Flower Power in Abundance

While the briefness of their glory has to be acknowledged, cherries really are the hardy spring-flowering trees for pleasant climate yards. I can consider no others, besides their close Prunus relatives and a few of the magnolias that also resemble measuring up to flowering cherries for sheer weight of bloom and vibrance of colour.

The genus Prunus, to which the cherries, plums, almonds, apricots and peaches belong, includes around 430 types spread over much of the northern temperate areas as well as has a toehold in South America. Although consisting of a few evergreen types, such as the well-known cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), the category is mostly deciduous as well as normally durable to the frosts most likely to happen in the majority of New Zealand yards.

The genus Prunus is extensively recognised as being divided right into 5 or 6 subgenera, though some botanists prefer to recognise these as unique category. The subgenus cerasus is the one to which the cherries belong. This team consists of a wide range of varieties, many of which are not very decorative. The types which are of the majority of passion to garden enthusiasts are the Chinese as well as Japanese cherries, not only since they tend to be one of the most attractive, but additionally since they often tend to be reasonably small, typically have attractive fall foliage in addition to springtime blossoms and since centuries of advancement in asian yards have produced numerous gorgeous cultivars.

The Japanese identify two major groups of blooming cherries: the hill cherries or yamazakura and also the holy place or yard cherries, the satozakura. The hill cherries, which often tend to have easy blossoms, are largely derived from the initial Hill Cherry (Prunus serrulata var. spontanea), Prunus subhirtella and Prunus incisa. They are mostly cultivated 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 yard cherries.

The yard cherries are the outcome of much hybridisation, mainly unrecorded, so we can’t be exactly certain of their origins. Prunus serrulata (in its lowland kind) and Prunus subhirtella also feature mainly in their history. The various other significant impacts are Prunus sargentii, Prunus speciosa, Prunus apetala and possibly the widespread Bird Cherries (Prunus avium as well as Prunus padus). The outcome of these old hybrids and modern-day developments is the riches of kinds that rupture right into bloom in our gardens every spring.

Regretfully, that complicated parentage as well as those centuries of growth and also many cultivars integrated with Western misunderstandings of Japanese names and also multiple intros of the exact same plants under different names has led to substantial confusion with the names of flowering cherries.

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

1. Prunus subhirtella cultivars and hybrids;

2. Sato-zakura crossbreeds;

3. Hybrids no longer detailed under parent species, being instead considered as just to tough to identify in that way.

Yet nonetheless you watch them, flowering cherries have a lot to supply that a little confusion over naming and identification shouldn’t stand in the method of your including them in your garden. And also since a number of them are readily available as container-grown plants that can be purchased in flower, it’s actually just an issue of selecting the blossoms you like.

Nevertheless, it’s nice to understand precisely which plant you’re managing, to make sure that you can be certain of its performance and size. While the majority of the bigger nurseries as well as garden centres make sure to supply plants that cling type, see to it on first flowering that your cherries match their label summaries. Misidentification, or possibly misstatement, is common.


Prunus subhirtella cultivars and hybrids

Although the blossoms of Prunus subhirtella are normally tiny as well as fairly straightforward, they appear from early winter months well into spring, depending upon the cultivar. Not only that, the cultivars themselves are long-flowering, usually being in flower for three weeks to a month. There are lots of cultivars, however a lot of resemble, or forms of the two primary types listed below.

‘ Autumnalis’ (‘ Jugatsu Sakura’).

This is one of the most dependable winter-flowering form. It frequently begins to flower in late April to very early May and also can lug blossoms throughout until mid September. It hardly ever produces a substantial burst of bloom, instead erratic 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’ coincide yet with a deep pink centre.

‘ Pendula’ (‘ Ito Sakura’).

Prunus autumnalis has a tendency to have crying branches as well as ‘Pendula’ is a cultivar that stresses this attribute. Its flowers are typically light pink and also open in late wintertime 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 first, if not the initial, Japanese cherry to be expanded in European gardens. It’s beginnings can be mapped back to at least the 15th century. Its blossoms are white to extremely pale pink, opening from pink buds, as well as when fully open exactly how 2 noticeable environment-friendly leaf-like pistils in the centre of the blossom.

‘ Taihaku’.

‘ Taihaku’, likewise called the great white cherry, has white blossoms up to 5cm across. It expands to at least 8m tall with a bigger spread as well as its flowers open at the same time as its bronze vegetation increases, making a pleasant contrast. Idea to have been lost to growing, this cultivar was recognized in Sussex yard from an old Japanese print.

‘ Ukon’.

Although ‘Ukon’ suggest livrare flori yellow-colored, this cultivar has very unique light environment-friendly blossoms and is one of minority unmistakable cherries. Its foliage establishes purple tones in autumn. The unusual flower colour contrasts well with the likes of ‘Sekiyama’.

‘ Amanogawa’ (‘ Erecta’).

‘ Amanogawa’ grows to around 6m high, however just about 1.5 m large, and also has pale pink solitary flowers with a freesia-like fragrance. It flowers in mid-spring and in fall the vegetation creates striking yellow as well as red tones.

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

‘ Shogetsu’ flowers late and also creates pendant collections of white, double flowers that open up from pink buds. The blossom collections depend on 15cm long, that makes a tree in full bloom a jailing view, especially thinking about that ‘Shogetsu’ is not a big tree which its crying habit indicates it can be covered in blossom right to the ground.

‘ Sekiyama’ (‘ Kanzan’).

Absolutely amongst one of the most popular cherries and usually marketed under the name ‘Kanzan’, ‘Sekiyama’ has a relatively narrow, upright development behavior when young but at some point turns into a spreading 12m high tree. Its blossoms, which are pink as well as really fully dual, are lugged in swinging clusters of 5 blossoms. They open up from reddish-pink buds. The vegetation has a minor red color.

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

This cultivar grows to concerning 6m tall as well as blossoms in springtime as the vegetation develops. The young leaves are a deep bronze color that contrasts well with white to really light pink blossoms.

‘ Kiku-shidare’ (‘ Shidare Sakura’).

‘ Kiku-shidare’ is similar in blossom to ‘Sekiyama’, but it has a weeping development practice. It is a small tree and also is typically surrounded in blossom from the topmost branches to near ground degree. The flowers can each have up to 50 flowers.

‘ Pink Perfection’.

‘ Pink Perfection’ was introduced in 1935 by the famous English nursery Waterer Sons and also Crisp. It is a likely ‘Sekiyama’ × ‘Shogetsu’ hybrid and has flowers that show attributes of both parents; the clustered blossoms of ‘Shogetsu’ and the pink of ‘Sekiyama’. The flowers are really totally double as well as the young vegetation is coppery.

‘ Kofugen’.

‘ Kofugen’ has graceful semi-weeping branches as well as a fairly compact development routine. Its flowers are not actually solitary yet semi-double, though the two twists of petals are level as opposed to ruffled, so the result is not that very easy to see.

‘ Shirotae’ (‘ Mt. Fuji’).

This lovely tree has a spreading development habit that in the best specimens reveals distinctly tiered branches. Its blossoms, which are white as well as semi-double on fully grown plants, begin to open prior to the foliage broadens. They are pleasantly aromatic.

‘ Takasago’.

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

‘ Ojochin’ (‘ Senriko’).

This tree, rather squat when young, but ultimately 7m high bears solitary white blossoms in such profusion as to provide the impression of double blooms. Opening from pink buds, the blossoms are up to 5cm in diameter and amongst the later to flower. ‘Ojochin’ indicates large light, which appropriately defines the form of the flowers.

Other crossbreeds, species and also their cultivars.

‘ Distinction’.

One of the most prominent of all yard cherries, ‘Award’ is a Prunus sargentii × Prunus subhirtella hybrid that develops into a flat-topped little tree. In spring it is smothered in dangling clusters of large, bright pink, semi-double blossoms.

Yoshino cherry (Prunus × yedoensis).

Well-known as an opportunity tree, this Prunus subhirtella × Prunus speciosa hybrid is smothered in white to really pale pink blossoms in spring prior to or as the brand-new leaves develop. When the blossoms are invested they form drifts of fallen flowers around the base of the tree. There are a number of cultivars, such as the pink-flowered ‘Akebono’, the light pink ‘Awanui’ and a weeping type (‘ Shidare Yoshino’ or ‘Pendula’).

Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulata).

The Taiwan cherry is valued for its early-flowering routine and fiery autumn vegetation. The flowers, which are generally a dazzling deep pink, are heavy with nectar as well as popular with birds. Taiwan cherry is rather frost tender, though as soon as established it expands well in many seaside areas.

‘ Okame’.

Presented in 1947 by the British authority Collingwood Ingram, ‘Okame’ is a crossbreed in between the Taiwan cherry as well as the Fuji cherry (Prunus incisa). It is typically rather hardy, though this appears to be variable, and also it flowers greatly in early springtime. The flowers open in late winter months to early spring before the vegetation establishes and are an intense soft pink. ‘Pink Cloud’ is a similar though even more small cherry increased by Felix Jury.

Himalayan hillside cherry (Prunus cerasoides).

This species is instead frost tender, especially when young, however is a beautiful tree where it expands well. Not just does it generate pink flowers in winter, when little else remains in flower, it has actually eye-catching grouped bark and the unusual behavior of shedding its vegetation in late summertime then generating new fallen leaves before winter season. The range rubea has deeper pink blossoms in spring.

Cyclamen cherry (Prunus cyclamina).

Blooming on bare stems in very early springtime, the cyclamen cherry is a hardy tiny to medium-sized tree from central China. The blossoms, which are climbed pink, are complied with by bronze new development that preserves its colour for some weeks before greening. The fallen leaves drop late in autumn and often colour well.

Sargent’s cherry (Prunus sargentii).

This large as well as really hardy Japanese species is probably best referred to as among the moms and dads of the preferred crossbreed ‘Distinction’. It can grow to as much as 18m high and also will withstand at least -25 ° C. Its 3 to 4cm vast, bright pink blossoms are complemented by red-brown bark.

Kurile cherry (Prunus nipponica var. kurilensis).

Normally little more than a large bush, this Japanese cherry can reach 6m tall under suitable conditions. The blossoms, which are soft pink and open from very early spring, are backed by red sepals that hold on for some time after the blossoms have dropped, hence lengthening the spring colour.

Prunus × sieboldii.

This hybrid has actually triggered a number of popular cultivars. The original cross is a slow-growing tiny tree with semi-double 3 to 4.5 cm broad flowers in springtime. 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.