April showers bring May flowers and also flowering cherry trees. The impact of this flowering tree is strong, and so is the association – just think of all the cherry blossom festivals around the world – and in Japan, tracking the timing (when the cherry tree blooms) goes back 1,200 years!
Though not the longest lived tree around – I think that the cherry makes up for it with interest and beauty in all seasons. There are several ways to go about choosing one: you can start with location. If it’s a small area, think about a single weeping cherry ; if you love pink, the dark pink carnation-like large double flowers of ‘Kwanzan’ is your pick!
Here are 5 popular Japanese flowering cherry trees
1. Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’ (Kwanzan cherry) Zones: 4 – 8. This deciduous tree also goes by the name ‘Kanzan’ or ‘Sekiyama.’ It produces large white or pink double blooms which grow in pendant clusters before or with young leaves. Mature size is 30′ h x 20′ and branches are stiffly upright. Bloom time in SF Bay area is April, May.
2. Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino flowering cherry) Zones: 4 – 8. Produces single, light pink to almost white flowers. Blooms are fragrant! Tree is fast growing – 40′ h x 30 w. Flowers in early March in San Francisco. Uses: patio tree, shade tree, lawn tree, specimen. Upright to horizontal branching makes this variety an excellent choice along walkways and above patios. Gorgeous lenticels mark the bark.
3. Prunus serrula (Birch bark cherry, Tibetan cherry, Paper-bark cherry) Zones: 4 – 8. One of my favorites for the glossy mahogany red colored bark. Mature size is 30′ h x 30′ w. This tree has small white flowers in spring that are almost hidden by new leaves.
4. Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’ (Single weeping cherry ) Zones: 4 – 8. Excellent for a small space, or a large container! Grows slowly. Mature size is 10′-12’w x 10′-12’h, with graceful branches that hang down to the ground. This tree is usually grafted at 5 to 6 feet high on upright growing understock. Small Flowers are profuse, single and a pale pink color.
*Photo below is an example of a very young weeping cherry: Prunus ‘Psinshzam’ (Pink Snow Showers, weeping cherry). This tree has double pink flowers (not single ones like the much smaller scale ‘Pendula’). Size is 25′ h x 25′ wide. Fall color is burnt gold.
5. Prunus serrrulata ‘Shirotae’ – (Mt. Fuji) Zones: 4 – 8. Mt. Fuji cherry has beautiful strong horizontal branching. Mature size is to 20′ and often it’s wider than high. Flowers are semi-double starting out pink in bud and opening to clusters of white. Flowers turn purplish pink as the flower ages. To get a better idea – take a look at some of these photos…
ps: Can’t get enough of this amazing flowering tree? See this post and learn more about why they made our flowering tree list!