Cherry Trees in Los Angeles

I have always heard that cherry trees cannot grow in Southern California since the winters are not cold enough for them to have a dormant stage. I don’t care about fruit, but I would love a flowering cherry tree (a fruit one would be an added bonus) so to Doper horticulturists out there - are there any cheery cherry trees I can get?

Los Angeles is generally zone 9/10. Here are some choices I was able to google up without much effort:

Okame Cherry

Kwansan Flowering Cherry Tree

Akebono Cherry

Raintree Nursery has a whole slew of zone 9 cherries.

You might try calling The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden and asking them if they can recommend a variety or a local nursery.

That used to be true, but just within the last 10 years two new low-chill varieties have become commercially available that can produce in warmer climates. These are Royal Lee and Royal Minnie Lee, you need both to pollinize each other, but Royal Lee has a bigger fruit size, the cherries on Royal Minnie are probably a little smaller than the ones you are accustomed to eating. Also, in the early years Royal Minnie begins blossoming sooner than Royal Lee, so there can be pollination issues until the trees become more mature. I know of at least two people who have had success with Royal Lee/Minnie Lee growing South of Los Angeles and got a decent crop of cherries after only four years. Cherry trees supposedly like full sun but I find that in this climate they do much better with just a little bit of partial shade, because the sun can really scorch them in the summer.

Brooks and Stella are considered medium-chill varieties of cherry and can also be grown south of Los Angeles, from what I have heard, but their fruit production will be much lower without getting fully adequate chill, and will be on-and-off in some years (every second or third year the tree will not produce fruit). It also takes 7-12 years for a tree to become fully mature and become very fruitful, especially when there is inadequate chill. Growing on dwarf rootstock can speed the proclivity for fruit much sooner, if you don’t have the patience, but I would not recommend it.

If your trees are in pot containers, move them into the shade during Winter because even just a few warm winter days can really detract from the chill accumulation the tree experiences when your climate is below the number of chill hours the tree variety is rated for.

There is the Formosan cherry (Prunus campanulata), also called Taiwan cherry, and called kanhizakura in Japan. Several hybrids of kanhizakura with other Japanese flowering cherries exist: kanzakura, okame, and youkouzakura being the three most prominent. The Formasan cherry is remarkable for being the only flowering cherry not originally native to Japan, and its ability to thrive in the Southernmost part of Japan where there is very little chill.

‘Pink Cloud’ is another low-chill flowering cherry that was more recently developed. Pink Cloud was very likely derived from the Formosan cherry; although Huntington Gardens claims it originated by chance on their grounds from a white-flowered serrulata variety, there have also long been Formosan cherries growing on their grounds too, so cross-pollination could have been possible.

I don’t think any of these lower chill flowering cherry varieties have as attractive blossoms as the regular cherry blossom trees though, but that’s just my opinion.

Lake Balboa Park in Van Nuys is known for it’s flowering cherry trees. Featured on their home page.

Phone: (818) 756-9743

i’m sure they would be happy to tell you which variety they have.

Just think … If the OP had planted those trees back in 2007 when he needed advice they’d be huge by now; HUGE I tell’s ya. :slight_smile:

Zach29 thanks for the update and good info. It’s always nice to hear from an expert. The person who asked this question almost 9 years ago is still around. I’ve just paged him to stop by. Perhaps we’ll find out what trees he did plant.

Except I couldn’t enjoy them. I’m three moves away from LA.

ETA: Wow! Nice to know how noticable I am LSLguy. I post 2-3 times a day. lol

I have had a cherry tree in my yard that has flowered and borne fruit for the last 30 some odd years. Granted, I’m a bit higher than LA proper, but the lack of chill hasn’t seemed to bother the tree any.

silenus, where that cherry tree is growing, is it at a higher elevation, further inland? Or located at the base of a valley? About how far from the coast is it exactly? There are a few spots northeast of LA with microclimates where people have been able to get cherry trees to fruit, i have been told. I suspect you may live in one of these spots were the cherries will be able to get more winter cold.

The New Sunset Western Garden Book lists the following flowering cherries that should do well in the Los Angeles area:

Prunus campanulata (Taiwan Flowering Cherry)

P. “Dream Catcher”

P. “Okame”

P.s. “Pink Flair”

The book says that P. campanulata produces red fruit about a half an inch long. I don’t know whether it will do this in Los Angeles, though.

You might also consider flowering plum trees. Some of these can be quite attractive.

I’m sorry, correction to post #3: I meant Lapins, not Stella

silenus, we’re still waiting for information about where your cherry tree is.
Just give me the address of someone in the neighborhood 2 streets down.