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While the briefness of their splendor needs to be recognized, cherries actually are the sturdy spring-flowering trees for warm environment yards. I can consider nothing else, in addition to their close Prunus loved ones and several of the magnolias that even resemble rivalling flowering cherries for sheer weight of blossom and also vibrance of colour.

The genus Prunus, to which the cherries, plums, almonds, apricots as well as peaches belong, consists of around 430 types topped a lot of the northern temperate areas and also has a toehold in South America. Although consisting of a couple of evergreen varieties, such as the well-known cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), the category is primarily deciduous and normally durable to the frosts likely to happen in the majority of New Zealand yards.

The genus Prunus is widely identified as being separated right into 5 or 6 subgenera, though some botanists like to identify these as distinct genera. The subgenus cerasus is the one to which the cherries belong. This group consists of a wide array of types, most of which are not very decorative. The types which are of the majority of passion to gardeners are the Chinese and Japanese cherries, not just due to the fact that they tend to be the most attractive, yet likewise since they often tend to be reasonably small, usually have attractive autumn vegetation in addition to spring blossoms and also because centuries of advancement in oriental gardens have created countless gorgeous cultivars.

The Japanese acknowledge 2 primary groups of blooming cherries: the mountain cherries or yamazakura as well as the temple or yard cherries, the satozakura. The hill cherries, which often tend to have easy blossoms, are largely originated from the initial Mountain Cherry (Prunus serrulata var. spontanea), Prunus subhirtella as well as Prunus incisa. They are mostly grown for their early-blooming routine, which is just as well due to the fact that their rather delicate display screen would certainly be overwhelmed by the flamboyance of the yard cherries.

The garden cherries are the outcome of much hybridisation, primarily unrecorded, so we can not be specifically sure of their beginnings. Prunus serrulata (in its lowland kind) and also Prunus subhirtella additionally feature mainly in their history. The various other significant influences are Prunus sargentii, Prunus speciosa, Prunus apetala as well as possibly the prevalent Bird Cherries (Prunus avium as well as Prunus padus). The outcome of these old crossbreeds and modern-day advancements is the wide range of forms that rupture right into blossom in our gardens every spring.

Regretfully, that complicated parentage and also those centuries of growth as well as countless cultivars integrated with Western misconceptions of Japanese names as well as several introductions of the very same plants under various names has brought about significant confusion with the names of blooming cherries.

The majority of the preferred garden plants are lumped together under 3 basic headings:

1. Prunus subhirtella cultivars and hybrids;

2. Sato-zakura hybrids;

3. Crossbreeds no more listed under parent types, being instead considered as just to tough to identify in that means.

But however you view them, blossoming cherries have so much to offer that a little complication over naming and also recognition should not stand in the method of your including them in your yard. And also since a number of them are available as container-grown plants that can be bought in flower, it’s truly simply a matter of selecting the blossoms you like.

Nonetheless, it’s nice to recognize specifically which plant you’re taking care of, so that you can be certain of its performance and also dimension. While the majority of the bigger nurseries and also yard centres make sure to provide plants that are true to kind, ensure on initial flowering that your cherries match their tag summaries. Misidentification, or probably misrepresentation, is common.


Prunus subhirtella cultivars as well as crossbreeds

Although the flowers of Prunus subhirtella are usually tiny and also rather simple, they show up from early winter season well into spring, relying on the cultivar. Not only that, the cultivars themselves are long-flowering, often being in blossom for 3 weeks to a month. There are many cultivars, but many are similar to, or kinds of both major kinds listed here.

‘ Autumnalis’ (‘ Jugatsu Sakura’).

This is the most trusted winter-flowering kind. It often begins to flower in late April to early May and can lug flowers right through till mid September. It rarely generates an enormous burst of flower, instead occasional clusters of blossoms. This is equally as well because the blossoms are harmed by heavy frosts. The blossoms of ‘Autumnalis’ are white to pale pink opening from pink buds; those of ‘Autumnalis Rosea’ are the same but with a deep pink centre.

‘ Pendula’ (‘ Ito Sakura’).

Prunus autumnalis has a tendency to have crying branches and ‘Pendula’ is a cultivar that emphasises this function. Its flowers are usually light pink and open in late winter season to early springtime. ‘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 initial, Japanese cherry to be expanded in European gardens. It’s beginnings can be mapped back to at the very least the 15th century. Its blossoms are white to extremely pale pink, opening up from pink buds, and also when completely open just how 2 noticeable green leaf-like pistils in the centre of the blossom.

‘ Taihaku’.

‘ Taihaku’, also called the terrific white cherry, has white blossoms as much as 5cm across. It grows to at least 8m tall with a broader spread and also its flowers open at the same time as its bronze vegetation expands, making a pleasant contrast. Idea to have been lost to growing, this cultivar was identified in Sussex yard from an old Japanese print.

‘ Ukon’.

Although ‘Ukon’ imply yellowish, this cultivar has really unique pale green blossoms and is among minority apparent cherries. Its vegetation establishes purple tones in autumn. The uncommon flower colour contrasts well with the likes of ‘Sekiyama’.

‘ Amanogawa’ (‘ Erecta’).

‘ Amanogawa’ expands to around 6m tall, but only around 1.5 m vast, and also has pale pink solitary blossoms with a freesia-like fragrance. It blooms in mid-spring and in autumn the foliage creates striking yellow and red tones.

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

‘ Shogetsu’ blossoms late and also produces pendant collections of white, double blossoms that open up from pink buds. The flower collections are up to 15cm long, that makes a tree in full bloom a jailing view, specifically considering that ‘Shogetsu’ is not a large tree which its crying habit indicates it can be covered in flower right down to the ground.

‘ Sekiyama’ (‘ Kanzan’).

Definitely amongst one of the most prominent cherries and also frequently marketed under the name ‘Kanzan’, ‘Sekiyama’ has a fairly slim, upright growth routine when young however eventually turns into a spreading 12m tall tree. Its blossoms, which are pink and also really totally double, are brought in swinging collections of 5 blooms. They open from reddish-pink buds. The vegetation has a minor red tint.

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

This cultivar grows to concerning 6m high as well as flowers in springtime as the foliage creates. The young fallen leaves are a deep bronze shade that contrasts well with white to really light pink flowers.

‘ Kiku-shidare’ (‘ Shidare Sakura’).

‘ Kiku-shidare’ is comparable in flower to ‘Sekiyama’, however it has a weeping growth routine. It is a small tree and is usually surrounded in blossom from the upper branches down to near ground degree. The flowers can each have up to 50 flowers.

‘ Pink Excellence’.

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

‘ Kofugen’.

‘ Kofugen’ has graceful semi-weeping branches as well as a fairly small development behavior. Its blossoms are not actually solitary however semi-double, though both twists of petals are flat rather than shaken up, so the effect is not that simple to see.

‘ Shirotae’ (‘ Mt. Fuji’).

This lovely tree has a spreading out development habit that in the most effective specimens reveals noticeably tiered branches. Its flowers, which are white and also semi-double on mature plants, start to open before the vegetation expands. They are pleasantly aromatic.

‘ Takasago’.

Although potentially a Prunus × sieboldii cultivar, ‘Takasago’ is now a lot more widely noted under the satozakura cherries. It births clusters of semi-double pink blossoms with bronze-red new vegetation.

‘ Ojochin’ (‘ Senriko’).

This tree, instead squat when young, but at some point 7m tall bears solitary white flowers in such abundance as to give the perception of double flowers. Opening up from pink buds, the blossoms depend on 5cm in size and amongst the later to flower. ‘Ojochin’ means large light, which aptly describes the form of the blossoms.

Various other crossbreeds, varieties and their cultivars.

‘ Honor’.

Among one of the most popular of all garden cherries, ‘Honor’ is a Prunus sargentii × Prunus subhirtella hybrid that becomes a flat-topped tiny tree. In springtime it is surrounded in pendulous clusters of big, bright pink, semi-double flowers.

Yoshino cherry (Prunus × yedoensis).

Popular as an opportunity tree, this Prunus subhirtella × Prunus speciosa hybrid is surrounded in white to very pale pink flowers in springtime before or as the new fallen leaves develop. When the blossoms are spent they develop drifts of dropped flowers around the base of the tree. There are several cultivars, such as the pink-flowered ‘Akebono’, the light pink ‘Awanui’ as well as a crying form (‘ Shidare Yoshino’ or ‘Pendula’).

Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulata).

The Taiwan cherry is valued for its early-flowering habit and intense fall foliage. The flowers, which are typically a dazzling deep pink, are hefty with nectar and preferred with birds. Taiwan cherry is rather frost tender, though once developed it expands well in most coastal locations.

‘ Okame’.

Introduced trimite flori online in 1947 by the British authority Collingwood Ingram, ‘Okame’ is a crossbreed between the Taiwan cherry and the Fuji cherry (Prunus incisa). It is normally quite durable, though this appears to be variable, and also it flowers greatly in very early springtime. The blooms open in late winter to early springtime prior to the foliage creates as well as are a bright soft pink. ‘Pink Cloud’ is a comparable though even more compact cherry raised by Felix Court.

Himalayan hillside cherry (Prunus cerasoides).

This species is instead frost tender, especially when young, yet is a gorgeous tree where it grows well. Not only does it produce pink flowers in winter, when little else remains in blossom, it has actually appealing grouped bark and also the uncommon behavior of losing its vegetation in late summer then creating brand-new leaves before winter months. The variety rubea has deeper pink flowers in springtime.

Cyclamen cherry (Prunus cyclamina).

Flowering on bare stems in very early spring, the cyclamen cherry is a durable little to medium-sized tree from main China. The blossoms, which are rose pink, are adhered to by bronze new growth that maintains its colour for some weeks before greening. The leaves fall late in fall and commonly colour well.

Sargent’s cherry (Prunus sargentii).

This large and also extremely sturdy Japanese types is most likely best referred to as one of the parents of the incredibly popular hybrid ‘Accolade’. It can expand to as much as 18m high as well as will certainly hold up against at least -25 ° C. Its 3 to 4cm large, brilliant pink flowers are complemented by red-brown bark.

Kurile cherry (Prunus nipponica var. kurilensis).

Generally little bit greater than a large bush, this Japanese cherry can reach 6m high under suitable problems. The blossoms, which are soft pink as well as open from very early springtime, are backed by red sepals that hold on for a while after the blossoms have fallen, thus extending the springtime colour.

Prunus × sieboldii.

This crossbreed has triggered several popular cultivars. The initial cross is a slow-growing small tree with semi-double 3 to 4.5 cm broad flowers in spring. The brand-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.