Spring is on the horizon and with that comes colorful blooms, pinks to purples to blues and beyond. But one of the most iconic blooms? The Flowering Cherry. Especially since the National Cherry Blossom Festival is only a few weeks away in Washington, D.C., where the iconic pink hues of the Flowering Cherry Tree reign supreme.
But asides from its good looks, the Flowering Cherry Tree boasts a lot to love. Longer blooming time, cold hardiness, strong and easy growth, just to name a few of its one-of-a-kind features. And with our buying guide tips and tricks, planting and growing a Flowering Cherry of your own is even more effortless. Check out why we love the Flowering Cherry below...and why it's a must-have for your own landscape!
Choosing Your Tree
Though each Flowering Cherry variety is known by its enduring flowers, rich color and easy growth, there are multiple subtypes, each with a touch of unique flair. From the deep tones of the Kwanzan to the weeping branches of the Pink Weeping Cherry, there's a variety for any landscape need.
Easily the showiest of all Flowering Cherries, the Kwanzan's blooms aren't just pink but "double pink," meaning you get twice as many petals and twice as many blooms.
Plus, the Kwanzan Cherry Tree blooms in large clusters of 3 to 5 flowers, making them the thickest of all pink flowering trees with a look similar to carnations.
The Autumn Cherry boasts semi-double blooms as well, bursting with color in the springtime. But what makes this tree so unique is that its flowers appear again in the fall and during warm winters, when other trees are usually dormant or losing their leaves.
The Yoshino is set apart bu its stunning white blossoms, an abundance of which emerge in the spring. Even better is its exotic branching pattern complemented by its pure white cloud of delicate flowers. Basically, the Yoshino is like springtime on parade, especially since it's drought resistant and adapts well to an array of soil types.
Not only does this Flowering Cherry varieties explode with classic color, but it also features branches that grow upright and then gracefully cascade. And it fits right into small spaces or large landscapes, reaching a maximum possible height of 30 feet.
Luckily, once you've selected your Flowering Cherry Tree, it doesn't take much to start. Start by choosing an area with full to partial sun and well-drained soil. When we say full to partial sun, we mean any locale that receives about 4 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. As long as your Flowering Cherry gets adequate sunlight and drainage, you're good to go.
Once you've scouted your chosen area and selected your favorite Flowering Cherry, it’s easy to plant your trees.
Dig your hole just as deep and twice as wide as the tree's root ball. You’ll want to keep the crown, or tip of the root ball, of the tree roughly an inch above the surrounding soil's level. Add a bit more dirt to the mound underneath if necessary.
After placing your tree and loosening its roots a bit, back fill your hole with soil without covering the crown. Then, water to settle the roots. When the planting process is complete, spread a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch over the tree's root area. Spread the mulch in a 3-foot radius around the base for best results - this helps keep the soil evenly moist.
Planting your Flowering Cherry Trees is really that easy. Seriously – there’s not a lot of effort involved when it comes to these colorful, iconic trees. But proper care after planting is important to give your Cherries a head start on a lush life.
If you're not sure when to water your Flowering Cherry Trees, check the top 2 inches of soil. When it's dry, it's time to water...and a slow trickle with a garden hose for about 30 minutes is recommended. Generally, this could be about twice a week in the summer, or every three weeks in the fall. And your watering schedule will depend on several factors, such as the soil type, rainfall amounts and temperature. That means checking your soil for dryness is your best bet.
Thankfully, Flowering Cherries don't require fertilizer for the first two years, provided you keep weeds in check. However, when the time comes, fertilize your tree with a nitrogen-based blend. Apply this blend once in the spring, or spread it out into two to four equal applications over the spring and summer seasons.
Pruning the current year’s old, faded flowers promotes flower buds for the following season. For best results, prune your Flowering Cherry during the dormant period, and remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches. Cut your small branches with pruning shears, and use a pruning saw for larger branches.
FGT Tip: Sterilize your pruning tools with rubbing alcohol to ensure a healthy cut during pruning.
Black Knot: These are dark brown or black swellings that form on twigs and branches, sometimes causing branches to girdle and die.
Brown Rot: A disease that causes flowers to collapse and die from small cankers that form on twigs and gum oozes out.
Leaf Spot: Circular, purple to reddish-brown spots that form on the Flowering Cherry's leaves - infected leaves may yellow and fall prematurely.
Canker: A disease causing branch dieback and multiple perennial cankers - trees with frost or freeze damage and those under drought stress are most susceptible.
Ring Spot: Ring Spot causes delayed leaf growth in the spring on individual branches, or even on the entire tree. Leaves are smaller than normal and fewer in number as well.
Luckily, most Flowering Cherry diseases are easy to treat, especially with organic, natural solutions.
Do ensure that you always use an approved fungicide, or simply remove any dead or diseased areas. Furthermore, you must follow the directions exactly and fully remove infected material from the tree – don’t use any of this material for compost.
Fresh, Flowering Cherries...Just a Click Away
Flowering Cherries and the richly-hued Cherry Blooms they grow are the true harbingers of spring. From the eye-catching sight there trees exhibit in Washington, D.C., to their native Japan, the Flowering Cherry Tree is in a league of its own. Select your own today, and get a piece of history for your own homescape!