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Sweet cherries are the ones most often found in markets. They have a thick, rich, and almost plumb-like texture. Traditionally, sweet cherry trees are self-sterile and best for an orchard or a large garden. You'll need at least two or three trees so that they can pollinate each other. However, a recent and exciting development in sweet cherries is the dwarf self-pollinating “Stella.” (See image below.)

Sour cherries are not usually eaten raw, but are widely used for preserves and other cooking uses. Sour cherries are much smaller than sweet cherries and all varieties are self-fertile.

Standard-size trees start bearing fruit in their fourth year and can produce 30 to 50 quarts of cherries each year.

Dwarf Cherry Tree (Prunus Avium 'Compact Stella'). Credit:


Botanical Name: 

Prunus avium (Sweet Cherries) Prunus cerasus (Sour Cherries)

Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

Soil Type: 

Hardiness Zone: 


  • For sweet cherries, make sure the different varieties will pollinate each other.
  • Plant sweet cherries in late fall or early winter if grown outside, or at any time if container grown.
  • When planting fan-trained trees, construct the necessary supports before planting.
  • Space fanned trees 15 to 18 feet apart.
  • Planting for sour cherries is the same as for sweet cherries, however, space bushes and fans only 12 to 15 feet apart.


  • Thinning is not necessary.
  • Apply mulch to retain moisture.
  • Drape netting over trees to protect the fruit from birds.
  • Water routinely in dry areas.
  • There is no difference in care between sour and sweet cherries.


  • Aphids
  • Caterpillars
  • Brown Rot
  • Black Knot
  • Bacterial Canker (cut out any branches with signs of black knot or bacterial canker as soon as possible)
  • Birds


  • Pick fruits with stalks when fully ripe.
  • Eat or cook immediately.
  • Pick fruits when firm if they are to be frozen.
  • Hand-picking may injure the shoots and cause infection; Cut the stalks with scissors.

Wit & Wisdom

A cherry year, a merry year.


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Growing Cherries in Merced California

My parents are moving to Merced Ca. soon and would like to plant a couple of cherry trees in the yard. What varieties would do well here in the Central Valley? Are there any tips or other things they should be aware of? Mom was thinking of a sweet cherry and a pie type cherry.....
Thanks for all your help!

Sweet cherries are not self

Sweet cherries are not self-fertile and need another sweet cherry variety for cross pollination. Sour cherries are self-fertile and you only need one. See our planting and care information above. The varieties mentioned above will all grow well in California.

Good for Central Texas?

I'm looking at fruit trees to grow in my back yard in the Austin, TX, metro area. We are west of the Balcones fault line, so our ground is limestone, no sand. Our winters are mild, summer can be harsh. I'm getting conflicting info on whether cherry trees will grow well here or not. By zip code, I'm zone 8b. What would you suggest - could I be successful with cherries? Thank you!

Texas cherries

Hi, Laura, your very best resource on this topic may not be far from you. We looked into the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the Univeristy of Texas at Austin and found this information:

We suggest that you contact the Center for more about this or other ideas they might propose to you.There is a contact “button” on the Web page link above.

Ranier Zone ??

We wanted to plant some Ranier Cherry trees in our yard. I am getting mixed information about the hardiness. We live in zone 4b. Can they survive? Also can ranier pollinate with another ranier, or does it have to be a different type of cherry? Thanks!

Rainier cherries are hardy to

Rainier cherries are hardy to zone 4 and we believe that they should survive in your region. Rainier cherries need another tree to bear fruit. Good choices are Bing, Black Tartarian, Craig’s Crimson, and Lapins.

Growth - Latteral/Leader

Is it normal for a Lapins Cherry tree to have a 10-12 foot leader with only two very small lateral branches 3-4 feet off ground? Looks weird, am I supposed to prune it back?

Spring planting

I read that one should plant cherry trees in late fall or early winter. After reading that information does it mean that one should not plant cherry trees (outdoors) in the springtime when they are most available for purchase at area nurseries?

plant it when you can

Autumn is often recommended as the best time to plant trees, but you should plant when you can—ad ive the tree the best conditions conducive to its thriving. Plant in spring, and be sure that you water it adequately (read the label and other information here). The challenge with planting in spring is (among others) that summer comes and people forget about the new tree or figure it’ll take care of itself. It won’t; you need to help it, esp with water.

Hope this helps—

cherry trees in a riverfront park

Hi - We have received a donation of cherry trees (I don't know what kind) that might be planted
along the Hudson River in Peekskill, NY. My concern is the constant wind in this location. In winter and all seasons. Can these trees grow and develop under these conditions assuming they will be planted properly and fertilized and watered.

Thanks, K

Hi Kathleen,

Hi Kathleen,

If planted in a windy area, stake each cherry tree so it will grow straight.

Good luck!

stellar cherry trees

I want to purchase a dwarf stellar cherry tree. Will it grow in the US Virgin Islands? Can I grow it in a large container

The Dwarf Stellar Cherry Tree

The Dwarf Stellar Cherry Tree grows in Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.  Your zone would be more tropical and best suit tropical trees. That said, we’ve never grown this plant in the U.S. Virgin Islands so we would suggest you check with a local garden nursery! 

Small fruits from Rainier Trees

I had two Rainier trees for many years. I just learned 2 years ago that I need another type for cross pollination. I did that but the fruits from the two trees were too small although they have the color of Rainier cherries. The ph value of the soil was measured to be 6.5.
I would like to seek your advice to improve the size of the cherries.
Peter Liu

Cherry Choices

Hi, Peter: This is tough to answer without knowing what your cross-pollinator is and where you are, but certainly a pH of 6.5 should be fine. Do some research and make sure that you have a cross-pollinator that works well with Rainier (Bing is a good one). Make sure that you are pruning/trimming the trees (in late summer) such that you are encouraging one main trunk stock with fruiting branches coming off it, rather than allowing larger branches to develop. Mulch your trees with 1 inch of 50/50 garden compost and well-rotted manure, refreshing this each spring. The other thing is to fertilize your trees in late summer with 1 to 2 pounds per tree of 10-10-10 fertilizer scratched into the mulch and watered well. That’s it, though: Overfertilizing is as bad as under-. Good luck!

Use of Cherry Seeds to Plant

Dear reader, May I plant cherry seeds to grow the trees? How and when, may I ask? Thank you.

You can grow a cherry tree

You can grow a cherry tree from a pit however it will take 7 to 10 years to grow. Also, you can’t use the cherries from grocery stores because they are stored in a way that makes them unreliable. You need to go to a farmers market or use cherries from a tree growing in your area.

It’s really best to buy a 1-year-old tree from a fruit tree nursery for a good start. Grafting your seedling onto an already mature tree could also reduce the waiting time, but note that the seedling you grow will not be the same cherry as the “parent.” This is another reason why it’s better to research the variety of cherries that you like and then mail order a small tree. 

cherry tree

i got three barbados cherry trees potted in pots. all three plants bear flowers but do not produce fruits. can you tell me how to make them bear fruits

Pollination may be the

Pollination may be the problem. You need to make sure that the pots are in an area where insects can pollinate them. You can read more about caring for the cherry trees at


Cherry varieties

Have you ever heard of a Florence or Multi Cherry variety? I want their scientific names.


I need help on when to prune my Rainier cherry tree? I read in winter then I read if sweet end of summer is October to late or to early?

Hi Andrea,

Hi Andrea,

It’s best to prune the cherry tree when it is dormant, in the winter.

Hi I living in Newzeland and

I living in Newzeland and in Farnorth Pukenui
The weather is medium hot and running most of the time
but not very cold and snowing
Can I grow sweet cherry here

Hi, I live in Toronto, Canada

I live in Toronto, Canada - is late fall/early winter still the best time for me to plant my cherry tree or will it be too cold here? The temperatures hover around 0 degrees celsius or slightly above at that time. Also, what other trees do you recommend to cross-pollinate? I am starting with a fairly bare garden and don't have much growing yet.
Thank you!

You can plant the cherry tree

You can plant the cherry tree in the fall but don't wait for late fall. The tree needs to establish itself before the ground freezes. Sweet cherries usually need another cherry tree for pollination. Sour cherries are self-fruitful. A goo sour cherry is Montmorency. Some sweet varieties are Viva, Bing, Vogue, and Stella.
See the website below for more information.

i planted a rainier cherry

i planted a rainier cherry tree this spring i live in southern iowa and it was growing great about 18 inches so far then just overnite the leaves wilted and it looks like it is dying we have had a had alot of rain this year is there anything i can do to save it thank you in advance

Hi, Scott: Sorry to hear!

Hi, Scott: Sorry to hear! Rainiers can be rather fragile, particularly when it comes to the effects of too much water. If such is the case, there's not much to be done for now. But another possibility is some sort of disease such as Virticillium wilt, so just to be on the safe side, try applying an organic fungicide. Good luck!

Im from Philippines and i

Im from Philippines and i love cherries. Im planning to plant cherries in my country does it grow their.

My cherry trees

Jen, am from baguio city. Unintentionally, i brought home seeds of sweet cherry trees from abroad. Thought, it wouldnt grow but it did. It is already 2 years old now, looks healthy. i wish it will bear fruits in the future. if u want to see a photo of it, my number is 09307801298.

Will cherry grow in North

Will cherry grow in North Texas?? If so, what kind??

Cherry trees are not produced

Cherry trees are not produced commercially in Texas and, generally, do not fare well in home gardens. Some folks have had success with a cultivar of sour cherries (Prunus cerasus) called Montmorency. You'd plant in January/February.

Sick sour cherry tree

Sick sour cherry tree questions!
I have spent a week trying to find a few things out about sick cherry trees. I have a friend who said I can come pick her cherries- sour and she doesn't like them. Then she told me how a tree is sick- I did some research and it defiantly is bacterial canker. Then I noticed the other trees all bare the signs of infection as well. The fruits all have tell-tell signs of it and limbs are looking sick. She has one tree they cut down because they thought it was struck by lightening and looked sick. My questions are - we ate some of the fruit, will we get sick? I noticed a bad burning in my stomach every time and now they are sitting in my fridge. Can I compost them? And can I use the seeds to plant my own trees? They have dozens of upstarts all around the trees, would it be ok for me to dig a few up and give it a go at transplanting? Thank you!! I have spent so much time reading and can not find anything on these questions!

Bacterial canker ususally

Bacterial canker ususally affects young trees. You should destroy the tree and not attempt to salvage any shoots/suckers; the problem is systematic—probably througout it. Our advice would be to discard the fruit in the trash and do not eat any more. We don't know if it made you sick, or the thought of the possibility made you feel ill, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Remember: the problem is systematic, so in all parts of the tree.

I live in Houston Texas my

I live in Houston Texas my grand daughter is now living with me an I bought Cherry's at the store now she wants to plant the seeds when is the best time to plant the seeds/pits Its almost July here .... HELP I want to do this for her as she's 5 I love to garden but have never done trees from seeds or pits thanks

Well, that's ambitious!

Well, that's ambitious! Here's some advice from the FLorida Extension (not Texas, no, but not far): Cherry, Peach, and Plum (Prunus species) - Harvest fruit when full mature. Remove the seed. Seed may be sown in the fall or stratified seed may be planted in the spring. Stratify the seeds at 33 to 41 F. The sour cherry (Prunus cerasus) requires 90 to 150 days, the peach (Prunus persica) 98 to 105 days, and European plum (Prunus domestica) 90 days. Seed of plums and peaches should be planted 2 inches deep. Sow the seed of sour cherry at a depth of 1/2 inch. (Like the apples and crabapples, the seed of most cultivated cherries, plums, and peaches will not reproduce true from seed.)
Other fun—and easier—things to grow: Carrot tops: slice off the top, put it into a shallw plate of water (enough to keep its bottom/base wet), and watch for greens to sprout. Or grow lettuce: you'll need seed and seed-starting soil ("dirt" is too heavy), but the germination time is fast and the leaves are edible in days. Or try the avocado seed trick: clean the seed, stick toothicks into the sides and suspend the seed on the picks on the edge of a drinking glass, filled with enough water to wet the bottom 1//3 to 1/2. The seed should sprout from the top. You won't have an avocada tree for years. . . and the same for the cherry.
Have fun—

I have a cherry tree in my

I have a cherry tree in my yard in north carolina. I'm not sure which type it is, because it was here when we bought our house. I produces a lot of very small, hard cherries that the birds won't even touch. A lot of people have said there are some cherries that are just not edible, but I don't think that's true. Can I get this tree to produce edible fruit?

Hi, I live in Cairns,

I live in Cairns, Australia and have a bunch of cherry stones to hand - I was wondering how to grow a tree from these? Do I have to dry them or extract a seed from inside the stone? I know that cherries need the cold dormant period, but was wondering anyway.
Thanks for your help!

i have two cherry plants 5/6

i have two cherry plants 5/6 year old. since last year we get some fruits.this year there was very much flowering.but all flowers fall down.i live at pune, temp is it caused by over watering? is it necessary to reduce water at flowering stage? pl advice.

I now live in zone 4 Western

I now live in zone 4 Western Wisconsin and 2 wild cherries are on the acreage, on either side if the yard. Neither have set cherries and must be 10 years old. We have beekeeper in the area. I did buy 2 cross-pollinating cherry trees last fall and wonder if I can so anything to produce fruit on the wild trees, or just enjoy them for beauty? Thank you.

We're not sure what type of

We're not sure what type of wild cherry tree you have, but they generally bloom at a different times than the other cherry trees so I'm not sure they'd cross-pollinate since they bloom times don't overlap.
Do you have bees on the wild cherry trees?  Because the wild cherries bloom early and honey bees will not forage below 15°C or in windy or damp conditions, fruit set can definitely suffer. You need the bees.
Birds and pollinators do love wild cherry trees so the trees are still working hard for your garden even if they don't fruit well.

Good luck with your cherry

Good luck with your cherry trees. I was wondering what type of cherry trees you have that cross pollinate and do well in zone 4. I live on the edge of zone 4/5 and have been searching for two sweet cherry trees that will cross pollinate and are also cold hardy. I will purchase a Van tree late next winter but have not found a compatible partner for zone 4 yet. Thanks. all the best with your gardening.

Hi, I brought two rainier

Hi, I brought two rainier cherry trees on line because I live in Puerto Rico and cannot get them here. I did not know that rainier cherry trees need another cherry tree to pollinate them. I hope you can suggest some, also I brought a bing cherry but it died I live in a zone 11. I hope you'll be able to give me some sound advice. Thank You

Hi Luz, Rainier cherries grow

Hi Luz,
Rainier cherries grow best in cool climates and need a cold dormant period to produce well. Not sure how your trees are going to do in Puerto Rico. A few good pollinators for the Rainier cherry are Bing, Craig's Crimson, Black Tartarian, and Lapins.

I bought some bare root

I bought some bare root cherry plants.. Can't remember what kind.. When they shipped them to me it was in one bunch and roots were all kinda twisted together. I didn't realize until late that it wasn't one actual plat that it was really 6 of them. I planted them all in the same hole that I dug up. It's been about a month now it it's finally started to get some green leaves on it. It actually had just looked like a dead bare tree at first.. But my question is. Is it ok that they are planted all in the same hole or should I dig it up and separate each one and re-plant them?

Hi, Ann: At this stage,

Hi, Ann: At this stage, digging them up might be a little dicey, but not any more so than leaving them as is, which would mean for sure either that some or one would outcompete the others or that you would have a pruning nightmare to keep them all healthy -- or both. Sometimes it's possible to go with 3 or 4 different varieties of the same fruit in the same hole, which facilitates cross-pollination, but 6 of the same type is trouble on a number of levels. We would carefully replant. Good luck!

I have a van cherry tree. Is

I have a van cherry tree. Is it self pollinating or do I need another cherry tree? Any kind?

A Van cherry tree is

A Van cherry tree is self-sterile and needs a pollination partner nearby. Stella or Lapins are popular choices.

We have a dwarf bing (2 yrs

We have a dwarf bing (2 yrs old) and black tartarian (3 yrs old) in our back yard. Last year the bing had a pretty substantial aphid infestation, with the curled/wilted leaves. I'd like to plant companion plants beneath to help deter the same thing from happening this year, and to reduce the need for pesticides. I've seen nasturtiums mentioned, as well as marigolds. Any other options out there?

We are on the west side of the Salt Lake valley.

Thank you!

Calendula, borage, zinnias,

Calendula, borage, zinnias, and cosmos are good choices. Sweet alyssum will attract hoverflies, which eat aphids. 
Another option to control aphids in fruit trees is to spray with insecticidal soap or with horticultural oil.

I have a self pollinating

I have a self pollinating Lapin Cherry and have just purchased a non-self pollinating Bing. Can the self pollinating Lapin pollinate the Bing tree? I am sorry if this is a stupid question. I am a rookie. They are about 20 feet apart.

Yes,  Lapins are suitable for

Yes,  Lapins are suitable for Bing cherry tree pollinization. They have overlapping bloom times. Your trees are plenty close enough.

We have a black tartain and a

We have a black tartain and a SD Meteor. Will they pollinate?

What pesticides should I

What pesticides should I spray sour cherries with in MN? Thanks.

I forgot to ask what

I forgot to ask what fertilizer I should use, as well. Thanks.

Here's a growing page on

Here's a growing page on stone fruits including tart cherries from your Minnesota cooperative:

I live in Southeast Texas and

I live in Southeast Texas and we had an aphid problem. After doing a little research, we used Neems Oil. You mix it with water and spray it on the affected plants every 7 - 14 days, depending on the severity of the problem, until the threat is gone. It works well on roses too. It helps Remove and prevent white powder mildew, black spots, aphids and a variety of other issues.

Hi I purchased a house a few

Hi I purchased a house a few years ago and it has some cherry trees on it. They seemed to big so I cut them back some but they have since grown bigger! I have four sour Ballaton's and two sweet a Sam and a Van from the list the prior owner left us. Some of these sites get confusing with wether to prune or not to prune. I thought the trees were dwarfs but I think I guessed wrong, because they are about 15-20 feet high. Won't the Extreem hight cut down on the amount and size of the cherries due to the tree expending all of its resources try to grow? Should I prune? How? How big should I let them get?

Hi Chris, Yes it is important

Hi Chris,
Yes it is important to prune cherry trees to promote blossoms and fruit setting. Please see link below for helpful pruning advice.

I bought a cherry fruit..I

I bought a cherry fruit..I kept the seeds and am planning to plant the question is does cherries grows in the tropical place like the the am from the Philippines

Last year I planted a Bing

Last year I planted a Bing Cherry, and had purchased a known pollinator (Stella) at the same time. However, the Stella died, and know I need a replacement pollinator. Will Prunus Serotina (Black Cherry) pollinate a Bing?

Several cultivars with

Several cultivars with overlapping bloom times are good for Bing pollinization including Rainier, Montmorency, Lapins, Stella, Black Tartarian, Black Republican, Van, Sam and Windsor.

I had deer do a number on my

I had deer do a number on my new cherry tree.:( but I need to move it so won't happen agian so should I do it in fall or wait till spring? I live in West Michigan. Thanks

It's really just new trees

It's really just new trees that suffer. You can protect the tree with a circular fence until it gets strong enough to withstand some browsing. You can also spray an egg-based repellent. If you transplant it, the best time is usually spring (March). 

I planted a dwarf montmorency

I planted a dwarf montmorency about a month ago.its Oct 2 ,and its blooming,we live in kc and the temps are going down into the 30s.. What do I need to do?

Hi John, The montmorency

Hi John,
The montmorency cherry usually blooms in spring and you harvest the cherries in midsummer. Your tree has probably spent the spring and summer in a nursery and is a bit confused. The blooms on the tree are not going to be able to produce any cherries with the cold weather moving in and less daylight. Hopefully it will bloom again in the spring.

When is the best time to cut

When is the best time to cut back a cherry tree that the top has died but the bottom is healthy a full of cherries. I'm not sure what kind but the are a little tart.

Best time to prune a cherry

Best time to prune a cherry trees is before it begins growing in the spring. Cut the tree while it is dormant in late winter to early spring. Dead or diseased branches can be pruned anytime.

Can cherries be grown in the

Can cherries be grown in the Panhandle of Florida (Panama City)???

Cindy, There are some cherry

Cindy, There are some cherry trees that can grow in Panama City, FL, with the right care. Your zone is 8B. Search online nurseries by your zone. Here is an example of several cherry varieties that can grow in your zone:
We hope that this is helpful.

I have a very large flowering

I have a very large flowering tree in my front yard in noth west B.C. In the past 3 to 4 years, I have started getting fruit. Each year the berries get larger, darker & sweeter (though still a bit tart). They taste like cherries & look like a bing cherry but about 1/2 the size, with small pits. My question, 1. What might the variety be? 2. Can I do anything with the fruit?

It would be hard to identify

It would be hard to identify the tree, and especially the variety, without a sample--there are lots of cherry species and cultivars, as well as cherry lookalikes. We'd suggest that you take a sample (flower or fruit, and a branch with some leaves showing how they are arranged on the branch) to your local garden nursery. A horticulturist there might be able to give you some advice. Good luck!

hello i have a wild cherry

hello i have a wild cherry tree which i planted in january it was growing really well then the last couple of weeks the leaves have all withered and dried out ive watered it can anyone tell me what im doing wrong thank you

Has it gotten enough water?

Has it gotten enough water? Be sure to water deeply. Was there a heat wave recently? The tree is clearly under some type of stress, whether from weather, pests, disease, or cultural or physical damage, such as to the base of the trunk when mowing (which sometimes happens). Check the root zone--has there been any disturbance recently? If watering doesn't work, and the trunk and branches don't appear damaged, and the root zone is undisturbed, it might be a disease--several cause wilting/drying leaves in cherries, unfortunately. In this case, you might want to prune out infected branches (unless too widespread) to see if this prevents it from overtaking the entire tree.

We have purchased "cereza"

We have purchased "cereza" Cherry trees. We have both full sun and shady areas and both wed and well drained soil. Altitude is about 4K ft ASL and temp only varies from 65 to 80 degrees F. lease advise.

Do you mean Barbados cherry

Do you mean Barbados cherry trees (Malpighia glabra, aka M. punicifolia)? If so, you might be interested in the following growing information:
In general, choose a site in full sun to partial shade (full sun is better for fruiting) with fertile, well-drained soil. It is hardy in USDA Zones 9 to 11.

we have purchased "cereza"

we have purchased "cereza" cherry trees. Our altitude is about 4K ft. We have a variety of locations waring from full sun to shady and wet to well drained. Temp varies between 60 to 75 degrees F. Please advise.


Hi Susan, Cherry trees can

Hi Susan,
Cherry trees can take a long time to bloom. If the tree looks healthy you may have flowers next year. Check your variety and make sure that it is self pollinating. If not you need to plant a different variety for pollination.

ive had my dwarf cherry tree

ive had my dwarf cherry tree over 3 years and still had no fruit it looks healthy so what am i doing wrong

What type of cherry tree is

What type of cherry tree is it? Some cherry trees need a second cherry tree of a different type to produce cherries. Some cherry trees are self pollinating and don't need a second tree for example a Stella cherry tree is self-pollinating.