Kwanzan cherry trees’ deep pink double-blossoms and stunning leaves are perfect for the National Cherry Blossom Festival—and your very own yard.
Kwanzan cherry trees have a reputation for being some of the showiest cherries at the National Cherry Blossom Festival, with dramatic, deep pink double-blossoms. But Kwanzan cherry trees are eye-catching year-round, with leaves that emerge a rich red-copper hue before taking on a green shade and finally turning yellow in fall. These trees can be planted as specimen trees, in a tasteful row, or even as a bonsai in a container. Unfortunately, their lifespan is only 15-25 years.
Kwanzan Cherry Trees at a Glance
- Don’t bear fruit
- National Cherry Blossom Festival staple
- Leaves change color year-round
Kwanzan cherry trees grow in a lovely vase shape, with serrated leaves that grow to roughly 4-5 inches in length. Their leaves emerge reddish-copper before turning a glossy, deep green in the summer to yellow and bronze in the fall. The trees grow to be 30-40 feet tall with a 30-40 foot spread, and have a moderate growth rate of 12-24 inches per year.
USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the determined regions where different types of plants will thrive. Kwanzan cherry trees flourish in Zones 5-9, across the country as far north as Nebraska and south as Texas.
Kwanzan cherry trees can be planted as bold focal points as stunning, specimen trees, in rows, along buffer strips and driveways, or even as a bonsai in a container. When planting your cherry tree, choose a location with well-draining soil and full sunlight. If you plant several, space them 12-15 feet apart from the center of the trunk.
Kwanzan cherry trees’ roots have a difficult time competing with grass, so plant them in a raised mound bed, especially if you’re worried about poor drainage. The mound should be 12-18 inches above the surrounding soil. If your climate is hot, spread a layer of mulch that is 3-4 inches deep.
Make sure it’s moist after planting by poking your finger into the soil and checking the moisture. If it feels moist, you don’t need to water. If it feels dry, water deeply.
Kwanzan cherry trees are relatively low-maintenance, able to grow in a range of sunlight hours and soil. However, they are short-lived due to their susceptibility to pests and disease.
Sun and shade
Kwanzan cherry trees thrive in full sunlight, with at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. However, they can also tolerate partial shade.
The key aspects of soil for these cherry trees are well-draining and moist. Other than that, Kwanzan cherry trees aren’t too picky. They will do well in loamy, sand, or clay soils, and can tolerate both acid and alkaline pH levels.
Water your Kwanzan cherry tree deeply but irregularly, one to two times per week. If the top two inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water.
You won’t need to fertilize your Kwanzan cherry tree for the first year or two, but after, to boost growth, fertilize with a slow-release, nitrogen-rich blend in the spring.
Kwanzan cherry trees do not require pruning unless you see diseased or dying limbs, which should be cut immediately. However, you can prune to shape and cut off any limbs that are growing too heavy for the base of the tree. Only prune after the tree has flowered for the season.
Pests & diseases
Troublesome pests that target Kwanzan cherry trees include aphids, caterpillars, borers, scale, spider mites, and Japanese beetles. Common diseases include powdery mildew, root rot, leaf curl, and fireblight.
Frequently Asked Questions
How fast do they grow?
They grow at a moderate rate of 13-24 inches per year.
Do they bear fruit?
They are sterile and do not bear fruit.
How tall do they get?
They grow to be about 30-40 feet tall.
How do you care for a Kwanzan cherry tree?
It’s important to make sure Kwanzan cherry trees receive adequate irrigation and full sunlight, and that their prevalent pest and disease issues are dealt with.