Japanese Cherry Blossom Tree
The Japanese cherry blossom tree is native to Japan, Korea and many Chinese provinces. Because of the perfection of the blossom, the Japanese celebrate “Hanami” – the cherry blossom festival – in spring. Everywhere in the country old and young meet under the big trees to admire the cherry blossom. In addition to the approximately 400 types and varieties of cherries belonging to the genus Prunus, almond trees, apricots, plums and peaches are also included.
Appearance and growth
As a deciduous tree, the Japanese Cherry Blossom Tree from the Rosaceae family reaches heights of three to eight metres. There are numerous species and varieties. They differ in size, shape, flower colour and shape. Some flower at the end of March, others late in May. The flowers are pink or white in colour, sometimes filled and some are in umbellious clusters. Its egg-shaped, elliptic leaves, five to nine centimeters in size, hang alternately from stems. The edge is pointed or double sawn. The upper leaf surface is sparsely hairy and dark green, the light green underside is sparsely or downy with hairs. In autumn the foliage can turn intensely red or yellow.
Location and soil
Despite their beauty, Japanese cherries are anything but spoiled divas. They do not make too great demands on the ground. They like humus-rich to slightly loamy, deep garden soils without waterlogging. Ornamental cherries love a place in the full sun, but can also cope with semi-shade.
Nurseries offer Japanese cherries as solitaires with bales or in containers. If the root ball is well rooted, they can be planted all year round in frost-free weather. The best time for planting is autumn. An ornamental cherry grows well when the planting hole is about twice the size of the root ball and it is completely filled again with the excavated soil after insertion. Slurrying and light tramping of the soil helps.
Too much dryness damages the Japanese cherry just as much as too much moisture. It is therefore advisable to reach for the water hose in hot phases. This is particularly important in the first year after planting to ensure that the tree grows well.
The species and varieties of the ornamental cherry all have different growth forms. They grow in opening funnel shape, as a narrow column, with hanging or spherical crown. In order not to destroy the characteristic growth habit, only branches and twigs that are too dense or interfere with the natural charm should be removed. The best view of branches and twigs is in early spring. Alternatively, it is also possible to cut in summer. Small Japanese cherries such as the steppe cherry Prunus fruticosa ‘Globosa’ or the dainty dwarf cherry Prunus kurilensis ‘Brilliant’ make an exception. They should be regularly rejuvenated after flowering as they tend to age. Old and diseased branches are always cut or sawed off directly at the base of the branch and as vertically as possible. Branches that have fallen out of shape and are too long are shortened above the bud of a new shoot.
It is not difficult to find a suitable Japanese ornamental cherry for your garden. Among the many species and varieties are small shrubs as well as slender, columnar shrubs and large funnel-shaped and overhanging trees. The carnation cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Kanzan’) is very well known and impressive as a solitaire. She needs a lot of space to develop her full beauty. For small front or house gardens the columnar Prunus serrulata ‘Amanogawa’ and the hanging carnation cherry ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’ have proved very successful. Gates and paths can be beautifully bordered with the round steppe cherry Prunus fruticosa ‘Globosa’. And in a bucket the dainty dwarf cherry ‘Brilliant’ (Prunus kurilensis) shines.
All ornamental cherries flower from the beginning of April to the end of May. The spring cherry (Prunus subhirtella) with its varieties is one of the early flowering ornamental cherries. Among them, the pink winter cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’) is something very special. Although their main flowering season is in March and April, in mild weather the white flowers can even appear in November. From mid-April, the varieties of the carnation cherry (Prunus serrulata) light up. At the end of May, the variety ‘Shiro-Fugen’ flowers as the taillight with flowers filled with pure white.
Varieties with coloured barks and a bright autumn colouring are also particularly attractive for the garden. The most notable of these are the Schmittii cherry with a mahogany bark and yellow-orange leaves and the Rancho variety of the scarlet cherry (Prunus sargentii), which has a dark red bark and a bright red autumnal colour. A simple flower carpet at her feet made of wild bulb flowers makes her look even better. Smaller varieties of ornamental cherries in flower beds are surrounded by suitable shrubs such as the Fragrant Snowball (Virburnum x carlcephalum) or the Snow Forestry Sythia (Abiolephyllum distichum ‘Roseum’). White Flame Flower (Phox divaricata), Foam Flower (Tiarella), Elf Flower (Epimedium) or Silver Caucasus Forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’) can be considered as foot people.
Important species and varieties
Pink winter cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’): small tree or large shrub; grows three to five metres tall and wide; also available as tall stem; flowering season: November and March/AprilHanging spring cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’): three to five metres tall shrub; grows umbrella-shaped with cascading branches; also available as tall stem; flowering season: three to five metres tall shrub; grows in cascading branches; also available as tall stem: light pink, single; Flowering time: AprilRosa Spring cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Fukubana’): two to six metre tall shrub; grows broadly funnel-shaped; branches bent over; also available as tall stem; leaves turn yellow to orange-red in autumn; Flowering time: deep pink, slightly filled, petals deeply incised and curled at the edge; Flowering time: April
Carnation cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Kanzan’): shrub or small tree, funnel-shaped crown with stiffly upright main branches, spreading with age, branches slightly overhanging; flowering: pink, densely filled in clusters, flowering time May columnar cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Amanogawa’): four to seven metres tall columnar shrub or small tree; branches tightly upright; several thick main stems; leaves sometimes turn yellow-orange in autumn; flower: light pink, slightly filled, delicately fragrant; flowering time: end of April/beginning of MayHanging cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’): four to six metres small tree with arching branches and twigs; shoots bronze green; flowering time: end of April to beginning of May
Spring cherry (Prunus ‘Accolade’): five to eight metre tall shrub or tree; loose, funnel-shaped crown; branches spread out and nodding; also available as high trunk; leaves turn yellow-orange in the stern; Flower: pure pink, semi-double, richly flowering, in clusters before leaf growth; Flowering time: April steppe cherry (Prunus fruticosa ‘Globosa’): three to five metres small tree with spherical crown; leaves turn orange in autumn; flowering season: white umbels, during leaf growth; flowering season: April dwarf cherry (Prunus kurilensis ‘Brilliant’): 100 to 120 centimeters small, loose and roundish shrub; also available as tall stem; leaves turn orange-red in autumn; flowering season: first pink, later white, single; flowering season: early April
In the tree nurseries, species and varieties grown and grafted from seedlings are offered.
Diseases and pests
From time to time the ornamental cherry attacks the Monilia lace drought on wet soils. As the name suggests, the shoot tips die off. The disease usually occurs immediately after flowering. It is important to cut the affected branches back into the healthy wood. At the interface, the wood should be fresh and light. Brown discolorations in the cross-section are a sign that the wood is infested. Strongly growing varieties such as ‘Kanzan’ are not affected by this, if at all. Varieties with thin shoots such as ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’ are particularly susceptible. As a precaution, the leaves should be collected in autumn.
Ornamental cherries in the our store-Shop
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.