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Japanese flowering cherry

Japanese flowering cherry is an Asian species known more for its cultivars. The actual species is seldom sold. The cultivars produce showy flowers in spring and some good leaf color in autumn.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name:

Prunus serrulata

All common names:

Japanese flowering cherry

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • Under utility lines

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Specimen,
  • Utility

Size Range:

  • Small tree (15-25 feet)

Mature Height:

15-20 feet

Mature Width:

15-20 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Alkaline soil

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Tolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Intolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Intolerant

Ornamental Interest:

  • Spring blossoms,
  • Fall color,
  • Fragrant flowers,
  • Showy flowers,
  • Attractive bark

Seasons of Interest:

  • early spring,
  • mid spring,
  • early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Pink,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes


  • Insect pollinators

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

This can be a high maintenance tree due to numerous disease and insect problems.  Not all cultivars are hardy in zone 5.  This can be a relatively short-lived tree.

Disease, pests, and problems

Susceptible to many diseases and insects, including black knot, mildew, borers, mites and tent caterpillars.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to China, Japan and Korea.

Bark color and texture 

Bark is smooth and shiny and is marked with long horizontal lenticels; red-brown in color.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves, lance-shaped and 2 to 5 inches long.  Green in summer, changing to reddish bronze in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers may be pink or white, singles or doubles depending on cultivar.  Flowering occurs in spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruits are small red to black cherries.  Some cultivars are sterile and produce no fruit.

Cultivars and their differences 

Kwanzan (Kazan) (Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan' or 'Kanzan') is the most most widely available cultivar.  It has dark pink, double flowers and produces themin great abundance.  Good fall color.

Royal Burgundy (Prunus serrulata 'Royal Burgundy') has red-pink double flowers.  New foliage emerges burgundy in spring.  Reddish orange fall color.

Location of Prunus serrulata (Japanese flowering cherry) at the Arboretum