No, cherry blossoms do not grow cherries. Cherry blossoms are the flowers that appear on cherry trees (Prunus spp.). The flowers only last for a few weeks each spring and then fall off of the tree. After the petals have fallen away, small green fruits will begin to develop under the blossoms. These fruits eventually mature into sweet-tart cherries that are edible and delicious. While it is true that cherry blossoms and cherries come from the same tree, they are quite different in appearance and purpose. The flowers are purely ornamental, while the fruit is edible.
Cherry blossoms are highly valued for their beauty, but there is much more to them than just being pretty. They also play an important role in pollination as they attract bees and other insects to help spread pollen between plants. Without these pollinators, many trees would not be able to reproduce and produce cherries or any other type of fruit. So even though cherry blossoms don’t grow cherries themselves, they still play an important part in growing them!
Understanding cherry blossoms and cherry trees
To understand the connection between cherry blossoms and cherries, it’s important to first differentiate between cherry blossom trees and cherry fruit trees.
Cherry blossom tree species
Cherry blossom trees, also known as ornamental cherry trees, are primarily grown for their beautiful flowers. Some common species include:
- Prunus serrulata (Japanese cherry): Known for its large, pink or white blossoms, this species is the most iconic of the cherry blossom trees.
- Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino cherry): This tree boasts abundant clusters of white or pale pink flowers and is a common sight during cherry blossom season.
- Prunus subhirtella (Higan cherry): With its weeping branches and small, pale pink flowers, this species is another popular ornamental cherry tree.
Cherry fruit tree species
Cherry fruit trees are grown for their delicious and nutritious fruit. The two main species of cherry fruit trees are:
- Prunus avium (sweet cherry): This species produces large, sweet cherries that are commonly eaten fresh or used in desserts.
- Prunus cerasus (sour cherry): Known for its tart flavor, this cherry is typically used in cooking and baking.
Both these species are likely to be fruitful for around 25 years provided healthy climate conditions.
Differences between cherry blossom trees and cherry fruit trees
There are several key differences between cherry blossom trees and cherry fruit trees:
- Tree size and shape: Cherry fruit trees tend to be larger and more spreading, while cherry blossom trees are often smaller and more compact.
- Flower appearance: Cherry blossom trees produce large, showy flowers, while cherry fruit trees have smaller, less conspicuous flowers.
- Fruit production: Most cherry blossom trees do not produce fruit, while cherry fruit trees bear fruit after their flowers have been pollinated.
- Growing conditions: Cherry blossom trees are more tolerant of a wider range of soil and climate conditions than cherry fruit trees.
Do cherry blossoms grow cherries?
Cherry production in cherry blossom trees
Most cherry blossom trees do not produce fruit, as they have been bred specifically for their ornamental qualities. The flowers of these trees are often sterile or have reduced fertility, preventing fruit formation. This allows the tree to focus its energy on producing stunning blooms.
Exceptions to the rule
While the majority of cherry blossom trees do not produce fruit, there are a few exceptions:
- Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’: This cultivar of the Higan cherry produces small, inedible cherries that are primarily ornamental.
- Prunus ‘Kanzan’: This popular, double-flowered cherry tree produces small, inedible fruit that is not suitable for consumption.
- Other hybrids: Some hybrid cherry trees may produce small, inedible cherries, but these are generally not considered desirable for eating.
Comparison with cherry fruit trees
In contrast, cherry fruit trees are specifically bred for their fruit production. The flowers of these trees are fertile, and after pollination, they develop into delicious cherries that are enjoyed by both humans and wildlife.
Growing cherry blossom and cherry fruit trees
Growing cherry blossom trees and cherry fruit trees can be a rewarding experience, as both types of trees provide beauty and interest in the garden. Here’s a guide on planting and caring for these trees, as well as managing pests and diseases.
Planting and care
To grow healthy and productive cherry trees, consider the following tips:
- Soil and site requirements: Both types of cherry trees prefer well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. They thrive in full sun and should be planted in an area with good air circulation to prevent diseases.
- Water and fertilizer needs: Cherry trees require consistent moisture, especially during the growing season. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. Fertilize young trees in early spring and late fall, and mature trees in early spring, using a balanced fertilizer.
- Pruning and maintenance: Regular pruning is essential for maintaining the health and shape of your cherry trees. Remove dead, diseased, or crossing branches, and thin out the canopy to improve air circulation. For cherry fruit trees, proper pruning can also increase fruit production.
Pest and disease management
Common pests and diseases that affect cherry trees include:
- Cherry fruit flies
- Spider mites
- Powdery mildew
- Brown rot
- Bacterial canker
To manage these issues, maintain good air circulation, keep the area around your trees clean, and use appropriate organic or chemical treatments as needed.
Tips for growing both types of trees in the same garden
If you’d like to grow both cherry blossom trees and cherry fruit trees in your garden, consider the following:
- Choose compatible varieties that share similar growing requirements.
- Plant the trees far enough apart to prevent competition for resources and to reduce the risk of disease spreading.
- Use companion planting to attract pollinators and beneficial insects that can help with pest control.
Cultural Significance of cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms hold deep cultural significance, particularly in Japan, where they symbolize the ephemeral nature of life.
- Hanami (cherry blossom viewing): In Japan, the cherry blossom season is marked by hanami, a centuries-old tradition of picnicking under cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Families, friends, and coworkers gather to appreciate the beauty of the blossoms and enjoy each other’s company.
- Symbolism of cherry blossoms: Cherry blossoms represent the fleeting nature of life, as the flowers bloom and fade in a short period of time. This symbolism serves as a reminder to cherish life’s fleeting moments and appreciate the beauty around us.
Cherry blossoms are also celebrated in other parts of the world:
- Cherry blossom festivals around the world: Many countries, including the United States, South Korea, and Germany, host annual cherry blossom festivals that celebrate the beauty of these flowers and showcase the cultural connections between countries.
- Cherry blossoms in art and literature: The beauty of cherry blossoms has inspired countless artists, poets, and writers throughout history, making them a popular subject in paintings, poems, and prose.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer the most frequently asked questions about cherry blossoms.
1. Is a cherry blossom a cherry tree?
No, a cherry blossom is not a cherry tree. Cherry blossoms are the beautiful flowers of the Prunus genus of trees, which includes both ornamental cherry trees and fruit-bearing varieties like sweet cherries and sour cherries. The flowering cherry trees are usually much shorter than their fruiting counterparts, with multiple slender stems that may only reach heights of 10 to 25 feet in height. The blooms are typically white or pink in color and can appear in late winter or early spring depending on the climate. The flowers will then drop off to reveal small green fruits that will eventually become red sweet or tart cherries, depending on the variety of trees.
2. Is the cherry blossom a flower or a tree?
The cherry blossom is both a flower and a tree. Though it’s more commonly known as a flower, the cherry blossom is actually a species of tree that belongs to the genus Prunus. Its scientific name is Prunus serrulata, and it grows in temperate climates throughout the world. The blooms are delicate and usually pink or white in color. They appear in early spring, typically blooming for two to four weeks before quickly withering away. As the flowers fade, fruits called cherries begin to form on the tree—hence its English name. The trees can grow up to 30 feet tall and live for hundreds of years.
3. How to get a cherry blossom tree to bloom?
Getting a cherry blossom tree to bloom is a relatively simple process. First, the tree must be in an environment with adequate sunlight and moisture. The tree should also be planted in soil that drains easily. Second, prune the branches of the tree regularly so that it can receive adequate sunlight and air flow. Third, fertilize the tree once every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. Fourth, water the tree regularly with enough water for its size; too little or too much can affect its blooming cycle. Finally, provide protection from pests and diseases; use insecticides and fungicides to do this. Following these steps will ensure that your cherry blossom tree will flourish and bloom in all its glory!
4. Where do cherry blossoms grow?
Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are one of the most iconic symbols of Japan and other Asian countries. They grow in temperate climates in both the northern and southern hemispheres. In Japan, cherry blossom trees can be found all over the country. These trees can also be found along the West Coast of North America from British Columbia to California as well as throughout Europe. In warmer climates, such as Spain and Portugal, cherry blossoms can be seen during springtime. Cherry blossom trees prefer moist soils and full sun, making them easy to care for and maintain in many outdoor spaces. While they may not produce fruit like their close relatives – sour cherries – they do make for a beautiful landscape feature that blooms annually with pink or white flowers.
5. Can you grow a bonsai cherry tree in Florida?
Yes, you can grow a bonsai cherry tree in Florida. The species of cherry tree that is best-suited for growing in this climate is the Japanese flowering cherry, also known as Prunus serrulata. This species is hardy and well adapted to hot humid climates, and will enjoy full sun exposure and regular watering. When planting the tree, make sure to use a good quality potting soil and provide adequate drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. In addition, fertilize regularly with an organic fertilizer and prune your tree throughout the year to maintain desired shape. With proper care and maintenance, your cherry bonsai can thrive all year round in Florida’s warm weather conditions.
Although cherry blossoms do not typically grow cherries, their stunning beauty and cultural significance more than make up for their lack of fruit production. Appreciating the delicate and ephemeral nature of cherry blossoms can bring a sense of wonder and joy to our lives. Whether you’re growing cherry blossom trees, cherry fruit trees, or both, these lovely plants can add a touch of magic to your garden and serve as a reminder of the fleeting beauty of life.