In the blooming spring, you decided to visit Japan!
Most significantly, you are going to be stunned by the cherry blossoms everywhere that make our land, Japan, look like a fairyland. You will find various types of cherry trees here and may even want to grow one for yourself.
Of all the varieties, Kwanzan and Yoshino are two of the most popular ones that are suited for yards and gardens. And, if you want to grow one of them or just casually want to know about their different features, you are at the right place.
Today, I will highlight the differences between these two in my Kwanzan vs Yoshino cherry tree writing.
Keep reading to explore all the unknown facts!
Kwanzan Vs Yoshino Cherry Tree: Learn The Core Differences Between Them
In Japan, there are numerous varieties of flowering cherry trees. Kwanzan and Yoshino are two of the most popular ones.
They have several characteristic dissimilarities that make each of them unique and beautiful in their own way.
The core difference between Yoshino and Kwanzan cherry trees is the flowers. Kwanzan tree has flowers with lots of petals of bright pink color, while Yoshino has the usual number of white petals.
Additionally, Kwanzan flourishes a bit earlier than Yoshino.
Besides these, there are many more differences, and I think a side-by-side comparison will be better to show you their variance in a blink.
Yoshino Vs Kwanzan Cherry Tree Comparison Table
The below table contains their variation based on various measures.
The above differences are not enough for you to distinguish them.
Therefore, I am presenting some important facts by which you will be able to know them properly.
But, first, I would like to give an introduction to both trees as you may not know much about them.
Introduction to Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms Tree
This flowering cherry tree was named after a mountain in Japan and is native to China, Korea, and Japan. Its original name is “Sekiyama,” but it’s rarely used now.
It was introduced to America in 1903 and was made popular by the floral displays at the yearly Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.
This ornamental tree grows in a vase-shaped form. Since it’s a splendid specimen, you can plant it in containers, walkways or streets, and buffer strips.
Even you will be able to use them as a bonsai tree. Cool, right?
They look absolutely cute in a bonsai form.
Anyway, Kwanzan requires low maintenance, but unfortunately, they have a short lifespan that usually doesn’t exceed 15-25 years.
But, you know what, these trees have a beauty that can make people stunned right away, so I will say it is well worth planting them.
Okay, let’s move on to Yoshino now.
Introduction to Yoshino Cherry Blossoms Tree
Native to Japan, Yoshino (or Japanese flowering cherry trees) is a standout at every cherry blossom festival in the world. Watching their stunning whitish-pink blossom can soothe the mind instantly.
They have a vase-shaped canopy, spreading from an upright branching pattern with gray bark. These trees can live long, about 80 years, even more with proper care.
There are different types of Yoshino cherry trees, such as Somei Yoshino, Akebono, and Shidare-Yoshino (a weeping variety). Each of them has a distinct charm, and you can choose any of them as per your preference.
Alright, as I am done with the short introduction, it’s time to present the facts that make them different from each other.
Differences Between Yoshino Cherry Trees and Kwanzan Cherry Trees
Both Yoshino and Kwanzan cherry trees have some characteristics that make them different. And it’s time to dive into the descriptive discussion so that you can learn about them in detail.
First, let’s know the difference between their flower appearance thoroughly.
Both of Their Flowers Have A Distinct Look
Beauty at its best!
Yes, the kwanzan cherry tree has one of the most spectacular flowers in Japan as it has a dramatic, jaw-dropping look. The flowers have a pompom shape that can draw your attention instantly.
Each blossom has several petal rows. Petals that grow near the center are shorter than those growing at the edges. Therefore, the kwanzan tree’s flowers look much more pretty and splendid.
Their bunches of lush flowers will remind you of hydrangea.
Another key feature is that the edges of their petals are wavy, which makes the blossom eye-catching. The inflorescence has around 12 to 13 flowers.
On the other hand, the Yoshino flower has an ordinary look with five petals. The number of flowers in the cluster is ten on average.
By the way, their blossoms differ not only in shape but also in color.
Yoshino has pale pink flowers that seem white from a distance. Only when you get closer to them, you will notice the pink color.
Kwanzan blossoms are brighter, and they have a flashy pink color that is visible from far.
Personally, I like kwanzan’s flower because of their unique and impressive appearance.
Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms Bloom After Yoshino
Kwanzan cherry flowers flourish a little later than Yoshino. The difference may vary from a few days to two weeks based on the climate and other conditions.
Usually, Yoshino blooms in late March through April, while Kwanzan flowers in early April to the end of the month. The variation in flowering can sometimes be 4 to 5 days.
In terms of the growth of these cherry blossoms, there is some information that you need to know.
There is a possibility that these trees won’t bloom or you will see a lack of flowers in some years. The most common reasons are spring frosts, insufficient sunlight, and not pouring enough water. Less common causes are pests, diseases, and improper pruning.
In short, the blooming can be affected by the lack of proper maintenance. Thus, if you are interested in growing them, you better learn how to take care of a Yoshino cherry tree or Kwanzan beforehand.
Maintaining Kwanzan Is Messier Than Yoshino
The amount of hard work that requires these two cherry trees varies.
After blossoming, Yoshino sheds its petals and blooms within a few days. Only a small layer of the flower formed under the tree that can be easily collected with a rake and thrown away.
You will need one day to clean up all the mess under the tree.
But with Kwanzan, everything is different. These cherry trees shed flowers for a long time, and the cleaning process may take more than a week.
In case you don’t remove the fallen flowers, a pile of rubbish will be formed under the canopy. And if it rains, the dropped petals will create a sticky layer that will be pretty difficult to clean.
Since the kwanzan cherry flowers are larger than Yoshino with more petals, the amount of garbage will be more to maintain.
Another disadvantage of the Kwanzan tree is that its flowers and petals are tighter and do not decompose quickly.
Hence, Kwanzan requires more time and hassle for cleaning after flowering. You may use a leaf blower to deal with the mess faster. Also, this tool will make cleaning simple and easy.
Yoshino Is Bigger in Size
Even though Kwanzan looks fancier due to its elegant blooms, it reaches smaller sizes than Yoshino.
Under similar favorable conditions, the Yoshino tree can grow about 40% larger than Kwanzan. And the reason behind this variation lies in the number of flowers.
What!! Confused? You may wonder how flowers affect the growth of the tree, right?
Well, it’s because seed formation and the flowering process require a lot of energy from the plant. Therefore, it spends less energy on its growth.
Since Kwanzan produces more flowers in the inflorescences, it is relatively smaller in size. Also, this cherry tree has more complex blossoms that need more time and energy to form.
On the contrary, Yoshino blooms less than Kwanzan and spends more energy forming new branches.
So, while planting these trees, you have to consider this difference.
Yoshino requires more area, and you should plant them away from home. The crown of these trees can spread around 50 ft (15 meters), so other plants need to be planted with a gap of at least 25 ft.
Now, if you want a Yoshino tree but don’t have a wide space, then there is another option for you!!
There is a weeping variety named Yoshino weeping cherry tree that has a moderate growth rate. They can reach a height of 15 – 20 feet with the same spread.
These cherry trees have unique flowering-dropping branches that can instantly draw the attention of your neighbor or guests!
Kwanzan Requires A Bit More Sunlight
The sun requirement difference between these two trees is not that much, but Kwanzan needs a little more sunlight than Yoshino.
Kwanzan requires a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. For profuse flowering in cooler climates (hardiness zone 5), the plant may need 8 hours of direct sunray.
As I stated before, cherry blossoms may not flower or bloom poorly due to the lack of light. Thus, plant Kwanzan in an open sunny place to get the most out of it.
Now when it comes to Yoshino, it needs a little less light. 4 hours of sunlight is enough for it in climate zone 9, though it can withstand more.
Partial shading won’t affect the growth of Yoshino, but that doesn’t mean it can grow in the shade.
Both these two cherry trees will thrive in full sun (10 to 12 hours a day).
Kwanzan Has A Slight Wide Range of Climate Zone
Generally, Kwanzan cherry trees flourish in zones 5 to 9. Even there are examples of successful plantations in zone 4. They can be planted as far north as Nebraska and south as Texas.
But, remember that these plants are more comfortable in winter, and it’s essential to fertilize the roots.
In contrast, Yoshino can grow 5 to 8 hardiness zones. Therefore, it can’t tolerate the heat of the southern United States and the harsh frosts of the north.
So, you can see that the Kwanzan is suitable for wider climate conditions and is accessible to more gardeners.
In addition to variance, these two flowering cherry trees have similar features. For instance, they can grow on a large range of soils. However, they need compost with high phosphorus content for better flowering.
From time to time, these plants may get affected by pests, so you need to spray fungicides, pesticides, or neem oil.
Difference in Frangrance Between Kwanzan and Yoshino Cherry Trees
Kwanzan cherry blossoms have a slightly sweet almond scent that is quite pleasant.
Conversely, Yoshino has a light fragrance with hints of almond scent.
Yoshino Bears Fruit But Kwanzan Doesn’t
Yoshino produces small berries that are edible and nontoxic. But, they have a bitter taste, that’s why people don’t eat them. However, birds do like them.
Therefore, they will attract birds and butterflies when they produce these berries.
Another fact is that you can eat the petals of Yoshino cherry flowers and even use them in making desserts and tea.
On the other side, Kwanzan doesn’t produce any fruits. Also, their flower petals are not edible.
Difference in Appearance of Leaves of Yoshino and Kwanzan Trees
Kwanzan leaves can grow roughly 4 to 5 inches in length. The leaves appear to be reddish-copper when they first emerge, then turn into deep green in the summer, then yellow and bronze in the fall.
For Yoshino, serrated, ovate, shiny green leaves emerge in summer. And during fall, the leaves change into yellow, orange, and red.
Okay, that’s all for the comparison. As I don’t have anything further to say, let’s move on to the final verdict.
Yoshino Cherry Trees Live Longer Than Kwanzan Trees
When it comes to longevity, the Yoshino cherry tree far exceeds its Kwanzan counterpart.
With proper care, these Yoshino cherry trees can live up to 80 to 100 years; however, Kwanzan trees typically don’t exceed more than 15-25 years.
With its long life, the Yoshino cherry tree is the ideal choice for any gardener who wants to own a cherry tree for more than two decades.
Yoshino cherry trees have been cultivated since ancient times, and have become symbols of beauty and longevity in Japanese culture.
In many parts of the country, these trees are planted along streets to commemorate and celebrate special occasions such as weddings or birthdays.
This Kwanzan vs Yoshino cherry tree comparison shows each and every aspect of these flowering trees.
Whether you want to casually know about them or have a plan to choose one for your garden, I hope you got enough information for your query.
Lastly, I wanna say that both of them are absolutely beautiful. And even if you don’t find them in your respective country, I will ask you to come to my country Japan to view these precious gifts of nature.