Content Detail

Japanese flowering cherry is an Asian species known more for its cultivars. The actual species is seldom sold. The cultivars produce showy flowers in spring and some good leaf color in autumn.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Planting site Residential and parks, Under utility lines
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Mature height 15-20 feet
  • Mature width 15-20 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago)
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest early spring, mid spring, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink, White
  • Shape or form Round
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Wildlife Insect pollinators
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Japanese flowering cherry is native to China, Japan, and Korea.

Bark color and texture: 

The red-brown bark is smooth, shiny, and marked with long horizontal lenticels.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

Simple, alternate leaves are lance-shaped and 2 to 5 inches long. They are green in summer, changing to reddish-bronze in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

The flowers may be pink or white, single or double, depending on the cultivar. Flowering occurs in the spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Fruits are small, red to black cherries. Some cultivars are sterile and produce no fruit.

Plant care:

This can be a high maintenance, relatively short-lived tree due to numerous disease and insect problems. Not all cultivars are hardy in zone 5. 

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

This tree is susceptible to many diseases and insects including black knot, mildew, borers, mites, and tent caterpillars.

Kwanzan (Kazan) flowering cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’ or ‘Kanzan’): 

This is the most widely available cultivar. It has dark pink, double flowers and produces them in great abundance. It has a good fall color.

Royal Burgundy flowering cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Royal Burgundy’): 

This cultivar has red-pink double flowers. The new foliage emerges burgundy in spring. It has reddish-orange fall color.


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