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Kwanzan vs Yoshino Cherry Tree: What To Choose?

Cherry blossoms, in all their varieties, are universally captivating, each boasting unique features that set them apart. They differ in hues, dimensions, and other characteristics, lending every type its own distinct charm and significance.

If attracting pollinators is your goal, Yoshino cherry trees are an excellent choice. They are prolific in producing both pollen and nectar. Conversely, the Kwanzan Cherry is cultivated solely for its abundant and striking flowers. Lacking in pollen and nectar production, it is a sterile tree, but its floral display is undeniably magnificent.

Kwanzan Yoshino
Hardiness zone 5-9 5-8
Mature height 30-40 ft 40-50 ft
Mature width 30-40 ft 50 ft
Growth rate fast fast
Light exposure full sun, partial shade full sun, partial shade
Soil moist, drained moist, drained
Soil pH 6.5-7.0 6.5-7.0
Watering 2 times per month in a drought 2 times per month in a drought
Diseases fungus fungus
Pests insects insects
Kwanzan Cherry Tree vs Yoshino Cherry Tree

Kwanzan Cherry Tree and Yoshino Cherry Tree

They have different flowers

The Kwanzan and Yoshino cherry blossoms exhibit distinct floral differences, making each variety uniquely captivating.

Kwanzan cherry blossoms are notably intricate, featuring two to three layers of petals. The petals nearer the center are shorter, creating a lush, full appearance. Additionally, the wavy edges of the Kwanzan petals add to their aesthetic appeal. With 12-13 flowers per cluster, Kwanzan blossoms resemble luxuriant bunches, reminiscent of hydrangeas.

In contrast, Yoshino cherry blossoms are simpler, typically with five petals per flower. Their inflorescences usually contain about 10 flowers, forming charming, pompom-like clusters.

Color-wise, these varieties also stand apart. Yoshino blossoms are delicately pale pink, appearing almost white from a distance, with their pink hue more evident upon closer inspection. Kwanzan flowers, on the other hand, boast a vivid pink color that is striking even from afar, making them a visually striking choice.

Kwanzan bloom after Yoshino

Kwanzan cherry trees flower slightly after the Yoshino variety, marking another distinction between them. The timing of their bloom varies based on climatic conditions and other factors, with the delay ranging from a few days up to two weeks.

Typically, Yoshino cherry blossoms emerge in late March, continuing through April. In contrast, Kwanzan cherries start blooming in early April, lasting until the month’s end. This later blooming period gives Kwanzan an edge, as its flowers are less vulnerable to the damage that late frosts can cause.

Kwanzan is messier than Yoshino

Kwanzan cherry trees tend to be messier than Yoshinos, particularly after their blooming period. This difference is mainly due to the duration and manner of their petal shedding.

Post-flowering, Yoshino cherry trees quickly shed their petals and flowers, usually within a few days. This results in a relatively thin layer of floral remnants beneath the tree, making the cleanup process straightforward and typically completed in a single day.

In contrast, the Kwanzan variety sheds its flowers over a more extended period, often lasting more than a week. If these fallen flowers are not promptly cleared, they can accumulate substantially under the tree’s canopy. This situation can be further exacerbated by rain, as the wet petals tend to form a paste-like layer that is more challenging to clean up.

Therefore, Kwanzan cherry trees generally require more effort and time for post-blooming cleanup compared to their Yoshino counterparts.

Yoshino is bigger

Despite the Kwanzan cherry’s lush appearance, it is typically smaller in size compared to the Yoshino cherry tree.

In favorable conditions, a Yoshino cherry tree can grow up to 40% larger than a Kwanzan. This significant size difference should be considered when planning where to plant them. Yoshino cherry trees require more space, ideally planted farther from buildings. Their canopy can extend over 50 feet (about 15 meters), necessitating a clearance of at least 25 feet (approximately 7-8 meters) from other plants to accommodate their spread.

An additional feature of the Yoshino variety is the existence of a weeping form known as the Yoshino Weeping Cherry Tree (Prunus x yedoensis ‘Pendula’). This unique cultivar is characterized by its beautiful flowering drooping branches, creating an awe-inspiring and distinct visual appeal.

Kwanzan needs a little more sun

While both Kwanzan and Yoshino cherry trees thrive in sunlight, the Kwanzan variety has a slightly higher sun exposure requirement.

Kwanzan cherry trees ideally need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. In cooler climates, such as those in hardiness zone 5, they may require up to 8 hours of sunlight for optimal flowering.

On the other hand, Yoshino cherry trees are a bit more flexible with their light needs. In warmer areas, like climate zone 9, they can flourish with just 4 hours of direct sunlight, though they are capable of tolerating more.

Insufficient sunlight can lead to poor or no blooming in cherry blossom trees. Therefore, it’s crucial to plant them in open, sunny areas to ensure they receive adequate light for healthy growth and flowering.

Kwanzan is hardier than Yoshino

Kwanzan cherry trees exhibit a broader adaptability to varying climate zones compared to Yoshino cherry trees, making them hardier in diverse environments.

The Kwanzan variety can successfully grow in hardiness zones 5 to 9, with instances of thriving even in zone 4. To enhance their winter hardiness in colder zones, it’s beneficial to mulch around their roots.

Conversely, Yoshino cherry trees are suited for hardiness zones 5 to 8. This range indicates that Yoshino trees may struggle with the intense heat found in the southern United States and the extreme cold in the northern regions.

Due to its wider range of climate tolerance, Kwanzan cherry trees are a more versatile choice for gardeners across various regions.