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TREES & plants

Higan cherry

Higan cherry is a small- to medium-sized tree known for its early pink to white flowers in spring. The weeping form is most popular in the nursery trade.

Botanical name: 
Prunus subhirtella
All Common Names: 
Higan cherry, rosebud cherry, spring cherry
Family (English): 
Rose
Family (Botanic): 
Rosaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet)
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)
Mature Height: 
20-40 feet
Mature Width: 
15-30 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Tolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Intolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Excessive sucker growth
  • May be difficult to find in nurseries
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Spring blossoms
  • Showy flowers
Time of Year: 
  • Early spring
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Pink
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Round
  • Weeping
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
Wildlife: 
  • Birds
  • Insect pollinators
More Information: 

Size & Form

A 30 to 40 foot high and wide tree with a rounded habit
Tree & Plant Care
Needs full sun for best flowering,
Prefers a well-drained soil, pH adaptable
E
asily transplanted
P
rune after flowering in spring
Cold tolerant 

Disease, pests, and problems

Short-lived, susceptible to many insest and diseases when stressed

Native geographic location and habitat
Japan

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Birds are attarcted to the late season fruit

Bark color and texture 

Shiny, reddish brown bark with long horizontal lenticels
Bark often peeling and curled

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate leaf arrangement with simple, deciduous leaves
Linear to ovate leaf shape about 1 to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide.
Dark green leaf color changing to orange red fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Single, pink flowers bloom before the leaves emerge. The 1/2 inch diameter flowers are borne in umbels with 2 to 5 flowers each

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Red fruits are oval maturing to black

Cultivars and their differences 

Weeping Higan Cherry  (Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’ )  This cultivar is grafted onto a  straight understock reaching 25 to 30 feet high and 35 feet wide. The pendulous oval growth becomes more mounded with age. Clear pink flowers before the leaes emerge.