TREES & plants

Nanking cherry

Nanking cherry flowering in spring.

The Nanking cherry is a lovely ornamental shrub with fragrant white flowers appearing before the leaves.  Shiny reddish-brown exfoliating bark and attractive scarlet red fruits adds seasonal interest. Use as a hedge or spring specimen in the shrub border.

Botanical name: 
Prunus tomentosa
All Common Names: 
Nanking cherry, Manchu cherry
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Massing, 
  • Mixed border, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet), 
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3, 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant, 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed, 
  • Round
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate, 
  • Fast
More Information: 

Size & Form

A broad spreading, densely twiggy shrub, becoming more open and picturesque with age.
Reaching 6 to 8 feet high and wide.

Tree & Plant Care

Full sun and well-drained soil. Best in loose loamy soils.
Tolerant of wind and drought once established.

Disease, pests, and problems

Prone to insect and disease problems, often short-lived.

Native geographic location and habitat

Japan, China and Korea

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Fruit in mid-summer attracts birds

Bark color and texture 

Shiny, reddish-brown, exfoliating bark

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, 2 to 3 inches long with roughly-veined, serrated leaves.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Early, pink buds change to fragrant white flowers.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Attractive, edible, scarlet-red fruits in mid-summer



Prunus tomentosa or Nanking cherry

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.