4 Best Flowering Cherry Trees to Grow in the South

If would take the better portion of a day to name every variety of cherry tree. All of them lovely and all originating from China and Japan.

Pink flowering cherries growing in two parallel rows create a canopy of blooms, over a green lawn.
Whether grown singularly or planted in rows, ornamental cherry trees produce a dazzling show of color each spring.

Some grow small and compact, others grow tall and provide shade, some produce cherries while others are strictly ornamental.

All varieties of this flowering tree will grow well when planted in full sun and well draining soil, but certain varieties do better in certain climates and growing zones.

These 4 are the best cherry trees to grow in the southern climate and soil.

Weeping Cherry

All varieties of the weeping cherry tree grow pendulous-style branches, but that is where their similarity ends. The flowers might be pink or white: single or double blooms.

The tree may be a grafted onto a Higan cherry root stock (P. x subhirtella) or it may be grown on it’s own root stock.

Pink weeping cherry blooms.
The flowers may be pink or white and singles or doubles, and the branch structure upright or drooping, depending on the exact cultivar.

The weeper may grow to look like an up-shooting fountain or give a more formal look with branches cascading down to the ground, either can reach a mature height of 12 feet or 40 feet.

A small, pale pink weeping cherry in bloom, with green grass and various shrubs and trees in the background.

Fall foliage is also spectacular on a weeping cherry tree. With leaves that turn either golden yellow or orange. Make sure you are purchasing the variety of weeping cherry tree that you want for your landscape.

Yoshino

The star of annual cherry festival in Washington, D. C. and other spring celebrations around the south, the Yoshino flowering cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) is fast growing and starts producing blooms the first spring after planting.

Closeup of a pale pink 'Yoshino' cherry blossom, with yellow pollen on white anthers.
With its slightly pink tinted white petals, ‘Yoshino’ is one of the more classic and stately varieties, rather than-in-your face punk-rocker blazing pink like some of the other cultivars.

Yoshino cherry trees will reach a mature size of about 35 feet tall and wide and produce clouds of pinkish-white blooms each spring before the branches leaf out. Fall foliage colors range from yellow to reddish-brown.

Yoshino cherry tree in bloom, covered in blossoms in a shade of very pale pastel pink.

Okame

This is the ornamental flowering tree that signals the arrival of spring in the south. Okame cherry trees ( P. Okame) blooms at different times each spring, often as early as Valentine’s Day.

Producing thousands of deep pink blooms on leafless branches, the tree will grow to a mature size of about 20 feet tall and wide, growing into a neat oval shape.

Okame cherry blossoms, in shades of pink.
With its single blossoms and delicate deep pink petals, there is perhaps no cultivar more lovely than ‘Okame.’

Okame is heat tolerant and does exceptionally well in the hot, humid, drought-prone southern climate. This ornamental tree produces orange-red fall foliage and it’s bark turns a glossy reddish-brown color as part of its fall color display.

Looking up through the canopy of a tall 'Okame' cherry tree, covered in pink blooms.

Kwanzan

Huge, ruffled, doubled deep pink blossoms make this cherry tree resemble a southern belle dressed up for prom night. Kwanzan ( P. serrulata) blooms in late spring after the branches have begun to leaf out.

'Kwanzan' cherry blossoms, ruffled with double blossoms, in clusters at the ends of the branches, against a light blue sky, with light green young spring leaves.
With its double pink blossoms, ‘Kwanzan’ fills every single space with springtime color.

This flowering ornamental will reach a mature height of about 30 feet and grow in a vase-shape pattern, leaving planty of head-room under its glossy, deep green leafed branches. Fall foliage is reddish-brown in color.

A large 'Kwanzan' tree, with every branch covered in pink blooms, arching in a wide canopy with branches starting close to the ground. With a green manicured lawn in the foreground, and a house with brick chimney and white siding to the right.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
22 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Christian Terrero
Christian Terrero (@guest_4154)
1 year ago

Can I plant any of these in Naples Florida?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-schultz)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Christian Terrero
1 year ago

Most varieties of ornamental cherry do best through USDA Hardiness Zone 8b, since they need some winter chill time below 45 degrees in order to flower in the spring.

In Naples, you’re in Zone 10a, and it will be tough to find a variety that will thrive that far south. But you may be able to coax a Kwanzan, Okame, or pink weeping cherry to grow happily there. If you’re looking for fruit, try the Barbados cherry (Malpighia glabra), also known as acerola.

Stay tuned for a more detailed update to this article coming soon!

Cristina M
Cristina M (@guest_5805)
Reply to  Christian Terrero
3 months ago

I live in Miami and have two different varieties – Okame and Kwanzan. I bought them online in 2018 and I had a few flowers bloom last year in spring. This year looks like there will be many more flowers as both trees have a bunch of flower buds. I keep them potted in full sun. I’ve noticed the growth rate is very slow but consistent. However the leaves do not change colors in the fall. The flowers are so beautiful. I think you can definitely grow both in Naples considering my situation 🙂

20190328_181942.jpg

JACKIE
JACKIE (@guest_7517)
Reply to  Cristina M
9 days ago

Hi Cristina,
Can you tell me who online did you buy your okame and kwanzan cherry trees from. I’m very interested. They are so beautiful but our hot muggy weather doesn’t permit such beautiful trees. However, so far your plants have been doing great.

Cristina
Cristina (@guest_7638)
Reply to  JACKIE
6 days ago

Hi Jackie,
Bought them at Nature Hills.

Good luck!

Gabriela Marques
Gabriela Marques (@guest_4759)
9 months ago

Can I plant any of these in Portugal Europe? More specifically the kwanzan?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-schultz)
Admin
Reply to  Gabriela Marques
9 months ago

Hi Gabriela, My response would be similar to the advice I gave Christian above- in Portugal, depending on where you are located, you are likely in an area comparable to growing zones 8b-11b. In colder areas of the northeastern part of the country with enough winter chill time, most varieties can do well. ‘Kwanzan’ prefers zones 5-9, so it would be happy there. But in warmer regions, your choices are a bit more limited. Wishing you the best of luck! We’d be interested to know if any varieties of ornamental cherry are readily available in nurseries in Portugal. Let us… Read more »

Xini
Xini (@guest_5018)
8 months ago

Can I plant Yoshino in Apopka Fl (zone 9)? Please advise. Thanks

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-schultz)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Xini
8 months ago

Yoshino (Prunus x yedoensis) and other types of flowering cherry require a certain number of chill hours in the winter in order to put on a good show of flowers in the spring. This type does best in zones 5-8, and it may not thrive in your warmer location. Try Kwanzan cherry (P. serrulata) or Taiwan cherry (P. campanulata) instead- these species have been reported to bloom nicely in parts of Florida, particularly after a cold snap.

Becky
Becky (@guest_5409)
6 months ago

What cherry tree does well in Houston TX? I think we’re 9 but not sure. Thanks!

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-schultz)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Becky
6 months ago

Looks like you’re probably either in Zone 8b or 9a in Houston. Though this is slightly warmer than the climate favored by most types of flowering cherry, ‘Kwanzan’ will do well there.

Lili
Lili (@guest_5457)
6 months ago

Hi, which variety grows in Tirana Albania?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-schultz)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Lili
6 months ago

Thanks for your message, Lili. Tirana is in Hardiness Zone 8b, with winters that are a bit warm for flowering cherry. See our other responses below for this growing zone- ‘Kwanzan’ may do well there.

Aida Ortiz
Aida Ortiz (@guest_5523)
5 months ago

I live in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and would absolutely love to have a cherry tree. Preferably white. Which do you recommend will survive the heat down here?

Vero
Vero (@guest_5764)
3 months ago

Hi, I will be moving to Huntsville, Alabama next year and would love to plant one of these beauties. Which do you recommend most for the area.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-schultz)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Vero
3 months ago

In Huntsville you’ll be in USDA Hardiness Zone 7. Yoshino, Kwanzan, and Taiwan cherry should all do well there. Good luck with the move!

Brock R Latiolais
Brock R Latiolais (@guest_6006)
2 months ago

I live in Lafayette, Louisiana and just bought property in an area known as Indian Bayou, and love Japanese culture to the max. A dream of mine is to have a cherry blossom tree on my property and would like to know which is recommended? I’ve always admired Okame, and am not fond of weeping trees, what do y’all recommend??

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-schultz)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Brock R Latiolais
2 months ago

In Zone 9a where you’re located, it’s going to be difficult to grow a flowering cherry, but not impossible. Try ‘Kwanzan.’

Barbara
Barbara (@guest_6118)
1 month ago

I live in Auburn Alabama. Which flowering cherry tree would do best here?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-schultz)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Barbara
1 month ago

Auburn is located in Zone 8a. As mentioned in some of the other comments below, this is a bit warm for flowering cherry, but ‘Kwanzan’ might do well in your area.

Jayashree Pilli
Jayashree Pilli (@guest_6716)
28 days ago

What type of cherry blossom trees will survive in Charlotte, NC (zone 8a), and when is a good time to plant them.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-schultz)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Jayashree Pilli
27 days ago

Take a look at the comments below re: warmer hardiness zones, Jayashree. ‘Kwanzan’ is often recommended for Zone 8. It’s best to plant bare root trees when they are dormant, generally between December and February in your area.