How one can Develop and Look after Decorative Flowering Cherry Bushes

Prunus spp.

Decorative cherries are celebrated with festivals and parades, gifted from one nation to a different, and cherished in gardens. They’re arguably the queens of the spring flowering bushes.

When you plant one in your backyard, there can be no query as to why decorative cherries are so valued.

They’re completely beautiful. Within the spring once they’re blanketed in blossoms, it’s exhausting to have a look at the rest.

A vertical image of large weeping cherry trees covered in an abundance of pink flowers pictured on a blue sky background. To the center and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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It’s true that these elegant bushes have a popularity for being slightly bit troublesome and a few of them deserve that popularity.

However newer hybrids and cultivars are hardy and wholesome, and as soon as you understand how to set your self up for fulfillment, you’ll be able to reduce the possibilities of having an issue.

We’ll assist you to turn into a flowering cherry grasp. Right here’s every thing we’ll discuss to get you there:

I don’t know who first checked out a cherry tree and thought to themselves that they may make these blossoms greater and extra colourful, however they have been a genius.

Take out your shovels and let’s dig in.

Cultivation and Historical past

Flowering cherries are a number of species from the Prunus genus, the identical genus that features edible cherries, almonds, apricots, peaches, and plums.

These species, together with P. jamasakura, itosakura, nipponica, sargentii, serrulata, subirtella, and lots of hybrids, are largely native to China, Korea, and Japan, or have been grown and cultivated there.

Some well-known hybrids embody Higans (P. x subhirtella) and Yoshito (P. x yedoensis).

A horizontal image of the Jefferson Memorial during cherry blossom season, pictured in evening sunshine with the trees and buildings reflected in the lake.

The blossoms are generally known as sakura in Japan, they usually’re the nationwide flower of the nation.

In Japan, flowering cherries have been cultivated for no less than 1,200 years, because the Heian interval, which resulted in 1185.

At present, there are dozens and dozens of cultivars and hybrids on the market famously exhibiting off their blossoms in locations like Washington DC, Tokyo, Kyoto, Amsterdam, New York, and Vancouver, BC.

A horizontal image of cherry trees blooming beside a river in Japan with a cityscape and blue sky in the background.

These bushes are carefully associated to those that produce fruit (P. avium and P. cerasus), and a few of these even produce tiny, inedible fruits.

However as an alternative of the fruit being the main target, it’s the showy flowers we bred these vegetation for. And boy, do they carry out.


The simplest method for the house grower to propagate decorative cherries is from cuttings or by shopping for saplings.

It’s technically doable to germinate seeds, however it’s extraordinarily troublesome and hybrids gained’t develop true.

I wouldn’t advocate it, particularly when rooting cuttings is a lot simpler, and what you see is what you get with clones!

From Cuttings

In the course of the winter when your cherry is dormant, head out and take a number of cuttings. Don’t do that when it’s under freezing – watch for the day to heat up so the branches can be pliable.

You’ll want a pointy, clear pair of clippers. Search for wholesome branches about as thick a pencil and take cuttings no less than six inches in size with no less than three nodes.

The nodes are the little lumps the place the leaves emerge.

A close up horizontal image of flower buds forming at the end of branches in spring, pictured on a soft focus background.

Whenever you take every slicing, make the underside minimize at a 45-degree angle and minimize the highest straight.

That is an previous propagating trick that helps you keep in mind which facet is up. Make the underside minimize (generally known as the basal minimize) simply beneath a node.

Put the minimize ends in water or wrap them in a moist material till you’re able to plant.

To prepare, fill six-inch containers with potting combine, with one container for every slicing. Poke slightly gap within the middle and dip the basal finish of every slicing in rooting hormone.

Place a slicing into the opening you made so it sits about three inches deep within the soil.

Water the soil and preserve it moist because the cuttings take root. It additionally helps to position tented plastic or a cloche over the cuttings to assist retain warmth and moisture. Place the containers in brilliant, oblique mild.

Go away the cuttings in place till new development begins to develop. At that time, transplant them into bigger containers and harden them off for per week, so you’ll be able to put them outdoors.

Hardening off begins by putting a plant that has been rising indoors in a protected spot outdoors for an hour after which bringing it again in.

On the second day, depart it outdoors for 2 hours. Preserve including an hour every day till per week has passed by, and it could stand up to out of doors circumstances all through the day.

When you’ve hardened them off, place the vegetation in full solar and preserve the soil moist whereas it grows.

You may depart the vegetation of their containers all summer season. This will increase the probabilities that they may survive. Within the fall, transplant as described under.

Transplanting Saplings

Head to any nursery within the spring, and also you’re prone to discover a decorative cherry or two. Convey one house for planting within the spring or fall.

To organize the world, dig a gap twice as deep and extensive because the container that the plant is rising in. Except your soil has a pH outdoors the vary of 6.0 to 7.5, there’s no want to regulate the pH.

Take all that soil you dug out and blend it with equal components well-rotted compost. Now, fill the opening in about midway and take away the sapling from its container.

Loosen up the roots, brush away among the previous soil, and place the sapling within the gap.

Ensure that it’s sitting on the identical peak because it was within the rising container. You don’t need the trunk to be any deeper or extra shallow than it was initially.

Fill in across the roots with a few of that soil and compost combination, and water the soil nicely. Fill in with a bit extra soil combination if it settles slightly.

How one can Develop

Flowering cherries do finest in case you give them no less than six hours of daylight per day. In the event that they obtain much less mild, they’ll survive, however the floral show can be lower than stellar.

A close up horizontal image of the bright pink ruffled flowers of 'Kwanzan' ornamental cherry pictured in light filtered sunshine.

Wherever you plant yours, it will need to have well-draining soil. These bushes gained’t tolerate moist roots.

On the identical time, they want persistently moist soil, and the earth must be water-retentive with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Should you don’t have the sort of soil naturally, you’ve got some choices.

A vertical image of a small ornamental cherry tree growing in a park with pink blooms contrasting with the blue sky in the background.

The primary is to dig three ft down and extensive and take away all of the soil. Combine it with equal components well-rotted compost and put the blended soil again within the gap. Now you’ll be able to plant.

The choice is to plant in a container crammed with good potting soil. Belief me, these vegetation are higher off rising in a container than in poor draining or sandy soil.

They really do nicely in containers as long as you feed them usually. They’re even fashionable as bonsai specimens.

Should you do go the container route, you want one thing massive like a 25-gallon container. It additionally must be heavy sufficient to not tip over within the wind.

As we talked about, you might want to preserve the soil moist. Decorative cherries gained’t tolerate drought. Even rare drought will depart them open to illness.

A close up horizontal image of the abundant pink and white flowers of an 'Akebono' ornamental cherry tree growing in the landscape.

Should you can’t assure common irrigation from the atmosphere – and most of us can’t – be sure that the tree is inside attain of an irrigation supply.

Higher but, run drip irrigation traces to your specimen. It’s at all times finest to water on the soil stage and never on the trunk or foliage.

Ideally, the soil won’t ever dry out under the highest inch. wooden chip mulch can assist the soil retain moisture with the added bonus of suppressing weeds.

A late frost and freezing winds can injury the sort of tree.

For the primary situation, you’ll be able to toss some frost material over a small specimen, although there’s not a lot you are able to do to guard a big tree from late frost. That’s simply the way it goes on this planet of gardening.

For the latter situation, plant your flowering cherry in a protected spot so these icy winds gained’t wreak havoc in your plant. Keep away from planting in low-lying areas, that are often known as frost pockets – for good purpose!


Feeding is a vital a part of caring for decorative cherries. These vegetation are heavy feeders they usually gained’t bloom nicely in case you don’t feed them usually.

Do it annually within the spring after flowering with a fertilizer formulated for bushes.

Or higher but, use one thing like All the way down to Earth’s Tree & Shrub combination, which accommodates useful endomycorrhizal fungi to assist wholesome roots.

A close up of the packaging of Down to Earth All Natural Tree and Shrub Fertilizer isolated on a white background.

All the way down to Earth Tree & Shrub

Arbico Organics carries this product in five- and 25-pound compostable containers.

Feed container vegetation extra usually. You should utilize the identical fertilizer, however apply it within the early fall, as nicely.

Rising Suggestions

  • Plant in full solar in a spot shielded from freezing winds.
  • Preserve the soil moist and keep away from drought.
  • Fertilize as soon as within the spring after flowering.

Pruning and Upkeep

When you don’t must do common pruning as you’ll with a fruit tree, pruning can assist stop fungal points, and something we will do to keep away from illness is an effective factor.

Prune within the late winter and take off any diseased or damaged branches on the base.

Crossing or crowded branches may be eliminated in spring after flowering. You need a cover that’s open sufficient to advertise good air circulation.

A close up horizontal image of a gardening pruning a shrub in the garden.

When the tree is younger, you should definitely take away any double leaders (two competing primary stems) so that you’ve got only one primary stem. And if I get wind that you simply topped your tree you’ll hear from me!

Topping is the observe of slicing the principle chief off on the prime to encourage the tree to have a extra spreading, weeping kind. It damages and weakens bushes.

In order for you a weeping sort, purchase one, don’t attempt to pressure it.

Cultivars to Choose

There are such a lot of glorious choices on the market that it’s exhausting to slim them down.

Search for one of many disease-resistant varieties if you wish to keep away from the heartbreak of probably shedding your flowering cherry. Thankfully, there are many these to select from.


‘Akebono’ is a big weeping cherry hybrid (P. x yedoensis) appropriate for Zones 5 to eight.

Stretching as much as 35 ft tall and extensive with an upright development behavior and a spherical, symmetrical crown, it flowers in spring with white and pale pink blooms and options brilliant yellow foliage within the fall.

What makes it so putting is that the frivolously fragranced flowers are among the largest of any flowering cherry on the market.

A close up square image of the blossoms of Prunus 'Akebono' pictured in light sunshine.


The excellent news is that this plant grows extraordinarily quick, so you’ll be able to have a full-sized specimen very quickly.

The unhealthy information is that quick development comes at a price. These have a tendency solely to reside for about 20 years.

Do you agree that greater is healthier? Then snag a three- to four-foot-tall plant in a #3 container at Nature Hills Nursery.


P. subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ aka autumn cherry places on one heck of a present.

A close up horizontal image of the pink and white flowers of an ornamental cherry tree pictured on a soft focus background.

It’s a big tree at about 30 ft tall and extensive, which supplies you an entire lot of alternative for a giant show.

The double flowers are massive and medium pink, and whereas they placed on the most important show within the spring, they placed on a second, smaller present within the fall.

In addition they produce small black fruits that appeal to birds and squirrels.

A square image of an 'Autumnalis' flowering cherry tree surrounded by spring flowering bulbs in a formal park.


Gardening in Zones 4b to 8b? Add twice-yearly blossoms to your backyard by selecting up a five- to six-foot-tall specimen at Quick Rising Bushes.


Arms down one of many showiest and most dramatic flowering cherries, P. serrulata ‘Kwanzan’ (generally labeled Kanzan) has massive, daring pink double flowers that completely smother the branches within the spring.

It’s not simply the flowers that stand out, although. The younger foliage emerges in bronze earlier than turning inexperienced after which orange-bronze within the fall, all on a compact 25-foot-tall, vase-shaped tree.

A square image of 'Kwanzan' flowering cherry trees growing in the landscape pictured on a blue sky background.


This tree can also be extraordinarily hardy in comparison with another cultivars and thrives just about wherever in Zones 4b to 9b. It’s a quick grower with a brief lifespan of simply 25 years.

Convey this charmer house as a five- to six-foot-tall specimen from Quick Rising Bushes.

Plena Rosea

Admittedly, that is a type of fussy, disease-prone choices that we warned you about, however generally you simply gotta go along with the temperamental magnificence. Right here’s why:

A surprising 20-foot-tall and equally extensive tree with arching branches, P. subhirtella ‘Plena Rosea’ aka ‘Pendula Plena Rosea,’ blooms in spring with rose pink flowers.

A square image of 'Plena Rosea' a weeping cherry tree with bright pink flowers growing outside a residence.

‘Plena Rosea’

It seems to be like a stupendous fountain of double blossoms. It’s really eye-catching and can undoubtedly be the point of interest of your yard whereas it’s blooming.

Choose up a sapling in a four-by-four-by-six-foot container at Nature Hills Nursery. You’ll probably solely have a number of a long time with this quick grower, however they’ll be price it.


One of many cultivars in Washington D.C.’s well-known yearly show, this hybrid of P. campanulata and P. incisais is way more durable than a lot of its siblings.

A close up horizontal image of pink cherry blossoms in full bloom pictured in bright sunshine on a blue sky background.

It may deal with some clay, resists pests and ailments, and reliably produces massive, vibrant blossoms, even in partial shade.

The draw back is that it doesn’t do nicely within the chilly. It may solely be grown in Zones 6b to 9a. It’s additionally long-lived and has a stupendous upright vase-like development behavior.

A square image of a single 'Okame' cherry tree growing by the side of a driveway outside a residence.


Create your personal cherry blossom competition in your yard by shopping for a four- to five- or five- to six-foot-tall ‘Okame’ tree at Quick Rising Bushes.

Managing Pests and Illness

Technically, flowering cherries may be impacted by something that assaults edible cherries, which is why you must familiarize your self with rising these vegetation by testing our information.

In actuality, a few of these hybrids and cultivars are proof against issues, however they’re usually temperamental.

Herbivore feeding, fungal points, and gummosis are the most important challenges, however the more healthy you retain them the extra probably they’re to withstand issues.

These bushes are naturally short-lived, and it’s frequent for them to succumb to illness after a number of a long time.


Whereas younger bushes are inclined to feeding by deer and voles, even older bushes may be broken. 


Deer will browse on the saplings, they usually may even eat sufficient of the plant that they kill it.

A close up horizontal image of a young deer in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

If you recognize you’ve got deer in your space, put a fence round your tree. Or learn our information for extra tips about coping with deer.


Voles aren’t only a menace to younger bushes. They’ll chew on the decrease trunks of mature bushes, inflicting girdling. That is extra frequent within the winter.


Bugs will not often trigger lasting injury to a tree until you’ve got a extremely severe infestation, and that sometimes happens provided that your tree is already weak and unwell.

Preserve your tree pleased and it’s unlikely that you simply’ll face these pests:

Japanese Beetle

Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) are small, metallic brown and inexperienced bugs that devour every kind of flora. They like vegetation within the rose household (Rosaceae), of which Prunus is a component.

Once they discover their option to your backyard, they begin consuming. And as they do, they launch pheromones, which attracts extra beetles. Fairly quickly, you’ll have a a lot greater downside in your palms.

Search for the beetles themselves or skeletonized leaves.

They are often difficult to take care of, however our information to managing a Japanese beetle infestation can assist.

Tent Caterpillars

Tent caterpillars and webworms have a tendency to return in waves. One yr you’ll have a ton, and the subsequent, there can be hardly any.

At any price, they aren’t a giant deal regardless that they appear form of gross, protecting your tree in worm-filled webs. Our information explains find out how to take care of these pests.


Cue the theme from Jaws – it’s time to speak illness. In case you have a very cool, moist, humid summer season, you would possibly wish to proactively deal with for fungal points.


A typical fruit tree situation brought on by Armillaria mellea, armillaria is a fungal rot that appears like white, fan-shaped patches that sit between the bark and the inside wooden.

Except you’re actively lifting up the bark to search for it, the very first thing you’ll discover is your completely wholesome tree immediately collapsing in the summertime.

You may’t remedy it, so do your finest to forestall armillaria by planting in a well-draining space, fertilizing appropriately, and ensuring to irrigate sufficiently during times of drought.

Cherry Leaf Spot

Cherry leaf spot is brought on by the fungus Blumeriella jaapii, evidenced by purple spots everywhere in the leaves that later flip brown.

Contaminated leaves finally flip yellow, then brown, and fall off the tree.

This weakens the tree and leaves it extra inclined to drought or winter injury, in addition to secondary an infection. It’s a vicious cycle.

To start out with, at all times clear up fallen leaves round your tree. That is the place the fungus overwinters.

You must also spray a broad-spectrum fungicide like ZeroTol HC within the early fall.

A close up of a bottle of ZeroTol HC isolated on a white background.

ZeroTol HC

Arbico Organics carries this product, which can be utilized to deal with a wide range of ailments, in gallon-size containers.


Although they aren’t technically fruiting bushes, flowering cherries are inclined to a typical fruit tree situation generally known as gummosis.

A close up vertical image of the trunk of a tree suffering from gummosis.

Should you see oozing sap in your tree, learn our information to study this downside and find out how to repair it.

Root Rot

You don’t need root rot. It’s unhealthy information and it’s one of many extra preventable issues, because it thrives in overly moist soil. It’s brought on by oomycetes within the Phytophthora genus.

Above floor, it should appear like your tree isn’t getting sufficient vitamins, and that’s as a result of it isn’t.

This illness kills off the feeder roots, which makes it exhausting for the plant to take up vitamins. You’ll see weak development, yellowing leaves, and drooping.

Dig down only a bit and also you’ll see black or brown, comfortable roots.

A broad-spectrum fungicide like ZeroTol HC, described above, is an efficient therapy, however it should solely work in case you catch the illness early on and treatment the waterlogged circumstances that led to its onset.

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium dahliae is a typical fungus that may assault a whole bunch of various species, together with vegetation within the Prunus genus.

The fungus prevents water from shifting by means of the plant, leading to wilting leaves, even when the soil is completely moist. The leaves may even flip yellow and younger twigs would possibly die off.

You may take a look at bushes for this illness by means of your native ag extension workplace, and keep away from it by taking care to not over-fertilize, don’t plant with different inclined species, and management weeds.

Sadly, there isn’t any efficient therapy.

You may prune off probably the most symptomatic branches, however finally, you’ll must take away the tree otherwise you threat spreading the illness to different vegetation in your and your neighbors’ gardens.

Finest Makes use of

Should you’re trying to mess around with bonsai, these bushes make among the prettiest, if considerably fussiest, specimens.

Or you’ll be able to at all times preserve them in a bigger container as a dramatic focus within the backyard or on a patio.

A close up horizontal image of a cherry tree pruned as bonsai covered with pink flowers, pictured on a soft focus background.

The bigger bushes, in fact, want no accompaniment, however smaller bushes can work as a background for vegetation that can decide up the colour responsibility after the blossoms on the bushes have fallen.

Consider vegetation like roses, crape myrtle, spirea, or butterfly bush, as long as they aren’t thought of invasive in your neck of the woods.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Kind: Deciduous flowering tree Flower/Foliage Colour: Pink, crimson, white/inexperienced
Native to: China, Japan, Korea Upkeep: Average
Hardiness (USDA Zones): 4b-9 Water Wants: Average to excessive
Bloom Time: Early spring, some varieties once more in fall Soil Kind: Unfastened, wealthy loam
Publicity: Full solar to partial shade Soil pH: 6.0-7.5
Time to Maturity: 5 years Soil Drainage: Effectively-draining
Spacing: 10-20 ft Attracts: Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds
Planting Depth: Identical depth as nursery container Makes use of: Bonsai, specimen, container
Peak: As much as 35 ft Household: Rosaceae
Unfold: As much as 30 ft Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
Progress Fee: Quick Genus: Prunus
Widespread Pests and Ailments: Deer, Japanese beetles, tent caterpillars, voles; Armillaria, cherry leaf spot, gummosis, root rot, verticillium wilt Species: Jamasakura, itosakura, nipponica, sargentii, serrulata, subirtella

Lengthy Stay the Queen of Flowering Bushes

I’m going to stage with you. Even when there weren’t any disease-resistant choices out there and each tree was assured to falter after a number of a long time, I’d develop them anyway.

Flowering cherries are simply so extremely beautiful, they’re price it.

A close up horizontal image of a cluster of ornamental cherry flowers pictured in evening sunshine on a soft focus background.

Fortunate for us, there are more healthy choices to select from and we all know find out how to stop most points with correct care.

I can’t keep in mind the final time I needed to take care of ailments on my bushes. I promise, it’s doable.

So, which flowering cherry are you rising? What do you like about it? Share within the feedback.

That’s all there’s to it. Now go forth and benefit from the present!

Should you’re not prepared to hold up your shovel and also you’re on the lookout for extra gardening initiatives, you could be desirous about a few of our different guides to decorative bushes, together with:

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