunus padus). The result of these old crossbreeds as well as contemporary advancements is the wide range of types that burst right into blossom in our gardens every springtime.

Regretfully, that complex parentage and those centuries of advancement and also plenty of cultivars integrated with Western misunderstandings of Japanese names as well as several intros of the exact same plants under different names has led to considerable confusion with the names of flowering cherries.

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

1. Prunus subhirtella cultivars and also hybrids;

2. Sato-zakura hybrids;

3. Crossbreeds no longer provided under moms and dad varieties, being instead considered as simply to tough to categorize because way.

But nevertheless you view them, blossoming cherries have a lot to supply that a little complication over naming as well as recognition should not stand in the way of your including them in your yard. As well as now that a lot of them are readily available as container-grown plants that can be acquired in blossom, it’s actually just an issue of picking the blossoms you like.

However, it’s nice to know exactly which plant you’re handling, to ensure that you can be certain of its performance as well as dimension. While a lot of the bigger baby rooms as well as garden centres make sure to supply plants that cling type, ensure on very first blooming that your cherries match their label descriptions. Misidentification, or maybe misstatement, is common.


Prunus subhirtella cultivars and also hybrids

Although the blossoms of Prunus subhirtella are normally tiny and fairly simple, they show up from very early winter season well into spring, depending upon the cultivar. Not only that, the cultivars themselves are long-flowering, usually being in flower for 3 weeks to a month. There are many cultivars, however most resemble, or kinds of the two major types listed here.

‘ Autumnalis’ (‘ Jugatsu Sakura’).

This is one of the most reliable winter-flowering form. It frequently starts to bloom in late April to early May and can bring flowers right through until mid September. It hardly ever creates an enormous burst of blossom, rather erratic collections of blossoms. This is just as well because the blossoms are harmed by hefty frosts. The flowers of ‘Autumnalis’ are white to pale pink opening from pink buds; those of ‘Autumnalis Rosea’ coincide but with a deep pink centre.

‘ Pendula’ (‘ Ito Sakura’).

Prunus autumnalis tends to have crying branches as well as ‘Pendula’ is a cultivar that emphasises this function. Its flowers are typically pale pink and open in late winter to early spring. ‘Dropping Snow’ is a cultivar with pure white flowers, while those of ‘Rosea’ are deep pink.

Sato-zakura crossbreeds.

‘ Fugenzo’ (‘ Shirofugen’ ).

‘ Fugenzo’ was one of the initial, if not the first, Japanese cherry to be grown in European yards. It’s beginnings can be traced back to at the very least the 15th century. Its blossoms are white to really light pink, opening up from pink buds, as well as when fully open how two obvious green leaf-like pistils in the centre of the flower.

‘ Taihaku’.

‘ Taihaku’, also known as the great white cherry, has white blossoms as much as 5cm throughout. It grows to at least 8m tall with a broader spread as well as its flowers open at the same time as its bronze vegetation increases, making a positive contrast. Thought to have been shed to farming, this cultivar was recognized in Sussex yard from an old Japanese print.

‘ Ukon’.

Although ‘Ukon’ imply yellow-colored, this cultivar has very distinct light environment-friendly flowers and also is just one of the few unmistakable cherries. Its vegetation establishes purplish tones in autumn. The uncommon blossom colour contrasts well with the likes of ‘Sekiyama’.

‘ Amanogawa’ (‘ Erecta’).

‘ Amanogawa’ expands to around 6m high, yet just around 1.5 m large, and also has pale pink solitary flowers with a freesia-like fragrance. It flowers in mid-spring and in autumn the foliage establishes striking yellow and also red tones.

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

‘ Shogetsu’ blossoms late as well as produces pendant clusters of white, double flowers that open from pink buds. The blossom collections are up to 15cm long, which makes a tree in full bloom an arresting view, particularly considering that ‘Shogetsu’ is not a big tree and that its crying habit indicates it can be covered in bloom right to the ground.

‘ Sekiyama’ (‘ Kanzan’).

Definitely among the most preferred cherries and frequently marketed under the name ‘Kanzan’, ‘Sekiyama’ has a fairly slim, upright growth behavior when young yet eventually turns into a spreading 12m high tree. Its blossoms, which are pink and also extremely totally double, are brought in swinging collections of 5 blooms. They open from reddish-pink buds. The vegetation has a small red tint.

‘ Ariake’ (‘ Dawn’, ‘Candida albicans’).

This cultivar expands to about 6m high as well as blossoms in spring as the foliage develops. The young leaves are a deep bronze color that contrasts well with white to really pale pink flowers.

‘ Kiku-shidare’ (‘ Shidare Sakura’).

‘ Kiku-shidare’ is comparable in blossom to ‘Sekiyama’, but it has a weeping development behavior. It is a little tree as well as is often surrounded in bloom from the topmost branches down to near ground degree. The blossoms can each have up to 50 petals.

‘ Pink Perfection’.

‘ Pink Excellence’ was presented in 1935 by the famous English nursery Waterer Sons and Crisp. It is a likely ‘Sekiyama’ × ‘Shogetsu’ hybrid and also has flowers that reveal features of both moms and dads; the clustered blossoms of ‘Shogetsu’ and also the pink of ‘Sekiyama’. The flowers are extremely completely double and the young foliage is coppery.

‘ Kofugen’.

‘ Kofugen’ has stylish semi-weeping branches and also a fairly small growth behavior. Its blossoms are not really single yet semi-double, though the two twirls of petals are flat as opposed to ruffled, so the impact is not that very easy to see.

‘ Shirotae’ (‘ Mt. Fuji’).

This attractive tree has a spreading out growth habit that in the most effective samplings shows clearly tiered branches. Its blossoms, which are white as well as semi-double on mature plants, begin to open prior to the foliage increases. They are happily perfumed.

‘ Takasago’.

Although possibly a Prunus × sieboldii cultivar, ‘Takasago’ is currently more extensively noted under the satozakura cherries. It births clusters of semi-double pink flowers with bronze-red brand-new vegetation.

‘ Ojochin’ (‘ Senriko’).

This trimite flori online tree, rather squat when young, but ultimately 7m tall bears single white blossoms in such wealth regarding provide the perception of double flowers. Opening from pink buds, the flowers depend on 5cm in diameter and among the later to bloom. ‘Ojochin’ suggests huge light, which aptly describes the shape of the blossoms.

Various other crossbreeds, varieties and also their cultivars.

‘ Award’.

One of one of the most preferred of all garden cherries, ‘Accolade’ is a Prunus sargentii × Prunus subhirtella hybrid that develops into a flat-topped little tree. In springtime it is surrounded in pendulous clusters of huge, brilliant pink, semi-double blossoms.

Yoshino cherry (Prunus × yedoensis).

Widely known as an opportunity tree, this Prunus subhirtella × Prunus speciosa crossbreed is smothered in white to extremely light pink flowers in spring before or as the new leaves establish. When the flowers are spent they form drifts of dropped flowers around the base of the tree. There are numerous cultivars, such as the pink-flowered ‘Akebono’, the pale pink ‘Awanui’ as well as a crying kind (‘ Shidare Yoshino’ or ‘Pendula’).

Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulata).

The Taiwan cherry is valued for its early-flowering practice as well as intense fall foliage. The blossoms, which are usually a vivid deep pink, are hefty with nectar and also very popular with birds. Taiwan cherry is rather frost tender, though as soon as established it expands well in a lot of seaside areas.

‘ Okame’.

Introduced 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 usually quite durable, though this seems variable, and it blossoms heavily in very early springtime. The flowers open in late winter months to early springtime before the foliage develops as well as are an intense soft pink. ‘Pink Cloud’ is a comparable though more portable cherry raised by Felix Jury.

Himalayan hillside cherry (Prunus cerasoides).

This varieties is instead frost tender, specifically when young, but is a lovely tree where it expands well. Not only does it produce pink flowers in wintertime, when little else is in blossom, it has actually appealing banded bark as well as the unusual habit of losing its foliage in late summer after that generating brand-new leaves prior to winter. The range rubea has much deeper pink flowers in springtime.

Cyclamen cherry (Prunus cyclamina).

Blooming on bare stems in very early spring, the cyclamen cherry is a sturdy little to medium-sized tree from main China. The blossoms, which are rose pink, are followed by bronze brand-new development that keeps its colour for some weeks prior to greening. The leaves drop late in autumn as well as frequently colour well.

Sargent’s cherry (Prunus sargentii).

This huge and very durable Japanese varieties is probably best called one of the moms and dads of the popular crossbreed ‘Award’. It can expand to as long as 18m high as well as will hold up against a minimum of -25 ° C. Its 3 to 4cm broad, brilliant pink flowers are enhanced by red-brown bark.

Kurile cherry (Prunus nipponica var. kurilensis).

Normally little more than a huge hedge, this Japanese cherry can reach 6m high under optimal conditions. The blossoms, which are soft pink and open from early spring, are backed by red sepals that hang on for a while after the blossoms have actually dropped, thus extending the springtime colour.

Prunus × sieboldii.

This crossbreed has generated numerous prominent cultivars. The original cross is a slow-growing little tree with semi-double 3 to 4.5 centimeters wide blossoms in spring. The new stems are commonly 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 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.