Flowering Cherries

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 by Jenny Watts
    • Wildflower seeds can be broadcasted now on hillsides for colorful blooms and erosion control.
    • For blue hydrangeas, apply “Hydrangea Bluing Formula” or aluminum sulfate around the plants this month.
    • Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce and other cool season crops should be planted now for delicious spring harvests.
    • Prepare for planting season! Turn in cover crops and do a soil test if your garden had trouble last year.
    • Potatoes like to grow in the cool weather of spring. Plant them as soon as possible.

Lovely Flowering Cherry Trees

One of the most beautiful sights in the spring is the profusion of flowers on the flowering cherry trees. These trees have been cultivated over the centuries in China and Japan, and the Japanese have named over 120 varieties. There are about 50 varieties grown in this country, but many of them look very much alike.

The flowers are either single or double, white or pink, and on most varieties they appear before the leaves. The branches can be either upright or pendulous.

All flowering cherries need good drainage. If your soil is heavy, then planting them on a mound or in a raised bed is critical. They like full sun and some summer watering.

The most popular of all flowering cherries is ‘Kwanzan.’ The large, double deep pink flowers are over two inches across with 30-50 petals and are borne in clusters. The tree grows about 15 to 25 feet tall with upright branches in a vase shape. The new leaves are a coppery bronze, adding to the colorful display of this tree. It does not bear fruit.

‘Akebono’ cherry tree, also known as ‘Daybreak’ flowering cherry, produces abundant single pink flowers that gradually fade to white as they open. The upright-spreading crown eventually becomes an umbrella-shaped tree, 25 feet tall and wide. Glossy, dark green leaves turn bright yellow in fall. Small fruit is enjoyed by the birds.

The pink flower buds of ‘Shirotae’ open to fragrant, white semi-double flowers. Its name means “snow white” and it is considered the finest of all the double white Japanese cherries. It has a strong horizontal branching habit and grows to 20 feet tall and 25 feet wide. The variety ‘Mount Fuji’ has pure white flowers with a sweet fragrance. The new leaves are bronze, turning green in summer and yellow to orange in the fall.

The weeping flowering cherries are especially beautiful when given room to grow. They have graceful branches that sweep down to the ground, which creates a rounded form. They bloom very heavily and early.

Weeping cherries are available as high or low-headed trees. A high-headed tree is grafted at five to six feet and will bloom with a profusion of double, rosy pink flowers. They can grow to 15 feet. The low-headed variety is grafted at 30 inches and has single pink flowers. It will make a lovely six-foot mound. Be sure not to top these trees as it ruins their graceful form. These trees are grafted onto upright rootstock, and any undesirable upright shoots arising from the understock should be removed.

The flowering cherry is the quintessential symbol of spring in a Japanese garden. Flowering cherries make an outstanding focal point for any garden.