Cherry blossom trees are the exclamation point of spring, a stark contrast to the blahs of winter. The kaleidoscope of colors, from whites to pinks to reds shower these elegant trees from top to bottom.
Cherry blossoms are so revered that there are numerous spring festivals around the world in its honor. The most famous in the U.S. is the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. For three weeks starting in late March, the city honors its 3,750 cherry trees that decorate the Tidal Basin. The trees cast a show for the millions that come each year.
They never disappoint.
Growing and caring for these natural works of art is actually quite easy. Most blooming cherries (if pruned right) grow about 30 feet tall and spread anywhere from 15-30 feet depending on the variety. They can handle cold decently, but be judicious where you plant the tree. Since blooming cherries typically blossom in early spring, they can be susceptible to damage from a surprise late spring frost. Your cherry tree should be planted on slightly higher sloped ground to prevent frosty air from settling in the low spots.
All cherry trees love full sun along with a heavily composted and well drained soil. Shade is not the best habitat for the tree since it will produce spindly branches and less flowers. Prune lightly after the first bloom to get rid of any sucker branches or broken branches. In the dormant season, you can prune heavier for optimal shape and size.
That’s it! A little love will go a long way in keeping your elegant cherries the envy of the block.
Now for the fun part…
Selecting the perfect cherry tree will one of the hardest decisions to make. With so many colors and shapes and blooms to choose from, you may get bogged down by the sheer size of the selections.
Here are five cherry blossoms that will steal your heart.
Warning: These trees may prompt you to buy lots of acreage just so you can have them all.
Gigantic pink blooms will send you into spring in grand fashion. The Okame Cherry Tree will be the centerpiece wherever you decide to plant it. It’s typically the first bloomer of the year, and it is considered the grand ambassador of cherry trees. In the early 1900’s, the Japanese gifted thousands of Okames to Washington D.C. as a symbol of friendship. This prompted the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
The Okame can reach 30 feet high and wide. It does best in growing zones 6-9.
The cherry tree that keeps on giving. In the spring, the Kwanzan Cherry comes alive with clusters of double-petal pink blossoms. But the show is only beginning for this proud tree. Bronze leaves take over the fade of flowers in early summer. When the fall season commences, the leaves turn a shimmering yellow orange. The Kwanzan even flaunts its looks in the winter with its glossy bark.
The Kwanzan can grow up to 30 feet high and wide. It does best in growing zones 5-9.
Nothing prepares the eyes for the Yoshino Cherry. Its dramatic bursts of white blooms with dabs of pink will brighten even the dullest of yards. Its fragrance can fill a whole valley, and it attracts all sorts of visitors from bees to birds that dine on the Yoshino’s fruits. It even rewards in the first chills of fall with leaves that change to a shimmering yellow-orange. No wonder it’s the most talked about tree at both Georgia’s Cherry Blossom Festival and the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
The Yoshino can grow up to 40 feet high and wide. It does best in growing zones 5-8.
This may be the hardest decision of your life: do you get the pink or the white weeping cherry tree?
Whatever you decide, you will have a unique tree that will garner looks from neighbors and nature alike. Its distinguished weeping form creates a cascade of flowers that seems to constantly shower the ground with pink and white petals. Even winter can’t slow the good looks of the weeping cherry. Its delicate branches arch to the ground, reminiscent of what many call a living fountain.
The weeping cherry can grow up to 30 feet high and 25 feet wide. It does best in growing zones 5-8.
The Autumn Cherry owns the most unique spring blossoms. The pinkish flowers have ten petals instead of the typical five of most other cherry blossoms. The blooms take a backseat to the green foliage and small black berries in the summer. As your tree matures to full size, its canopy provides the classical cherry shape that many growers look for in a cherry blossom tree. And when fall comes, the leaves turn an elegant bronze, giving the tree a stately, dramatic look.
The Autumn Cherry can grow up to 40 feet high and 25 feet wide. It does best in growing zones 4-8.