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What Kind Of Sakura To Choose For Your Garden?

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Sakura, most often associated with Japan and its culture. Picnics under the shade of blossoming trees have long been an inherent attribute of welcoming spring in the Land of the Rising Sun. The financial and academic year here begins on April 1, just at this time in many regions of the country the gardens begin to bloom. Therefore, many significant moments in the life of the Japanese are held under the sign of the blossoming sakura. But great grows sakura and in cooler regions - certain species can be successfully grown even in Siberia. About the most interesting species and varieties of sakura for different regions of Russia we will tell in the article.

What kind of sakura to choose for your garden?
What sakura to choose for your garden?

The most common sakura species

Sakura is a generalized name. It includes several species that are grown as ornamental plants, have small inedible fruits or do not bear fruit at all. There are more than 600 varieties of cherry trees in Japan, including wild forms and hybrids.

In 1963, a book entitled Garden Plants of Japan, compiled by dendrological scientists at the University of Tokyo, was published. According to this publication, the following species belong to the sakura species:

  • mountain sakura (P. Jamasakura);
  • Hedos cherry (P. yedoensis);
  • short-bristle cherry (P. subhirtella);
  • Sargentia cherry (P. sargentii);
  • glandular cherry (P. glandulosa);
  • bell cherry (P. campanulata);
  • fine serrated cherry (P. serrulata);
  • sharp serrated cherry (C. serrulata).
What kind of sakura to choose for your garden?
Bell cherry (Prunus campanulata). © mauro halpern

Which cherry blossoms in Japan?

The cherry blossom season in Japan begins in February. It is opened by bell cherry, also called Taiwan cherry or winter cherry. Its large cyclamen-red flowers are in 2-3 clusters or arranged singly. They do not open fully and therefore really look like small bells. This highly decorative species is hardy, but can survive only to -18° C. In our conditions it is recommended to grow in container culture.

Edos cherry in Japan is known as somei yoshino, or Tokyo cherry. This variety of sakura emerged in the 19th century from crossing different species. It is now most common in the Land of the Rising Sun. Now these beautiful trees can be seen in every corner of Japan. In the middle of the last century, the flowering branches of somei yoshino became one of the symbols of Tokyo.

In cherry trees, the leaves and flowers appear almost simultaneously, but in somei yoshino, the flower buds bloom first. The flowers are fragrant and have white or white-pink petals and five to six flowers in an inflorescence. If you walk into a sakura grove when it is in bloom, you feel as if you are in a soft pink cloud.

One of the oldest sakura species is the yamazakura, or mountain sakura. Unlike other Japanese cherries, which were obtained by crossbreeding and hybridization, the yamazakura is still found in the wild. Until the middle of the 19th century, this species was the most common in Japan until it was gradually supplanted by beautiful hybrid forms.

The distinctive feature of the species is the pale pink color of the petals, which open simultaneously with the leaves. Images of yamazakura flowers can be seen in ancient paintings and objects of Japanese life, they are also often used in modern art. Like most Japanese sakura, yamazakura blooms in April and blooms for two weeks.

Japanese cherry petals fall off very quickly, but because the different types of sakura do not bloom simultaneously, you can admire their beauty for several months. After somei yoshino, the wave of iaezakura with white or bright pink flowers follows, followed by weeping branches of sidarezakura with small, soft pink terry-like inflorescences. With the slightest breeze, thousands of thin petals fly off and slowly fall to the ground, forming a veritable carpet of flowers.

What kind of sakura to choose for your garden?
Hedo cherry (Prunus yedoensis). © Meng Li
What kind of sakura to choose for your garden?
Mountain sakura (Prunus jamasakura). © Eiki Yasuda
What kind of sakura to choose for your garden?
Small serrated cherry (Prunus serrulata). © danielilla

What species of sakura grow in our gardens?

Many of our compatriots, tempted by the flowering of sakura, passionately wish to settle such beauty on their plots. Is it possible, and for which regions are suitable for different types of sakura?

It turns out that our gardeners have long been familiar with some of its varieties. So, in the territory of the former Soviet Union at the beginning of the XX century cherry "registered" small saw-toothed. A large collection of plants was brought from Japan to the Adler arboretum "Southern Cultures" back in 1936. Even now this species of sakura can be found on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, in Crimea (Nikitsky Botanical Garden), in the Krasnodar Territory, Stavropol and Sakhalin.

Successfully winters it in Kiev, Lvov, Transcarpathia, as well as in Moldova. There were attempts to grow small serrated cherry in St. Petersburg, Estonia and Latvia, but the northern latitude is not suitable for it. Cherry trees

Fine serrated cherry is a fast growing species that can reach up to 8-10 m in height. The tree is prized for its unusual glossy bark and bright pink inflorescences that completely cover the branches during flowering. The crown of this cherry tree is funnel-shaped; to give it a beautiful shape, the new growth on young trees is shortened annually. Planting of fine serrated cherry is better on sunny, wind-protected spots with fertile soil. There are among them varieties with white or pink terry flowers, as well as plants with weeping branches.

Many ornamental forms of sakura refer to the species crispy-fingered cherry. On the basis of this species, foreign breeders have bred a number of macro varieties, such as:

  • Kwanzan - with dense florets of intense purple hue.
  • Amonogawa - with semi-flowered tender pink inflorescences.
  • Shirofugen - with white semi-flowers, which are tinted pink by the end of flowering.

Unfortunately, in the middle belt of Russia only non-maximum forms of this species winter well, the others are recommended to grow in containers.

Jelly cherry is a small multi-stemmed shrub that reaches in height from 0.5 to 1.6 m. The flowers are pink, becoming almost white by the end of flowering, and do not fall off for 2 weeks. In the wild, the glandular cherry lives up to a hundred years. Although native to China, Korea and the southern part of Primorye, this plant has adapted well to the climate of many regions of Russia.

For gardeners, ornamental forms of this species are famous - varieties Alba Plena and Rosea Plena. They are often referred to as the terry cherry, or northern sakura. The main advantage of the terry varieties is their luxurious flowering, which begins in May and lasts more than three weeks.

These ornamental cherries are fast-growing shrubs 1.2-1.5 m high, with a rounded crown. The branches are flexible and have a reddish-brown color and spread out in different directions from the center. Such plants look nice on the lawn, beside water, in rockeries and alpinaries near stones.

Scrubby cherry - a slow growing tree with a weeping crown up to 5 m in diameter. Blooms very abundantly in April-May, before the appearance of leaves. The flowers are simple, pink in color and are about 2 cm in diameter. This type of sakura is quite frost-resistant, withstanding frosts as low as -29°C, but for a short time. Prefers sunny sites, but can grow in a little shade.

The plants look beautiful in both single and group plantings. It is recommended to plant short bristlecone cherry trees in places protected from wind and cover them for winter.

Please also read this. Catananche - lilac daisies

What kind of sakura to choose for your garden?
Cherry tree (Cerasus serrulata). © Evan Chak
What kind of sakura to choose for your garden?
Glandular cherry (Prunus glandulosa). © Chien Hung
What kind of sakura to choose for your garden?
Short stubby cherry (Prunus subhirtella). © Anita Gould

Colorful Sakura species for northern regions

The Main Botanical Garden (Moscow) grows a macerated cherry tree with rather high winter hardiness. White flowers on long peduncles, gathered in brushes of 3-5 pieces, blossom simultaneously with late varieties of cherries.

Presumably, this variety appeared as a result of crossing common cherry and march form of sharp-pointed cherry. This hybrid is infertile but can be propagated by rootstock and grafting onto other related species. The Sakhalin cherry tree (C. sachalinensis) is remarkable winter hardy, reaching the height of 8 m. It overwinters well in Siberia, Khabarovsk Krai and the European part of Russia. Flowering of the Sakhalin cherry begins early, simultaneously with the apricot. Flowers are large, up to 4 cm in diameter, from pale pink to red-pink. Two forms of this species have received the status of a variety:

  • "Roseanne" - a medium-sized tree with a wide-oval crown and rosy-red flowers.
  • "Cypress" with a narrow pyramidal crown and bright pink flowers.
What kind of sakura to choose for your garden?
Sakhalin cherry (Cerasus sachalinensis). © Lora Black

Cherry sargenta is a shrub or tree reaching 6 to 12 m in height and 5-8 m in width. The form of young plantings is funnel-shaped, with age their branches often assume a horizontal position. Simple single flowers with pink petals are arranged in inflorescences of 2-4 pieces. Flowering begins before the leaves open, in April. At this time the trees, covered with pink-red inflorescences, become real favorites of the garden. Unfortunately, flowering is short-lived, lasting only about a week, but this does not prevent you from fully enjoying the beauty.

The natural habitat of the Sargent cherry tree is northern Japan and Korea, as well as the Far East and Sakhalin. This species grows mainly in mountainous areas, so it is much more hardy than other cultivated varieties of sakura. Plants can be successfully cultivated in the middle belt of Russia and even in St. Petersburg latitude if they are well wintered and sheltered.

What kind of sakura to choose for your garden?
Cherry sargentii (Prunus sargentii). © Andrii Khomiuk

Don't forget about other beautiful flowering plants, which can become a real decoration of our gardens and parks. Such species include:

Louiseania triloba (L. triloba) - a beautiful sprawling shrub that is frost-resistant and drought-resistant. In April-May, numerous mahogany flowers of pink or pink-white hue open on its branches. Flowering lasts up to 2 weeks.

Maack cherry, or Maack cherry (P. maackii) is the most frost-resistant species, which is distinguished by its beautiful bark color - from reddish-orange to golden. The flowers are gathered in beautiful long brushes of white. This species is found in the wild in the Far East, Primorye and China. The tree easily tolerates flooding and drought, transplanting and pruning, grows well in urban conditions.

Felted cherry (P. tomentosa) - pleases with its abundant flowering in May. More often this culture is planted in decorative hedges, but its fruits are edible and are not inferior in taste to those of the common cherry. Quilted cherry is highly frost-resistant, unpretentious to soils, but poorly tolerates shade. The culture can grow and bear fruit well for only 10 years, but rejuvenating pruning allows you to extend this period to 20 years.

Dear readers, and what sakura trees grow in your garden? Share your experience of growing these ornamental trees in the comments to the article.