How to Plant and Grow Flowering Cherry

Flowering Cherry Tree Prunus

Flowering cherry trees (Prunus spp.) are among the showiest and most dramatic trees you can grow 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 mildly 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. There's almost no limit to the way flowering cherry trees can be used.

Flowering Cherry Tree Overview

Genus Name Prunus spp.
Common Name Flowering Cherry Tree
Plant Type Tree
Light Sun
Height 6 to 40 feet
Width 5 to 25 feet
Flower Color Pink, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Colorful Fall Foliage, Spring Bloom, Winter Interest
Special Features Attracts Birds, Fragrance, Good for Containers
Zones 5, 6, 7, 8
Propagation Stem Cuttings

Where to Plant Flowering Cherry

Select a spot in full sun that has moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. The young tree benefits from protection against strong winds.

Plant the trees 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.

How and When to Plant Flowering Cherry

Plant bare-root flowering cherry trees in fall. If the tree is container grown, it can be planted in the fall or after the last frost in spring.

Dig a hole the same depth as the bare-root tree or container and twice as wide. Position the tree so that the topmost root or crown is at soil level, adding a small mound of soil at the bottom of the hole if needed to position the tree correctly. If the tree is grafted, don't cover the graft. Backfill the hole and press down on the soil to remove air bubbles. Water the tree. 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.

Flowering Cherry Care Tips


Flowering cherries demand a spot in full sun—at least eight hours of direct sun daily.

Soil and Water

Flowering cherry trees thrive in moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter. If your soil 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.

Water young trees weekly until they are established. After that, the tree may only need supplemental water every 10 days. When watering the tree, soak the ground all around the roots.

Temperature and Humidity

Flowering cherry trees don't tolerate extreme heat or cold. A period of cool 45°F weather is needed for the dormancy period that precedes the spring blooms. Flowering cherry trees prefer cool, dry weather. Established trees can tolerate humid Southern summers, but they need more frequent watering during hot, dry periods.


Apply a slow-release fertilizer formulated for cherry trees or ornamental flowering trees in spring, following the directions on the packaging.


Regularly pruning the tree to keep the canopy from growing dense and congested adds to its beauty and helps prevent disease. Prune flowering cherries in the winter. Start by removing any offshoots (called suckers) that develop at the base of the tree. Remove any dead or diseased growth, plus branches that grow in proximity and rub together.

Potting and Repotting Flowering Cherry

A dwarf flowering cherry tree that grows about 6 feet tall, such as Hiromi dwarf weeping cherry (Prunus jaquemontii 'Hiromi'), can be grown in a large, deep container that has excellent drainage. However, judicious pruning may be needed to keep the tree from outgrowing the pot. Perfect for a patio area, the potted tree must receive full sun daily and be planted in well-draining soil to thrive. If the tree outgrows its pot, relocating it in the garden is likely better than attempting to repot it.

Pests and Problems

Most problems with flowering cherry trees aren't caused by pests or disease, but by extreme weather, too-wet soil, low sunlight, and non-optimal planting conditions.

However, they're susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases, such as brown rot, leaf spot and cankers, so planting flowering cherry trees in a spot where there's good airflow helps ensure good health. If these problems occur, an early spring application of fungicide or the removal of affected limbs will help.

The leaves of the trees may be damaged by the cherry slug or cibrate weevil, both of which require chemical controls, or by common garden aphids, which can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

How to Propagate Flowering Cherry

Home gardeners can propagate a flowering cherry with softwood cuttings. However, because many flowering cherry trees are grafted, the resulting tree may not resemble the parent.

Begin by cutting a 4- to 8-inch section of a softwood or semi-hardwood branch from an established tree in the summer. The section should have two to four leaf nodes on it. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, dip it into rooting hormone, and insert it into a pot filled with a moist mixture of peat moss and vermiculite, firming the planting medium around the cutting. Place a plastic bag loosely over the pot and cutting and put it in a bright light location. Mist the cutting every day to keep the planting medium moist.

Rooting typically takes two to three months. Gently tug on the cutting occasionally until you feel some resistance, indicating the cutting has rooted. Remove the bag permanently and wait while the cutting develops robust roots. Then, transplant the cutting to a larger container and move it outside to a sheltered area for it to become used to the temperature. In a week or two, transplant it to the selected area.

Types of Flowering Cherry Trees

'Akebono' Yoshino Cherry

Akebono Yoshino cherry Prunus x yedoense 'Akebono'

Prunus x yedoensis 'Akebono' is the 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. It grows 25-30 feet tall. Zones 5-8

Weeping Higan Flowering Cherry

Flowering cherry (Prunus x subhirtella)

Prunus x subhirtella 'Pendula' offers multiseason interest with pink or white flowers in spring and sometimes again in fall. It grows up to 40 feet tall and 25 feet wide. Zones 5-8

Tibetan Cherry

Flowering Cherry Tree Prunus

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

'Pink Star' Flowering Cherry

Pink Star flowering cherry

Prunus serrulata 'Beni-Hoshi', also known as 'Pink Star', has an umbrella-shaped canopy that reaches 25 feet tall. Its fragrant, pink flowers blossom in spring, and its leaves turn red, orange, bronze or gold in fall. Zones 5-8

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long do flowering cherry trees live?

    They are considered to be relatively short-lived trees. Most of them live only 30-40 years.

  • How long does the flowering cherry bloom season last?

    Each tree may bloom for only a week or two, but they are spectacular during that time. Add other cultivars known to bloom at different times to expand the show.

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