Flowering Cherry Tree
Flowering cherry trees are among the showiest and most dramatic trees that can be grown in your home landscape. They burst into bloom after a long winter, practically covering their branches with confetti-like flowers in shades of pink or white. The flowers of the many varieties are both attractive and fragrant.
After the blossoms fade in late spring, the trees stay interesting through summer, thanks to their dark green foliage. In fall, many put on a show with festively colored leaves in shades of amber, orange, and red. After the leaves drop, you can enjoy the shiny, coppery bark through the winter.
Planting Flowering Cherry Trees
There's almost no limit to the way flowering cherry trees, also called cherry blossom trees, can be used at home. Plant them along property lines to provide a beautiful living screen. Or use them to line a driveway or walkway and add a bold note to these otherwise bland landscape features. These relatively small trees can be strategically placed to cast shade and offer beauty to outdoor living areas such as decks and patios.
Because they offer multiseason appeal, it's also helpful to pay attention to the view from inside your home and plant them where you'll have the best vantage point from indoors.
Flowering Cherry Care
Flowering cherries demand a spot in full sun—at least eight hours of direct sun per day. Because they're susceptible to a number of fungal and bacterial diseases, planting them in a spot where there's good airflow also helps ensure good health. Likewise, regularly pruning to keep the canopies from getting too dense and congested adds to the beauty of the tree and helps prevent disease.
Select a spot that has moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter. If your ground has a high clay content, amend the soil with organic matter such as peat, compost, or coconut coir, and mix it in at planting time. Additionally, top-dress clay soil with an inch or two of organic matter in late autumn or early spring to help continually enrich the clay. Spreading a 3- to 4-inch-deep layer of mulch over the soil after planting helps cut back on weeds, helps the soil hold moisture during times of drought, and keeps soil temperatures around the roots cool.
Prune flowering cherries in the winter. Start by removing any offshoots (called suckers) that develop at the base of the tree. Get rid of any dead or diseased growth, plus branches that grow in proximity and rub together.
Plant breeders are continually working on new varieties of flowering cherries that better resist disease, naturally grow more compact, and have larger flowers.
Types of Flowering Cherry Trees
'Akebono' Yoshino cherry
Prunus x yedoense 'Akebono' is a queen of spring. Akebono Yoshino cherry is robed with masses of fragrant, double white to pink flowers. It has a spreading, arching crown and dark green leaves that turn brilliant yellow in fall. Zones 4-8
'Alba Plena' flowering almond
This variety showcases double white flowers. It has a spreading habit and grows 3-5 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9
Prunus triloba bursts into bloom in May with bold double pink flowers. It's usually grown as a shrub, through it can be pruned as a small tree. It grows 12 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-8
This cultivar features pink or white flowers in spring and sometimes again in fall. It grows 25 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-8
Prunus serrula bears shiny, copper-colored bark and white flowers in mid-spring. The green foliage turns gold in fall. The tree grows 30 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-8
'Icicle' flowering peach
A late-flowering cultivar with bright white, double flowers, 'Icicle' is an eye-catching plant in bloom. Prune it regularly to maintain a pleasing form. Zone 6
'Newport' cherry plum
Prunus cerasifera 'Newport' bears attractive purple foliage and white flowers in spring. The plum-like fruit is edible. The tree grows 30 feet tall and wide and is native to areas of North America. Zones 5-9
'Pink Star' flowering cherry
Long-lasting vivid pink flowers dangle below the branches of this fast-growing cherry tree. The tree's long, arching branches give the plant a striking umbrella outline. Zone 5