Ornamental Cherry

Prunus spp.

Flowering Cherry, Blomkersie (Afr.)

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Prunus is a large genus containing around 254 species in the Rosaceae family. They are a diverse group of species, including Plums, Cherries, Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots and Almonds. Native to temperate regions in the Northern hemisphere, these plants are widely grown for fruit and ornamental purposes. They are beautiful trees, frequently used in park landscaping as in spring they are covered with the most beautiful, often scented blossoms. Many flowering cherries do not develop any fruit, they are instead grown predominantly for their impressive blossom displays, such as Prunus serrulata. There are also many edible cherries, such as Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus. Many hybrids have been developed and certain selections have become popular over time. The fruit is a drupe, meaning it has a fleshy fruit surrounds a single hard seed and are generally of medium size, between 2.5-7.5cm in diameter, globose to oval, with a firm and juicy flesh.

Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Fruiting time

Summer

Harvesting

Fruit have the best flavor when left to ripen on the tree. You can tell when Prunus fruit are ripe by applying gentle pressure with your fingers. If the skin of the fruit feels soft, then it is ready to be picked. The fruit should come off the tree easily. Commercial farmers will test for sugar content and will only start to harvest if the fruit have reached a high enough sugar level. They do not continue to ripen after been picked!

Propagation

Seed

Crack the hard outer shell and remove. Seeds need cold stratification(give them a cold winter or in the fridge for about 8-10 weeks)and plant in the Spring.

Layering

Rootstock is propagated by laying down a branch and removing all the new shoots with roots after they are strong enough.

Cuttings

The commercial way of propagating prunus is grafting or budding unto a rootstock.

Special features

Attracts useful insects

Attractive flowers

Attractive leaves

Attractive fruits

Special features

Origin

Asia and East Europe: Japan, Taiwan, China, Siberia and Canada.

Natural climate

Temperate Coastal areas as well as mountains and along rivers.

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Loam, Sand

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Personality

Family

Rosaceae

Flower colour

Pink, White, Red

Scent

Mild

Problems

They can suffer from silver leaf disease, scale, bacterial canker, fruit fly and weevils or snout beetles often nibble little round holes in the leaves.