Growing Facts of Cherry Blossom Trees

Cherry blossoms are an art of nature that offers a heavenly vista on earth.

Although these flowers are native to Japan, you will see them in other countries too.

Because of their magnificent beauty, many people are eager to plant this tree in a garden or yard. As a result, several questions arise in their mind, like, how long does it take for a cherry blossom tree to grow, what type of soil it needs, and many more.

To feed those curious minds, today, I will discuss about the growth of cherry blossom trees and some information related to them.

Hence, keep reading to enhance your knowledge about these trees.

Depending on Varieties: How Long Does It Take for A Cherry Blossom Tree to Grow & How to Care Them

There are hundreds of cherry blossom trees available all over the world. Alone Japan has more than 200 varieties of cherry trees, including cultivated types and wild.

Among them, some are highly famous because of their charisma. Hence, I will discuss the most common cherry trees here.

1. Yoshino Cherry Trees

Yoshino cherry is also known as Somei Yoshino. These trees develop at a medium to fast rate.

During the first 3 to 4 years, Yoshino trees grow fast to 15-20 feet tall. After four years, the growth starts to slow down, about 4 feet each year.

However, depending on how long they live, Somei Yoshino may grow to 35-40 feet tall.

Growing Yoshino Cherry blossom

Usually, they live for 15 to 20 years and are slightly short-lived compared to other cherry trees.

But, if they are taken care of well and pruned by an expert from time to time, Yoshino cherry trees can live longer.

For example, Hirosaki in Japan is home to the world’s oldest Somei Yoshino cherry blossom tree, which is over 130 years old and is still alive with appropriate care and pruning.

Somei Yoshino Cherry tree

Luckily, these trees can adjust well to most soil types such as loamy, clay, sandy, and acidic soils.

If you can prepare a soil mixture that is mostly sandy and topped with hummus, it will be best for them to grow. You should avoid soil that is way too compact and holds much moisture as Yoshino cherry blossom tree roots are prone to rotting.

They need a significant amount of sunlight for the best growth. If it gets sunlight for some parts, the side that doesn’t get enough rays may show poor growth.

Yoshino cherry tree blossom

And the best time to plant Yoshino cherry trees is from November to December or late February to mid-March.

Although these cherry trees are native to Japan, they can be seen in the U.S too.

In 1912, Japan gifted Yoshino cherry trees to the U.S as a sign of friendship. You will find them in Washington D.C where these trees were planted. Even a cherry blossom festival is celebrated here every year from March to April.

At A Glance
Fast Growing Period: 3 to 4 years.
Mature Height: 35-40 feet.
Mature Spread: 30-40 feet.
Soil Needs: Sandy/ Non-compact.
Climate: Temperate.
Water Needs: Moderate.
Best Time for Pruning: December to March.
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 8.

2. Pink Weeping Cherry Trees

There are only a few ornamental trees that are as striking as weeping cherry trees. With their cascading stack of blossoms, these trees look breathtaking when they are in full bloom.

They are not fast-growing, approximately 1 to 2 feet per year. And they can grow to be 20 to 30 feet tall with an equal spread.

Pink weeping cherry tree

So, you should keep at least 10 feet of space around this cherry tree so that it can spread nicely.

By the way, pink weeping cherry trees are suitable for most regions except southern Florida, Texas, and California.

One beneficial thing about these trees is that they can survive in low maintenance. They can thrive in full sun, at least 6 hours of direct and unfiltered sunlight per day.

See also  List of Trees Native to Japan

Even with partial shade, they can grow regularly. But, the more the tree receives shades, the less it will bloom during the spring season.

These ornamental cherry trees are adaptive to a wide range of soil types, but they bloom in loose, loamy, and well-drained soil.

Pink weeping cherry tree under full sunlight

It would be best if you water them deeply twice a week for the first year of planting.

After that, they can survive on their own, and you only need to give them water during dry and high temperate weather.

They need to be fed with a slow-release fertilizer in early spring while the new leaves begin budding.

Moreover, you only need to prune the tree if you want to maintain its size and if it has some diseased or dead branches.

Pink weeping sakura blossom

However, if you want to keep them graceful and charming to look at, I suggest pruning in late spring or early summer whilst the pink weeping cherry trees are finished with flowering.

By the way, weeping cherry trees have a long life span of 40 to 150 years.

At A Glance
Fast Growing Period: 2 to 3 years.
Mature Height: 20 to 30 feet.
Mature Spread: 20 to 30 feet.
Soil Needs: Highly adjustable but prefers loose, loamy, well-drained soil.
Sunlight Requirement: Full sun with partial shade.
Water Needs: Moderate.
Best Time for Pruning: Late spring or early summer.
Hardiness Zone: 4 to 9.

3. Kwanzan Cherry Trees

With dramatic and deep pink double-blossoms, Kwanzan cherry trees have one of Japan’s most spectacular blossoms.

These flowering trees are eye-catching all year round, with leaves that appear rich red-copper tone before taking on a greenish shade in summer and then finally turning yellow in fall.

Kwanzan Japanese cherry tree

They can be planted as sample trees in a row or even as bonsai in a container. If you grow them as a bonsai tree, remember that it will take two to three years to grow from a seed or cutting. After that, they will show signs of blooming.

Anyway, if you plant them for gardening, choose a place with full sunlight and well-draining soil.

In case you are gonna plant several Kwanzan trees, make sure to space them 12 to 15 feet apart from the center of the stem.

It’s because they usually grow 30 to 40 feet tall with the same spread.

While talking about the growth rate, Kwanzan can grow from 12 to 24 inches per year.

But unfortunately, these cherry trees are short-lived (15 to 20 years) because of their sensitivity to pests and disease.

Kwanzan cherry tree flower

This tree requires a minimum 6 hours of direct sunray and can tolerate partial shade.  

Apart from that, Kwanzan trees are not too picky and can survive in loamy, sand, or clay soils, and can withstand both acid and alkaline pH levels.

You need to water them deeply, once or twice a week and don’t even have to fertilize your trees for one to two years.

But, after that, you should fertilize with a slow-release and nitrogen-rich blend during spring to boost growth.

Kwanzan cherry tree branch

Kwanzan trees don’t require regular pruning, but if you see dying or diseased branches, cut them immediately.

For aesthetic purposes, you may prune the tree after the blooming season.

At A Glance
Growth Rate Per Year: 12 to 24 inches.
Mature Height: 30 to 40 feet.
Mature Spread: 30 to 40 feet.
Soil Needs: Moist, loamy, sand, well-draining, and clay.
Sunlight Requirement: Full sunray to partial shade.
Water Needs: Once or twice a week, when the top 2 inches of soil are dry.
Best Time for Pruning: Late spring or early summer.
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9.

4. Okame Cherry Trees

Generally, Okame cherry trees grow nearly 2 feet per year and max out at 20 to 30 feet tall, but the highest record is 43 feet tall.

Although these flowering trees are from Japan and China, they were bred in England from a cross of Prunus campanulata and Prunus incisa.

The reason behind the breeding was to create a cherry tree with bright pink flowers but with the ability to tolerate low temperatures, unlike the parent plant. And it’s safe to say that the breeding was a success.

Pink Okame cherry blossom

Although this tree is popular in the southern region, where the temperature is hot and humid, it can withstand a moderate to slightly cold climate.

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In fact, it needs a cold winter to bloom finely in late winter and early spring.

Before reaching maturity, they grow in a vase-shaped form and start to round out while getting older.

They produce a mass amount of candyfloss pink flowers during early spring, and you can plant them any time of the season.

Okame cherry tree in full bloom

I myself own an Okame cherry tree in my yard, and when it is in full bloom, the breathtaking panorama gives me a blissful feel.

So, if you want to add a gorgeous and charming pink tree to your driveway or garden, these cherry trees can be a perfect choice.

Even when these cherry blossom trees are not blooming, the foliage creates a beautiful look with deep green till late August, then turns into golden yellow and later has deep orange and red contrast.

By the way, Okame cherry trees require full sun, and in case you live in a colder region, make sure to plant them in a location where the sunlight stays at least 4 to 6 hours.

Panorama of Okame cherry tree

In case you are in a hot climate or zone 9+, plant them in an area where they will get a bit of relief from the hottest time of the day. In this way, the blossoms’ production will be better.

While talking about watering, be thoughtful of the specific climate you live in. If you are in a region where soils dry up easily and don’t get much rain, you should water the plant often.

On the contrary, if you are in a chilly climate that gets a bit more rain, you don’t have to water much.

This hybrid cherry tree doesn’t do well in extremely wet or clay soil, so avoid these soil conditions.

Also, don’t fertilize too often; once a year is enough. Just give it a low-nitrogen fertilizer early in the spring so that it can utilize the nutrition throughout the growing season.

At A Glance
Grows Until: 12 to 40 feet tall.
Spread Until: 20 to 30 feet.
Soil Needs: Moist, well-draining.
Sunlight Requirement: Full sun.
Water Needs: Medium.
Best Time for Pruning: Do it during their early age after the blossoms drop to keep the shape pleasant.
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9.

5. Autumn Cherry Trees

What will you feel if your cherry blossom tree presents with flowers not once but twice a year!!

Doesn’t it seem like a buy one get one free offer?!

Well, Autumn cherry trees are such an option as they offer small clusters of flowers twice a year.

Pink buds and white flower of Autumn cherry tree

They provide lovely pink buds and white flowers on and off during a warm autumn season and then fully flower during spring.

The best thing about these blossom trees is that they grow at a fast rate of 2 feet or more per year till maturity. They can reach 20 to 35 feet in height and 20 to 25 feet wide.

Autumn cherry trees progress in full sunlight but can endure partial shade too. They grow in the best form with at least six hours of direct and unfiltered sunbeam per day.

Autumn cherry tree under full sun

Although they are adaptive to a wide range of soils, moist acidic, well-drained loam or clay soils are best.

When you first start growing the Autumn cherry tree, you should pay attention to the correct moisture level. In case the soil is muddy, your tree’s leaves will be yellow and fall off.

So, you need to be careful during the tree’s early growing period. Once your tree is well grown, you may water once every seven to 10 days.

Anyway, fertilizing your Autumn cherry tree is not required unless the branches are growing at a slow pace. You may consider providing a balanced fertilizer which is an NPK value of 10-10-10. And be sure to apply during early spring.

At A Glance
Growth Rate Per Year: More than 2 feet.
Mature Height: 20 to 35 feet.
Mature Spread: 20 to 25 feet.
Soil Needs: Adaptive but prefers moist, acidic, loamy, well-drained, and clay soils.
Sunlight Requirement: Full sun and partial shade.
Water Needs: Medium.
Best Time for Pruning: After its flowers fall in the autumn season.
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 8.

6. Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry Tree

With a narrow growth rate, the Snow Fountain weeping cherry tree is an example of a dwarf cherry blossom tree.

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They are widely popular for gardening because you don’t need a large space to grow them.

By growing to about 8 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide, these cute little cherry trees can fit anywhere.

Little snow fountain cherry trees

Even their looks will make you fall in love instantly. In mid-spring, their cascading branches bloom with a pile of white flowers.

It seems like the arching branches have caught thousands of snowflakes and made a snow fountain.

Well, I think now you may guess why their official name is Snow Fountain weeping cherry tree.

So, if you want to make your yard a little snowy wonderland, look forward to nothing but this lovely cherry tree.

Snow Fountain cherry tree creating beautiful scene in yard

They also require low maintenance and are a favorite among the north and the snowy region as they are cold and heat resistant both.

I recommend watering these plants in the morning at the base. Suppose you are not sure whether to water; simply check if the top 2 inches of soil is dry. In case yes, then it’s high time to water your tree.

Snow Fountain cherry trees also need minimal pruning. As they are in peak bloom during mid-spring, I suggest you only remove the broken branches in early spring.

At A Glance
Growth Rate: Slow.
Mature Height: 8 to 15 feet.
Mature Spread: 6 to 8 feet.
Soil Needs: Well-draining.
Sunlight Requirement: Full sun.
Water Needs: Moderate.
Best Time for Pruning: Only remove the broken branch during early spring.
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 8.

7. Ichiyo Cherry Trees

Ichiyo is a late flowering cherry variety that you will often find in Japanese gardens and parks. Their flower starts to bloom during mid to late spring.

During the ancient era of Japan, the Ichiyo cherry tree’s blossoms used to be salted and pressed to make a cherry-flavored hot drink.

Ichiyo cherry trees blossoms

What! Maybe you are confused after hearing that we Japanese eat cherry blossoms.

Yes, you can eat some species of cherry blossoms because of their nutritional and medicinal values.

Anyway, back to the topic. After nearly 20 years of growing, these flowering trees reach 4 to 6 meters tall.

Fully grown ichiyo cherry blossom tree

These trees can grow in most soil types but require free-draining soil as they can’t tolerate waterlogging.

Because of their upright branches, the canopy grows into a rounded umbrella shape over time.

At A Glance
Mature Height: 15 to 20 feet.
Mature Spread: 15 to 20 feet.
Soil Needs: Chalk, clay, loam, sand.
Sunlight Requirement: Full sun.
Water Needs: Average.
Best Time for Pruning: Mid-summer.
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 8.

8. Ukon Cherry Trees

Ukon is a relatively small Japanese flowering cherry tree that can grow about 5 X 4 meters in 20 years.

Their spreading form is particularly suited for Japanese-themed gardens but will also look stunning if you use them as a single specimen in any sized garden.

Ukon cherry blossom tree in garden

If you buy a pot-grown Ukon cherry tree, you can plant them any time of the year.

And you need to water them regularly during the first spring and summer when the temperature is hot and dry. In autumn, you only need to pour water a little.

Although you can leave Ukon cherry trees on their own, pruning them for the first few years will give them a more balanced structure of branches.

Prune Ukon sakura tree for balanced structure

But of course, you should do it after the flower petals have dropped and before the new sprouts appear.

Then after two to three years, you will only require to remove any damaged branches.

At A Glance
Height & Spread in 20 Years: 5 x 4 meters.
Soil Needs: Suited to all but prefers wet or shallow chalky soils.
Sunlight Requirement: Full sun.
Water Needs: Regularly throughout the first spring and summer.
Best Time for Pruning: Do it only for the first 2 to 3 years after the flowers drop.
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9.

9. Sargent Cherry Trees

The Sargent cherry trees offer charming beauty year-round. Their pink flowers adorn the tree in late April or early May.

They grow at an average rate with a height increase of 13 to 24 inches per year. At maturity, Sargent cherry can grow 40 to 50 feet tall with the same spread.

Sargent cherry blossom tree growing

This ornamental tree needs at least six hours of direct and unfiltered sunlight each day.

One remarkable feature of them is that they are less sensitive to diseases compared to other cherry blossom trees.

Sargent cherry blossom tree less sensitive branch

The fruits of the Sargent cherry blossom tree attract birds. Hence, you may wake up in the morning by hearing the sweet singing of birds.

At A Glance
Growth Rate Per Year: 13 to 24 inches.
Mature Height: Approx. 40 to 50 feet.
Mature Spread: Approx. 40 to 50 feet.
Soil Needs: Acidic, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam, well-drained, and clay soils.
Sunlight Requirement: Full sun.
Water Needs: Average.
Best Time for Pruning: Prune if needed after flowering ends.
Hardiness Zone: 4 to 7.

10. Weeping Extraordinaire Cherry Tree

Imagine welcoming your spring with fluffy pink double flowers that create a view to cherish!

Yes, the Weeping Extraordinaire cherry tree’s blossoms are such eye candy.

Fluffy pink Weeping Extraordinaire cherry flower

With a medium growth rate, these trees prefer moist, well-draining, acidic soil.

Not only do they create a spectacular landscape in spring, but they also show glossy deep green foliage during summer and rich burgundy tones in the fall.

Since these trees are tolerant of urban pollution, you can plant them on driveway borders or even beside the streets.

Weeping cherry tree on urban area

Watering depends on several factors like rainfall amounts, temperature, and soil type. If the temperature is hot, you should water them twice a week. During the rainy season, there is no need to water them.

While talking about pruning, you should remove the current year’s old, faded flowers and fruits. It will boost up flower buds for the next season.

At A Glance
Growth Rate: Moderate.
Mature Height: 15 to 20 feet.
Mature Spread: 15 to 20 feet.
Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, acidic soil.
Sunlight Requirement: Full to partial.
Water Needs: Twice a week in summer and every three weeks in fall.
Best Time for Pruning: Prune during the winter season to remove dead branches.
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 8.

Alright, I have completed discussing some of the most popular cherry trees’ growth-related facts with some gardening tips.

I was often asked some questions about cherry trees, especially how long does it take for a cherry blossom tree to grow from seeds.

Okay, depending on the variety, sprouting from the seeds should start in 2-8 weeks. However, some varieties take up to months to start germination.

Well, I have nothing more to tell you regarding today’s topic. So, let’s move to the conclusion.

Conclusion

In Japan, cherry blossoms mean a gift of nature that can please the eye with heavenly beauty.

And after exploring their beauty through all of the given images, I think you can guess why we Japanese people are obsessed with these sakura flowers.

So, if you wanna set your own little paradise, you can choose any of the sakura bloom trees and grow them in your yard.

I assure you that their blooms will make your gloomiest day cheerful in a moment.