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Cherry Blossom vs Cherry Tree: 5 Key Differences

Every cherry variety falls under the genus Prunus, each with unique characteristics. In this comparison, I’ll contrast a typical fruit-bearing cherry tree with the Cherry Blossom.

The primary distinction lies in their purposes: Cherry Blossoms are ornamental, celebrated for their stunning blooms, while cherry trees are cultivated mainly for their tasty fruits.

Cherry Blossom vs Cherry Tree

Cherry Blossom and Cherry Tree

Cherry Blossom Cherry Tree
Name Prunus serrulata, Prunus subhirtella Prunus cerasus, Prunus avium
Hardiness zone 5-8 5-7
Mature height 30-50 ft 15-25 ft
Mature width 35-50 ft 35-40 ft
Growth rate fast medium
Light exposure full sun, partial shade full sun
Soil moist, drained moist, drained
Soil pH 6.0-6.5 6.0-6.5
Watering 1 time per week in a drought 1 time per week in a drought
Diseases fungus fungus
Pests insects insects, caterpillars, birds

Cherry Blossom blooms better

Cherry blossoms boast a more vibrant and dense bloom than fruit-bearing cherry trees. Among cherry blossoms, there’s a wide array of flower shapes and colors, with Kwanzan being a standout variety. It features double or triple layers of petals, creating a lush display in a striking pink hue.

The diversity in flowering cherries extends to even more remarkable varieties. Take Kikuzakura, for instance, which can have over a hundred petals per flower, resembling miniature pompoms and offering a breathtaking sight.

In contrast, fruit cherry trees typically have simpler flowers with just five petals, which don’t quite rival the spectacle of cherry blossoms.

Additionally, cherry blossoms have a longer blooming period of about two weeks, surpassing that of fruit cherries. Planting different cherry blossom varieties together can extend this blooming period to a month or more, offering a prolonged visual feast.

Cherry Blossoms do not grow cherries

Cherry blossoms, valued for their beauty, are ornamental and typically don’t bear edible fruit. Celebrated especially in Japan, these blossoms are central to Hanami, the springtime tradition of flower viewing.

While some cherry blossoms do produce fruit, these are usually small, sour, and generally not fit for human consumption, though birds might eat them.

Conversely, there’s a wide array of fruit-bearing cherry varieties, broadly classified into sour and sweet types.

Among these, the Black Gold Cherry stands out with its dark red or nearly black fruit, known for its sweetness and juiciness. Another notable variety is the Rainier Cherry, a compact tree yielding yellow-red fruit with a sweet flavor.

Cherry Blossom live longer

Cherry Blossoms typically have a longer lifespan compared to fruit-bearing cherries. Sweet cherry trees, for instance, usually live for about 10-15 years before they stop producing fruit and perish. Sour cherries have a slightly longer life, averaging around 25 years.

In contrast, Cherry Blossoms can live for 30-40 years. There are even instances of flowering cherry trees that surpass 80 years, though such longevity is exceptional.

The shorter lifespan of fruit cherries is attributed to the energy-intensive process of fruit production, which accelerates the aging of the plant. Therefore, in terms of longevity, fruit cherry trees are at a disadvantage compared to their flowering counterparts.

Fruit cherry tree needs more sun

Fruit-bearing cherry trees demand more sunlight compared to Cherry Blossoms. This is because the development and maturation of cherries rely heavily on sunlight, which facilitates the formation of essential nutrients. Since Cherry Blossoms produce little to no fruit, their energy requirements are comparatively lower.

Typically, fruit cherry trees need around 8-10 hours of direct sunlight daily, but optimal results, including juicier and riper fruits, are observed with around 12 hours of sunlight.

In contrast, Cherry Blossoms require about 6 hours of direct sunlight to flourish in their flowering phase.

Fruit cherry trees are more difficult to care for

Maintaining cherry trees is notably more complex than caring for Cherry Blossoms, particularly regarding diseases and pests.

Cherry trees attract various pests like different caterpillars that feed on fruits, leaves, and even bore into branches, making them difficult to combat. Additionally, cherries are appealing to various beetles and mites.

Birds pose another challenge as they are fond of cherries. Managing bird interference is often more tricky than dealing with insect pests.

Diseases are a significant concern in cherry cultivation. Common issues include fruit developing black spots or rotting, often due to diseases. Addressing these problems requires specific and timely application of treatments, which can be challenging to execute correctly.

Cherry trees also demand regular fertilization for a good harvest, necessitating both organic and mineral supplements.

Conversely, caring for Cherry Blossoms is simpler. Typically, a single preventive spray is sufficient to shield these trees from most diseases and pests.