ByBrenda Letellier/Dec. 23, 2021 11:40 am EDT
Enchanting and ancient, cherry blossoms (Prunus serrulata) have been a distinctive symbol of spring and restoration for centuries. Commonly linked with Japanese art and culture, the flowering cherry blossom tree, or Sakura, is an awe-inspiring beauty often used as a decorative display in gardens, landscapes, parks, and borderlines around the globe. A national symbol of Japan, cherry blossoms actually originated centuries ago in China's Himalayan territory and was initially introduced to Japan during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), per China Daily. Cherry blossom trees were first presented to the United States in 1912. Tokyo's Mayor Yukio Ozaki granted approximately 3,000 cherry blossom trees to the nation's capital of Washington D.C. to signify the friendship between Japan and the U.S. (viaArlington National Cemetery Tours).
Why plant cherry blossom? When these flowering trees bloom, they add an aesthetic quality to your springtime garden unlike any other tree. According to Japan-Guide.com, many wild cherry blossoms, including some cultivated varieties, show flowers with five petals, although some have 10 or more like the late-blooming yaezakura. The flowers of the cherry blossom often bloom in an assortment of pink hues and white tones, and do not generally produce fruit. Lovely and ornamental, cherry blossom trees grow between 20 and 40 feet high with canopies that may spread 15 to 30 feet wide and can live up to 40 years. Read on to learn more about how to cultivate your own cherry blossom trees!
How to use cherry blossoms in the garden
Cherry blossom trees develop in subtropical to temperate locations worldwide, but it's important to know the USDA zone you reside in before attempting to establish one. With hundreds of varieties, cherry blossoms have acclimated to zones 5 to 8 in the United States, as per The Tree Center. Cherry blossoms prosper in rich, fertile soil that drains well. A way to attain this is to place your tree on a higher ground level instead of a low-lying section. A true centerpiece, your Sakura will elegantly fill a space in any garden landscape that suits its estimated growth size and planting conditions.
Although, if you don't want your tree as visible in the off-season when it appears less lively, you might want to plant it to the side of your lawn. Cherry blossoms are deciduous plants in which they lose their leaves for a portion of each year. The blooming season extends to about a month at a time, but the flower itself is rather fleeting (up to a week). Also, try including it with other flowering trees or shrubs. This will help balance the appearance of your garden blooms with those plants that bud earlier and those later. Wherever you decide, make sure to place it where it will receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. They can survive in partial shade but thrive in direct, unfiltered sunlight.
How to grow cherry blossoms
Cherry blossom trees are relatively low maintenance to grow and maintain. This is because your cherry blossom tree thrives in various soil conditions, including sandy, loamy, or clay (acidic or alkaline), per The Tree Center. However, it's prone to root rot and won't like being soaked, so make sure the soil is well-draining. When planting, make sure to place it 10 to 20 feet from other plants, trees, and foliage, including other buildings or structures. Even though the flowering tree needs lots of direct sunlight, it's mildly drought tolerant. If location options are limited, partial shade is tolerable.
When should your cherry blossom be planted? To ensure your tree's longevity, plant after the last frost (viaGarden Design). Dig a hole as deep as the tree's root ball or container, then dig around twice as much as its width. After placing it in the ground, make sure the crown of its roots is even with the surface of the dirt. You might try scattering a thick layer of mulch around the base to help retain water intake (3 to 4 inches). This will comfort your cherry blossom during dry spells while keeping those bothersome weeds away. If the soil is mostly clay, add some organic matter like compost or peat within the dirt or on the surface. You might attach a tree stake for extra support to keep it sturdy while becoming established.
How to care for cherry blossoms
No more than light upkeep is necessary once you've established your cherry blossom tree, although paying attention to its watering requirements is essential. Water thoroughly every other day during the initial week it's planted to support its foundation. In the second week, soak it entirely two to three times. Then, give it a thorough drink consistently each week for the duration of its first season, per Gardening Know How. From there, your cherry blossoms should thrive on rainwater.
Pruning your cherry blossom tree is a prosperous act. Establish the tree's expected shape and size by pruning it in the dry, dormant season; you can start after its first blooms appear. First, remove any broken, rotted, or dead limbs present. Use a sharp pair of shears, clippers, or loppers, and a pruning saw if obtainable. Clip back to the branch collar without damaging the bark around the original cut. Limit the pruning after a few years, as this will prompt more growth than needed, per Green Garden Guy. Whatabout fertilizer? Fertilizing your ornamental cherry tree truly depends upon the fruitfulness of the soil and the tree's maturity. If you think your soil lacks any nutrients, SF Gate suggests getting a soil test. This will determine which nutrients might need to be supplemented. For slow growth, use a low-nitrogen fertilizer. Adding too much nitrogen may damage the roots and cause the tree to grow greens rather than blossoms.
Cherry blossom varieties
Several species of cherry blossom trees flower, and they yield diversified blossoms. According to Portland Nursery, they are part of the larger genus group Prunus spp., which includes almonds, apricots, cherries, peaches, and plums. Ornamental "flowering cherries" are grown in the United States, and do not generally produce fruit. These are five of the most common cherry blossom tree varieties:
- Somei Yoshino "Yoshino Cherry" (Prunus x yedoensis) – With rich pink petals, this is the most popular and widely planted Japanese cultivar. Garden Design notes it grows well in chilled climates (zones to 5 to 8).
- Kanzan( Prunus serrulata)– This is a popular Japanese cherry cultivar often seen in Washington D.C. along with the Yoshino. Susceptible to disease, it is short-lived (15 to 25 years), yet has large blooms with deep pink petals.
- Yamazakura (Prunus jamasakura) – Also known as Mountain Blossom, this cherry blossom grows naturally in the wild and blooms delicate pink/white flowers with five petals.
- Kiku-shidare-zakura (Prunus serrulata)– This cherry blossom's name translates from Japanese as "weeping chrysanthemum cherry" (via Gardenia). It produces charming pink layers of blossoms in mid to late spring.
- Yaezakura(Prunus serrulata)- Also known as Double Blossom, this Sakura is a late bloomer with two layers of petals, between 10 to 50. The colors vary from brilliant white to vibrant pink. Blooms two to four weeks after most five-petaled categories.
Are cherry blossoms toxic?
At the end of March into the beginning of April, you'll see your cherry blossoms start to bloom. But are they toxic to consume? For dogs, the answer is definite. Experts at Dog of the Day emphasize that all parts of the tree, including the blossoms, leaves, and stems are noxious to dogs. Prunus serrulata contains cyanogenic glycosides, a toxin that prevents oxygen from being transported to the cells properly. Look for signs of dilated pupils, bright red gums, vomiting, muscle weakness, or difficulty breathing (via Pet Poison Helpline). If so, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
This goes for cats as well. The cherries themselves may be fine, but cyanide poisoning from other parts of the tree can be present 15 to 20 minutes after consumption. As for humans, the same toxicity risks apply. On the other hand, humans can enjoy the delicate flavor of the Japanese cherry blossom itself through different sweets, teas, and cocktails, including various mochi cakes and cookies. As for consuming actual cherries, flowering cherry blossom trees are planted more for their appearance rather fruit production, notes Country Living. And, although some produce fruit closely related to edible cherries, these trees are still usually grown more for splendor.
How to repot cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms are not generally used as house plants, but all things are possible. If you decide to grow yours in a pot, you might place it on an open balcony or terrace. Any further inside, consider a smaller bonsai or dwarf variety. When should you repot? Signals of readiness may be because it's not looking as healthy as it began, or the roots are visibly growing out the bottom of the pot. The Spruce recommends repotting in the springtime before it has officially bloomed. This will give your tree time to strengthen its root system earlier on. Doing it in the winter may also assist in maintaining the well-being of the roots. Whenever you decide, make sure to water it a couple days prior to transplanting.
Use a deep, well-draining pot that is twice the size of the original. Loosen the soil around the tree and pull out the base carefully. Add soil to the bottom along with organic compost, if available. Water it through and continue for the first several weeks. Be sure to include as much of the root ball as possible. Bonsai Boy suggests raking back some of the soil to help prune the roots (no more than a ¼ of the tree's root mass). Repotting your tree will supply it with renewed energy and a solid base.
Keeping your cherry blossom healthy
True Touch Lifestyle/Shutterstock
Again, light pruning is acceptable in the summer, but the best time is in the winter, although too much trimming may be damaging. According to LawnStarter, several Prunus trees and shrubs like cherry blossoms can become affected by various tree diseases like silver leaf fungus. Most often, this affects cherry blossom trees because of too much pruning. Look for a gray or silver layer on the leaves. Remove the infected branches or areas as soon as you can. Prune at least 4 inches below from where the fungus exists. Another ailment cherry blossoms may deal with is black knot fungus. This appears as black gall swellings or knots. The knots often spread in the spring and are usually caused by windy and rainy weather. To help treat black knot fungus, cut away the branches and limbs where the knots are visible to the same depth of 4 inches. Burn the pieces after removal to prevent any further spread of the disease, advises Gardening Know How.
Other fungi-related issues might include blight, canker, and powdery mildew. Also, be aware of pests and insects that might injure your cherry blossom. Aphids, scales, and spider mites are known to battle against the "Kwanzan" cherry blossom. SF Gate suggests hosing them off with water; no chemical treatment is needed. Draw lacewings, wasps, and ladybugs near to feed on the unwanted visitors.
Can I plant a cherry blossom tree near a house? ›
Cherry trees benefit from full sun, but will suffice in shady locations. Planting in a sheltered location is recommended to prevent uprooting in strong winds. Avoid waterlogged soils. Planting near a building should be fine, but the distance away should be based on a tree's spread.What is the best soil for cherry blossom trees? ›
Sandy, loamy, or clay soils will all support the Cherry Blossom, so long as they drain well. The Cherry Blossom should not sit in standing water. In drier climates, some gardeners find that planting the Cherry Blossom Tree is full shade makes maintaining properly moist soil difficult.When should you plant cherry blossoms? ›
When to plant: Early fall is the best planting time for bare-root flowering cherry trees. Container-grown specimens can be planted in fall or after the last frost in spring.What is the message of cherry blossom? ›
Cherry blossoms are a symbolic flower of the spring, a time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life. Their life is very short. After their beauty peaks around two weeks, the blossoms start to fall. During this season in Japan, people like to have cherry blossom parties with colleagues, friends, and family.How long do cherry blossom trees live? ›
Most cherry blossom trees only live for 30 to 40 years, according to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (which is home to some of the oldest cherry blossoms in the United States). But some species can live longer: black cherry trees can live up to 250 years.Can cherry blossom trees grow in pots? ›
Cherry Blossom trees like a sunny and sheltered position, so growing compact varieties in pots on a sheltered patio is ideal. They don't tolerate wet soil well, so in autumn and winter it is worth using pot feet to help them drain better.Are coffee grounds good for cherry blossom trees? ›
Coffee grounds are highly acidic, they note, so they should be reserved for acid-loving plants like azaleas and blueberries. And if your soil is already high in nitrogen, the extra boost from coffee grounds could stunt the growth of fruits and flowers.How fast do cherry blossom trees grow? ›
Flowering Cherry Trees grow at a rate of between 1 and 2 feet per year and once they are planted and properly established, Cherry Blossom Trees require little care afterwards.Do cherry blossoms need fertilizer? ›
Speaking of nutrients, Cherry Trees do benefit from a little fertilizer. Use a fertilizer that's low in nitrogen late in the winter, or in the early spring. About a month before your trees flower is the best time to fertilize.How often do you water cherry blossoms? ›
Give your cherry tree enough water to soak the ground all around the roots. It's important to note that, even if you're in the midst of a “brown-lawn drought”, you shouldn't water too much. Once every 7- to 10-days (or even once every two weeks) is plenty. Worse than dry, thirsty roots are waterlogged, drowning roots.
How long does it take for a cherry blossom to fully bloom? ›
Six stages of cherry blossoms
Find a cherry tree in your neighbourhood and watch as the buds develop into fully grown flowers in just a few weeks. Since stage one can last a long time it's when florets become visible at stage two that we can predict peak bloom is about 20 days away.
Cherry blossoms! “Honestly, they're easy, but they're high maintenance," said Carswell. "The best time to plant them is when it's cold and the ground is cold in the winter, or early, early spring when the ground is still cool. You plant them and they like partial sun.”Does cherry blossom mean love? ›
What Do Cherry Blossoms Mean? Cherry blossoms hold elevated status in China, signifying love and the female mystique (beauty, strength and sexuality), but nowhere in the world are the elusive flowers more cherished than in Japan, home to thousands of cherry blossom trees.What does a blossom symbolize? ›
SYMBOLISM. Blossom obviously represents spring, a new beginning and growth.What is the unique thing of cherry blossom? ›
Cherry blossoms symbolize renewal. Known as "sakura" in Japanese, these pale blooms are a symbol of spring because it is a time of renewal. However, because the blooms are short-lived, they are also symbolic of the fleeting nature of life.How many times a year do cherry blossom trees bloom? ›
Flowers bloom twice a year! Once in spring and then again in autumn or winter! Simple, yet elegant blossoms are colored rose-pink, shaped like tiny bells, and flower in huge clusters. Autumnalis is one of the earliest cherries to bloom in spring!How much space do cherry blossoms need? ›
Consider the mature size of the cherry blossom trees you chose when spacing them out. Usually, 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 metres) is enough. Dig a hole for your cherry blossom tree that is twice the size and depth of the root ball. Add a layer of organic matter at the bottom for the cherry blossom tree's roots to sit on.Do cherry blossoms bloom twice? ›
Autumnalis is the only Cherry Blossom Tree known to consistently bloom twice in a year. This wonderful cultivar is extremely popular worldwide due to its unique fall/winter appeal and is known by different names in different locations, including Winter-Flowering Cherry, Higan Cherry, Pendula and the Rosebud Cherry.What is the best compost for cherry trees? ›
If you decide to grow your cherry tree in a container (often preferred in smaller gardens), use a soil-based potting compost such as John Innes No. 3. The same cherry tree garden care guidance applies whether you choose a sweet or tart variety.How deep do you plant cherry blossom trees? ›
Space your trees 10-20 feet away from each other or other structures or plants. Dig a hole that's roughly two feet around by one foot deep, and dig some compost in the hole before planting.
Do you need two cherry trees to blossom? ›
Always plant at least two cherry trees close together to improve pollination and fruiting. Even self-pollinating types benefit from having another tree close at hand.Is leftover coffee good for plants? ›
You know that last bit of coffee that always seems to be left in the carafe? Don't just pour it down the drain — you can use it to fertilize your plants, both indoor and outdoor. Coffee grounds (and brewed coffee) are a source of nitrogen for plants, producing healthy green growth and strong stems.Do coffee grounds attract rats? ›
While rats and mice are attracted to food odors, they aren't interested in the smell or taste of coffee grounds. In fact, both used and fresh coffee grounds repel mice and rats.Where do cherry trees grow best? ›
Cherry trees thrive in a location that gets full sun and has a well-drained, fertile soil. “Full sun” is defined as at least 6 to 8 hours of sun each day. Sunlight is critical to fruit production and quality, and also helps keep fungal issues from getting a foothold.Can you plant just one cherry tree? ›
Only one sour cherry tree needs to be planted for pollination and fruit set. Many sweet cherry varieties cannot produce fruit from their own pollen and are considered self-unfruitful. These plants require cross-pollination for fruit set.Is Miracle Grow good for cherry blossom trees? ›
9. Miracle-Gro All Purpose Soil. Miracle-Gro Gardening All-Purpose Soil is the BEST ground soil for its price. Not only will it feed your plants for up to 3 months, but it's the perfect way to replenish soil to help improve cherry trees, annual plants, and even perennials.Can you use Miracle Grow on cherry trees? ›
Answer: Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food is not labeled for fruit trees. We would recommend using a fertilizer that is intened for fruit trees such as, Ferti-Lome Fruit, Citrus and Pecan Tree Food 19-10-5. 61 of 83 people found this answer helpful.Do cherry blossoms attract ants? ›
Cherry leaf stems have a small pair of visible glands called stipules or extrafloral nectaries. While the nectar in flowers attracts pollinating insects such as bees, the nectar in the stipules attracts other insects, particularly ants, points out Ecology.Does rain wash away cherry blossoms? ›
Heavy rain and strong winds can knock petals off, so there is a factual basis for concern. That's especially true a few days after the peak bloom, as the flowers become even more fragile.Can I grow cherry blossom from a cutting? ›
Most people probably purchase a cherry tree from a nursery, but there are two ways you can propagate a cherry tree– by seed or you can propagate cherry trees from cuttings. While seed propagation is possible, cherry tree propagation is easiest from cuttings.
Is cherry blossom a flower or tree? ›
A cherry blossom, also known as Japanese cherry or sakura, is a flower of many trees of genus Prunus or Prunus subg. Cerasus. They are common species in East Asia, including China, Korea and especially in Japan.How many months does cherry blossom last? ›
Cherry blossom season lasts for about a month every spring and is always dependent on the weather. Early March to early April is generally a good rule of thumb when you're looking at the calendar and hoping to see blooms. Most cherry blossom trees bloom for one to two weeks during the season.How can I make my cherry blossoms bloom faster? ›
If you want to slow down the bloom time, put the branches in a cool, dark basement, she said. If you want to speed things up, put them in a warm, bright place.What temperature does cherry blossom grow? ›
Cherry trees need a full month of chilly weather below 41 degrees to properly blossom when it gets warmer, according to Naoko Abe, author of The Sakura Obsession. If they don't get that chilly weather, they blossom later because "they can't wake up properly," Abe says.What is the prettiest cherry blossom? ›
These are the most wonderfully colourful cherry tree blossoms in the world. Cherry blossom along the tracks in Kyoto, Japan. Cherry blossom in Jerte Valley, Caceres, Spain. Blooms at a tea plantation In Longyan, Fujian Province, China.How cold is too cold for cherry blossoms? ›
“Blossoms can be damaged starting at 27 degrees; 24 degrees is a critical temperature. You can lose 90% of the blossoms.What temperature kills cherry blossoms? ›
Critical Freezing Temperatures
However, to destroy 90 percent of these early buds, the temperature must drop to below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Cherries are the exception and are heavily damaged at 25 degrees Fahrenheit in the early stages, advises Utah State University Cooperative Extension.
Blossom is a girl's name of British origin meaning "flower-like." While the word blossom typically refers to a flower, it can also be used as a verb meaning "to flourish" or "thrive." In the gardening world, the pink flowers of the cherry blossom tree are symbolic of renewal and growth during springtime.What does Cherry Blossom emoji mean from a girl? ›
In some cases, the cherry blossom emoji is shorthand for beauty or cuteness. Someone, for instance, might tag a photo of a model or celebrity they find particularly beautiful with a cherry blossom emoji as if to say “This person is as pretty as a flower.”What does cherry blossom smell like? ›
What do cherry blossoms smell like? Cherry blossoms have a smell, but it's very faint and subtle. The scent features light notes of lilac, rose, and magnolia with a powdery vanilla note and almond-like aromas. The aroma isn't overly sweet, fruity, or floral.
What is the flower that represents love? ›
The red rose is known as the flower of love. The red rose symbolizes deep emotions and desires. Red roses are traditionally given to symbolize love, but aren't the only ones to earn this title. Other types of love flowers include peonies, sunflowers, or tulips, which symbolize happiness, prosperity and romance.What do cherry symbolize? ›
The distinctive "stone" inside each cherry also carries notions of new life and regeneration. In Japan, where cherry blossoms are highly venerated, the fruit also possesses symbolic connotations. Associated with the samurai, the cherry's red flesh represents the warrior's blood.Are cherry blossoms mentioned in the Bible? ›
Habakkuk 3:17-19 MSG
Though the cherry trees don't blossom and the strawberries don't ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I'm singing joyful praise to GOD.
By far the most popular cherry tree variety today is the particularly pretty, cultivated Somei Yoshino.How many types of cherry blossoms are there? ›
When people speak of cherry blossoms in Japan, many people assume that there is just one type of these spring blossoms, but there are actually over 20 different subspecies!What is the spiritual meaning of a cherry blossom tree? ›
Throughout Japan, the Cherry, or 'Sakura' tree is representative of good fortune, new beginnings and revival. Folklore says that when the Sakura spirits release their gorgeous fragrance in springtime, their gift of beauty and elegance is to be truly celebrated!How far from the house should a cherry tree be? ›
Cherry trees, like other trees, can pose a danger to homes, garages and other buildings if you plant them too closely. High winds and rain storms can break branches, causing property damage if they fall on structures. Space cherry trees at least 15 feet away from all buildings on your property.Do cherry blossom trees have invasive roots? ›
Cherry trees are invasive roots because of the damage they cause on structures. When cherry trees are planted close to homes or walkways, they can cause damage. Damage might be caused by them falling over in the wind, or contact with water if they're knocked down during a storm.How far away from the house should I plant a weeping cherry tree? ›
Can you plant them close to your house? You should leave at least 10 feet of space between your pink weeping cherry tree and your home.What flowering trees can be planted close to house? ›
- Flowering Dogwood. Flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 5 through 9, are native trees that bloom in spring. ...
- Eastern Redbud. ...
- Purple Leaf Plum. ...
- River Birch. ...
- Coral Bark Maple. ...
- Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar.
Can you plant just 1 cherry tree? ›
Only one sour cherry tree needs to be planted for pollination and fruit set. Many sweet cherry varieties cannot produce fruit from their own pollen and are considered self-unfruitful. These plants require cross-pollination for fruit set.How tall is a 3 year old cherry tree? ›
3-4 Year Old (Approx. 3-3.5 Ft) Barbados Cherry Tree. Barbados cherries are a sweet-tart fruit, which goes excellently with making jams, jellies, pies, and many more delicious treats.What do I need to know before planting a cherry tree? ›
Plant cherry trees in a sunny site with good air circulation; avoid planting near larger trees or buildings that will shade the cherries. Ideally, cherry trees should get at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Cherry trees do best in deep, well-draining soil that has a pH of 6.0-7.0.How long do cherry blossom cuttings take to root? ›
Remove the bag or milk jug from the cutting after two to three months and check the cutting to see if it has rooted. Tug the cutting lightly. If you feel resistance, continue to grow until the roots fill the container.Are coffee grounds good for cherry trees? ›
Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper, all of which are essential to fruit trees. They also raise the pH level in the soil, which is good for the health of the plant. Most fruit trees require slightly acidic soil, so adding coffee grounds will help them thrive.Where is the best place to plant a weeping cherry tree? ›
These trees need full sun; six hours a day is preferred and results in more blooms. Weeping cherries tolerate light shade, but without significant sun time, you will not have many flowers. Well-drained soil is a must for these trees. They also need good air circulation around the canopy of the tree.How many years does it take for a weeping cherry tree to grow? ›
How Long Does This Tree Take To Mature? Reaching maturity in as little as 10 years to about 20 feet in height and 30 feet in width. Pruning is not recommended for weeping ornamental cherry trees unless necessary.What is the easiest flowering tree to grow? ›
What is the easiest flowering tree to grow? Tulip trees are one of the easiest flowering trees to grow. Once you know a few things about how to grow a tree, it is relatively straightforward. Tulip trees thrive in acidic soil, prefer to be grown in full sun and are fairly resistant to pests and disease.How big is a dogwood root system? ›
In light potting mixes, dogwoods can grow roots 10 or 11 inches deep. All but the top 3-4 inches will rot off after planting, unless the deepest roots are torn apart.