Kwanzan Cherry Trees Buying & Growing Guide
If you’ve ever seen the famous cherry trees in Washington, D.C, then you are familiar with the Kwanzan cherry tree (Prunus serrulata). These ornamental trees are spectacular when in bloom, with voluminous deep pink double blossoms. After their spring bloom, the trees make attractive anchors for informal gardens, and provide lovely yellow-to-bronze colors in the fall. They do not produce fruit, which makes them a good choice for areas next to sidewalks and driveways. Kwanzan cherry trees:
- Have lovely deep pink double blooms.
- Are sterile, and do not have fruit.
- Can be container grown or used to create a bonsai.
Where to Buy Kwanzan Cherry Trees
- Fast Growing Trees – Starting at $59.95
- Brighter Blooms – Starting at $59.99
- Gardener Direct – Starting at $89.95
Kwanzan Cherry Tree Overview
|Origin||China, Japan, Korea|
|Scientific Name||Prunus serrulata|
|Fertilizer||slow-release nitrogen-rich blend after second year|
|Max growth||30 feet tall|
|Sunlight||at least 6 hours a day of direct sun|
|Water||deeply once or twice a week|
|Propagation||from cuttings and grafting|
|Soil||acidic, well-drained and wet|
|Pests||borers, scales, aphids and spider mites|
|Bloom time||spring from April to early May|
|Uses||bonsai, container or above-ground planter|
|Flower color||pinkish red|
|Plant type||fruitless deciduous tree|
|Growing zone||Outdoor: 5-9|
Growing Zones: 5-9
|Planting and Care|
|Sunlight||Grow best in six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day.|
|Watering||Need thorough watering once or twice a week, when the top two inches of soil are dry.|
|Fertilizing||Doesn’t need fertilizer for the first two years. After two years, apply a high-nitrogen product every spring.|
Kwanzan cherry trees can be grown outside in USDA hardiness zones 5-9. Plant your tree where it will get six or more hours of sun a day, in soil that drains wells. Dig a hole that’s as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Tease out any encircling roots, which can eventually girdle and kill the tree, and place it in the hole. Carefully fill the hole with soil, tamping it down and keeping the tree upright while you do so.
After planting, water thoroughly, allow the water to drain down, and water once more. Mulch out to the tree’s drip line with an organic mulch such as bark chips.
Watering and nutrients
For the first year, monitor your sapling carefully and water whenever the top of the soil seems dry, which may be several times a week during dry summer months. After that first year has passed, plan on giving your tree a good deep watering once a week during the growing season, unless you receive at least an inch of rain each week.
You don’t need to fertilize your Kwanzan cherry for its first two years. After two years have passed, apply a high-nitrogen, slow-release fertilizer in the spring to the plant’s root zone. If your tree doesn’t bloom well, increase the amount of fertilizer you use slightly.
Since Kwanzan cherry trees bear no fruit, you do not need to have more than one tree for pollination purposes. Most Kwanzan cherries are propagated by cuttings. If you would like to try this, prune a branch that has two to four leaf nodes, place it in a rooting hormone for two days, then plant in a mix of peat moss and perlite. Keep it moist and in a sunny location, and your branch may generate roots.
Kwanzan cherries need minimal pruning unless you are growing them in a container or creating a bonsai. For outdoor plants, survey your tree every spring after it blooms and remove any branches rubbing against each other. Also remove the suckers that may grow from the base of the trunk and diseased or broken branches.
Pests and diseases
Pests that may bother your Kwanzan cherry tree include aphids, several varieties of caterpillar, scale insects, and Japanese beetles. Scale insects appear as bumps on the trunk or leaves. You may also see discoloration of the leaves with any of these, or evidence of something eating the leaves. Minor infestations can sometimes be handled by picking off the insects or using a hose to wash down the leaves. Major infestations may require the application of an insecticide.
Diseases of the Kwanzan cherry include canker, blight, and black spot. If there is too much moisture in the soil or your tree sits in a puddle for too long, it may be susceptible to root rot. Fungicide can help with some diseases such as leaf spot and brown rot.
Achieving maximum results
It’s possible to grow your Kwanzan cherry in a container, and even to use it to create a miniature bonsai plant. If you live north of USDA hardiness zone 5, a pot-grown Kwanzan cherry should be brought inside in the winter. Container-grown plants require you to be extra diligent about watering when the soil is dry. You may also need to do additional pruning to keep the tree at a manageable size.
Frequently Asked Questions
How fast will my Kwanzan cherry tree grow?
A healthy, growing Kwanzan cherry will add about 12 to 24 inches of new growth each year, until it reaches a height of roughly 30 to 40 feet. Unfortunately, Kwanzan cherries are short-lived trees, so once it reaches its mature height, the plant may begin to decline in health. This will happen roughly 15 to 25 years after planting.
Are Kwanzan cherries considered low-maintenance?
Although Kwanzan cherries do need some care, they don’t require constant pampering like some flowering trees. They need minimum pruning (unless they are being grown in a container), and although you need to watch the soil to keep it from drying out, they don’t need daily watering. They are also not prone to disease or insect infestation.
How tall do Kwanzan cherry trees get?
A Kwanzan cherry can grow as high as 30 to 40 feet, with a spread of about the same distance. Once it reaches this height, there will be minimal growth.
How do I keep my Kwanzan cherry small?
If you are growing your Kwanzan cherry in a pot, or need to keep an outside tree at less than its usual 30 to 40 feet, you will need to prune it regularly. Using sterile clippers, make sharp cuts to remove branches just above where a bud is visible, or near (but not cutting through) the branch collar where it joins a larger branch. Step back after every few cuts to survey your work and be sure you’re not creating an unbalanced silhouette.