8 Cherry Blossom Tree Tips to Know Before You Plant or Buy (Full Guide) (2024)

You know those beautiful pink blossoms that shower the ground in early spring from a Cherry Blossom tree? Those gorgeous, delicate blooms are coveted by many hopeful gardeners but can be a little tricky to grow…unless you know a few tips.

This complete guide to the beautiful Cherry Blossom tree has everything you need to know before you buy or plant to ensure that your trees not only survive but also flourish and provide lasting years of enjoyment.

Check it out!

Believe it or not, the botanical classification of cherry blossoms has varied over time and from country to country, but thankfully, the tree is not in any danger of extinction.1

So, if you’re ready to dive in and buy some cherry blossom tree home depot saplings…there are plenty of varieties to choose from. But first, there are some things to know about this transplanted species of flowering tree.

Cherry Blossom Cultivation: How To ‘Tips’ Before Planting or Buying

Before planting or buying your cherry blossom tree, there are some tips and things to know about their arboreal needs.

Tip #1: Sunlight Needs

Cherry Blossom trees need lots of sunlight, a minimum of six hours every day, and soil that is rich.3 So, make sure that the location where you plan to plant it gets plenty of sunshine.

The U.S. averages about 3-5 hours of sun everywhere, but you can check your particular areas here.11

Aim for full sun exposure, but some shade is okay. But remember, the more sun the cherry blossom tree gets, the more blooms you’ll enjoy in spring!

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(Image: Jessie Jia15)

Tip# 2: Soil Needs

Plant cherry blossom saplings in soil that is fertile, but slightly acidic. Too much alkaline will not do.

However, if your soil is sandy or has a lot of clay, no problem, these trees can do just fine and adapt to plenty of types of growing conditions. But, you do need to make sure that there is plenty of drainages…don’t plant them in areas where water stands for long periods of time.

Tip #3: Watering

Keep saplings deeply watered for the first year, and make sure that the tree maintains good moisture.

Tip #4: Fertilizing

Once a year, using slow-release ornamental shrub and tree fertilizer, feed your tree.

Tip #5: Temperature Needs

The only thing to worry about with these trees, temperature-wise, is too much warmth. High levels of sustained heat should be accounted for in your planting location. For example, if you’re planting in areas where you get plenty of heat year-round, choose a shadier spot so that the tree can stay cool in the evenings.

Tip #6: Pruning a Cherry Blossom Tree Branch

Always prune these ornamental trees after they have bloomed. Remove broken and damaged branches and any that are stuck together. This opens the tree for more air circulation.

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If you prune the tree while it’s young (the first 3 years), you’ll be able to shape it. Also, remove any ‘suckers’ from the base of branches (these will take nutrients from the flowers) and any low-level branches.

Tip #7: Avoiding Diseases and Pests

Sadly, these lovely trees are susceptible to disease and pests, including various rots, Japanese beetles, and aphids. Prune out rot areas (dark swelling on the branches) and try various oils and natural pesticides to help control aphids.

Diatomaceous earth is a great option for killing certain pests, and it’s completely natural. The only downside is that it won’t work when it’s wet. However, it will work just fine after it dries out and is safe for pets and children to be around.

Tip #8: Best Cherry Blossom Location

Extreme temps are not good for this tree, and it is recommended that you plant in hardiness zones 9-5. However, once the tree is flourishing, it will better adapt to changes in temperatures.

How To Plant Ornamental Cherry Blossoms

When transplanting a sapling, follow the guidelines for planting trees, which include:

  • Digging a large hole that will allow the tree crown to sit just above the soil surface.
  • Frequent and steady watering for the first few weeks (a perforated hose is a great solution)
  • Bracing the sapling with stakes or lines
  • Plant in early autumn

Japanese Cherry Blossom Tree

The genusCerasus contains the Japanese Cherry Blossom tree. But, that’s only for most parts of Asia. In the western hemisphere, cherry blossom is classified differently.

The ornamental trees are included in the genusPrunus,which consists of a few hundred species. The classification all depends on where you live.

What’s So Special About Cherry Blossom Trees? (Sakura Cherry Blossom Tree)

Cherry blossoms have long been associated with Japan.Studies confirm that cherry blossoms orsakurafound their way to the Island nation a long time ago…prehistoric times, in fact.

Native to the Himalayan mountain region, the eye-catching pink blossom tree migrated to the island nation they are famous for.

Cherry blossom gatherings (calledHanami) became popular around the turn of the first millennium after some important members of the ruling class hosted feasts under the blooms.2

And the tree’s popularity continues to grow.

Cherry (Pink) Blossom Tree Characteristics

Cherry fruit trees and cherry blossom trees are different varieties of cherry trees. Most cherry trees are intent on generating delicious fruit. However, a blossom tree is all about the blooms.

Farmers around the world have produced many varieties of cherry trees over the centuries. The tree has been crossbred thousands of times to get the juiciest, tastiest cherries possible.

What Does a Cherry Blossom Leaf (Cherry Blossom Tree Leaves) Look Like?

Cherry blossom leaves are mostly oval-shaped, with a slight point at the tip, and some are also heart-shaped. The little serrations (and sometimes doubled) on the edges of the leaf add to the pointy appearance.

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(Image: Tomoko Uji16)

Growing up to about 4 inches long, at the end of the leaf, nectar glands provide nourishing sustenance for hummingbirds and other nectar-loving insects.

So, if you want hummingbirds to be welcome in your backyard, cherry blossoms are a great addition.

Bark of Cherry Blossom Tree

Cherry tree bark can be dark gray to black, rough to the touch, and breaks away easily from the trunk, but Cherry Blossom tree bark is much more distinctive, with a red-brown color.

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(Image: Jeffrey Riley17)

Even though the bark from the roots, trunk, and branches has medicinal properties, it is the root bark that is the most beneficial. The distinctive horizontal, protruding lines are easy to recognize.

Identifying Cherry Blossom Tree Seeds

In cherry blossom trees, the seeds are formed (usually) by the tree itself as the pollen and pistil have to contact. This produces a small ‘fruit,’ but not for eating. It simply contains the seed that is transplanted by various means. It looks like a tiny cherry pit.

You can grow a cherry blossom from seed, as long as the seed is germinated properly.

What Does a Cherry Blossom Smell Like?

The scent of cherry blossom flowers has long been coveted for its light and refreshing qualities.

Although difficult to reproduce exactly in commercial fragrances, the blooms themselves have hints of honey and tree sap.

Is the Cherry a Fruit?

Although technically cherries do match the definition of a fruit, they are unique in a way. Cherries are also considered “drupes,” a more specific category, which is a subcategory of the fruit genus, making cherries a fruit, but a specific kind.

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(Image: Lancier18)

Cherry blossom tree fruit: Uncultivated varieties of cherry blossom trees either have small, yucky cherries, or some that can be eaten. The edible variety generally comes from trees that have been cultivated.

Cherry tree fruit: There are two basic cherry tree types, sweet and sour. Trees that yieldsweet cherries,take longer to grow, approximately 6-10 years before they produce fruit.

Sour cherries are often used for baking, but the tree itself will produce fruit sooner than a sweet cherry tree.

How Tall Will a Cherry Tree Grow? (Small Cherry Blossom Tree and Mini Cherry Blossom Tree Varieties)

A cherry tree can grow as tall as 35 feet (about 10 meters), and its branches can spread out about 12-15 feet. Dwarf varieties reach about 18 feet in height but still provide the luscious fruit.

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The branches themselves are widespread, with plenty of room between them.

However, there are small and mini varieties, which have been cultivated for small gardens, including:

  • Hiromi Weeping Cherry Blossom Tree: These only reach about six feet in height.
  • Dwarf Cherry Blossom: Other varieties can reach about 10 feet tall, but you can take steps during the first few years to limit how tall a cherry blossom tree can grow.
  • Fuji Cherry Tree (White Cherry Blossom Tree): This dwarf plant is perfect for growing in potted containers that are large enough, or for backyards. It produces lovely, mostly white blossoms that hang in delicate clusters.
  • Snow Fountain: This tree yields pure white blooms that also droop and hang from cherry blossom tree branches.

Bing Cherry Trees and Other Types of Cherry Blossoms

Bing cherry trees, famous for their sweet, large, and juicy fruit, don’t have pink blossoms…they aren’t cherry blossom trees.

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But, their white blossoms have a sweet scent, and can yield about 50 pounds of fruit per tree!

In addition to the ones listed above, there are some other cherry blossom tree options, including:

Cherry Blossom Bonsai Tree

Taking 2-3 years to grow, these indoor beauties are both lovely and practical for anyone who has a small space.

Chinese Cherry Blossom Tree

The Chinese varieties have blossoms that grow in clusters, and even double clusters, making them look very full.

Fake Cherry Blossom Tree

There are plenty of fake indoor cherry blossom trees available for sale, which can be used to decorate or simply enjoy. However, there’s no fragrance, so these are perfect for allergy sufferers.

Red Cherry Blossom Tree

There are some hybrid types that produce red blooms, but you’ll need to grow these from seeds, as they are less available than many of the white or pink blooming varieties.

Cherry Tree Flowering Dates: When to See the Best Blooms

Many wild species of cherry trees bloom from March to April in the Northern Hemisphere. However, some varieties can bloom as early as November.

Cultivated cherry blossom trees are generally designed and planted with the intention of viewing the gorgeous blooms and pink blossoms.

Other varieties of cherry trees have white blossoms in spring.

Native Growing Regions of Cherry Blossom Trees

Species of cherry blossoms are found everywhere. But, they are especially common in the Northern Hemisphere. This provides the right growing temperature, and they are native to countries including:

  • Japan
  • China
  • Korea
  • Nepal
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Iran
  • Afghanistan
  • Several countries in northern Europe

Transplanted Cherry Blossom Trees

Of course, many areas of the United States6 also have beautiful cherry blossom trees, which have been transplanted. Nashville holds a Cherry Blossom festival,7 along with many other cities.

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(Image: Lisa Fotios19)

In 1912, Japan offered the United States a gift8 of 3,020 cherry blossom trees. The trees were then planted in Sakura Park (Sakura tree) in New York and Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., one of the most famous groups of blooming cherry blossoms in the United States.

Cherry Blossoms in D.C.: It’s Against the Law To Pick Cherry Blossoms!

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrated in the U.S. capitol as a reminder of the tree gift sent by the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912.

Bloom dates for Cherry Blossoms9 are issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) each year.

It’s also against the law to pick cherry blossoms10 from the trees in D.C. or to harvest branches or cuttings… you can be arrested or given a citation!

Can You Eat Cherry Blossoms?

Yes, you can eat cherry blossoms. As one variety of edible flowers, cherry blossoms not only look beautiful, but are highly regarded as beneficial, used in cakes, cookies, and even sakura blossom tea.

Cherry Blossom Folklore and Strange Cherry Blossom Tree Facts

Think you know everything about cherry blossom trees? Think again! There are tons of fun facts and folklore surrounding the cherry blossom.

Here are just a few interesting facts:

  • About 5 years ago, rage for Cherry Blossom flavored ice cream was a hit, with both Baskin Robbins and Haagen-Dazs creating flavors.
  • Peak blooming is usually around the first through the fourth of April (in the U.S.), but can change each year. The National Parks Service provides12 dates.
  • The Japanese have a night picnic tradition of placing lanterns in the trees.
  • The Japanese have many folksongs and traditions surrounding the Cherry Blossom, and even recent pop songs celebrate it.4
  • Macon, Georgia is the Cherry Blossom tree capital of the world, with more Yoshino (the most popular variety) trees than any other single location.

Medicinal Qualities of Cherry Blossom Trees

Cherry Blossom trees, as mentioned, have edible flowers and the bark can be used for many medicinal purposes.13

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With anti-inflammatory features, cherry blossoms can be used to reduce swelling and irritation on the skin. It also provides soothing and rejuvenating qualities,14 making it a popular skincare element.

Cherry blossom tea and extracts are used to improve sleep, reduce the symptoms of menopause, and in a number of other cherry blossom healing treatments.

Wherever these beautiful and fragrant trees have traveled they were welcome and cultivated with great care. With thin branches, dotted with sweet-scented pink flowers reaching up to the blue sky, a cherry blossom tree provides a wealth of beauty from nature that anyone can enjoy.

References

1International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. (2022). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Amazing Species. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from <https://www.iucnredlist.org>

2Waxman, O. (2017, March 23). The Surprising History of Cherry Blossoms. Time. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from <https://time.com/4710635/cherry-blossoms-history/>

3Barth, B. (2022). Cherry Blossom Tree. LOVEtoKNOW. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from <https://garden.lovetoknow.com/trees/cherry-blossom-tree>

4Trees for Life. (2022). Cherry mythology and folklore. Trees for Life. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from <https://treesforlife.org.uk/into-the-forest/trees-plants-animals/trees/cherry/cherry-mythology-and-folklore/>

5Homestratosphere’s Editorial Staff & Writers. (2021, August 9). 22 Different Types of Cherry Blossoms and Interesting Facts. HOME Stratosphere. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from <https://www.homestratosphere.com/types-of-cherry-blossoms/>

6U.S. Department of the Interior. (2021, February 12). Cherry Tree Types & Locations. National Park Service. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from <https://www.nps.gov/subjects/cherryblossom/types-of-trees.htm>

7Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. (2022). Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival Tree Planting Project. Nashville Cherry Blossoms Festival. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from <http://maps.nashville.gov/nashvillecherryblossoms/#>

8U.S. Department of the Interior. (2021, February 13). History of the Cherry Trees. National Park Service. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from <https://www.nps.gov/subjects/cherryblossom/history-of-the-cherry-trees.htm>

9United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2021, July 21). Community Connection: Cherry Blossom Bloom Dates in Washington, D.C. EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from <https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/cherry-blossoms>

10Worsham, M. (2012, March 01). All About the Cherry Blossoms. Washingtonian. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from <https://www.washingtonian.com/2012/03/01/all-about-the-cherry-blossoms/>

11U.S. Department of Energy. (2022). Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from <https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/homeowners-guide-going-solar>

12U.S. Department of the Interior. (2022, January 31). Washington’s Grandest Springtime Tradition! National Park Service. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from <https://www.nps.gov/subjects/cherryblossom/index.htm>

13Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. (2022). Stay tuned for OCOM’s 10th Annual Cherry Blossom Gala in Spring 2022. Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from <https://www.ocom.edu/cherryblossomgala>

14Chin, M. (2021). Cherry Blossoms, COVID-19, and the Opportunity for a Healthy Life. NIH National Library of Medicine. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7800741/>

15Jessie Jia. Pexels. <https://www.pexels.com/photo/pink-cherry-blossom-in-close-up-photography-4017653/>

16Tomoko Uji. Unsplash. <https://unsplash.com/photos/shallow-focus-photography-of-tree-with-pink-flowers-v4bkVOl1sTI>

17Jeffrey Riley II. Pexels. <https://www.pexels.com/photo/low-angle-shot-of-a-tree-11642073/>

18Lancier. Pixabay. <https://pixabay.com/images/id-7784251/>

19Lisa Fotios. Pexels. <https://www.pexels.com/photo/blooming-sakura-tree-branches-against-blue-sky-7247742/>

8 Cherry Blossom Tree Tips to Know Before You Plant or Buy (Full Guide) (2024)
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