Tree Profiles: Weeping Cherry Cultivars, Part 3
This is the third and final ukpart of a series on weeping cherry cultivars.
Weeping cherry is an ornamental tree that is widely celebrated for its elegant weeping habit, and delicate, festooning blooms. Numerous cultivars have been derived from weeping cherry, each exhibiting unique characteristics that differentiate it from the parent species. The following examines some of the most notable cultivars available for purchase in garden centers and nurseries, including ‘Shidare Yoshino’, ‘Snow Fountain’, ‘Ukon’, and ‘Weeping Extraordinaire’.
‘Shidare Yoshino’, also called ‘Fugen-Shidare’, ‘Pendula’, Potomac cherry, ‘Sendai-Shidare’, Tokyo cherry, Weeping Yoshino Cherry, ‘Yamazakura-Shidare’, and Yoshino cherry, is a small to medium sized ornamental tree that grows 20 to 25 feet in height, and 20 to 30 feet wide. It has a medium to fast growth rate, and a broadly weeping habit. Its pendulous branches are covered with clusters of single white to pale pink flowers in spring. As the flowers pass, they are followed by small, dark fruit that is favored by birds. In spring, dark green leaves emerge. The leaves remain dark green into summer. By fall, they turn bronze and gold tones, before being shed. ‘Shidare Yoshino’ grows best when planted in moist, well drained soil. It requires full sunlight.
‘Snow Fountain’, sometimes referred to as ‘Snowfozan’ or ‘White Fountain’, is a small, compact tree that reaches heights of 8 to 15 feet, with a 6 to 12 foot spread. It grows at a slow to moderate rate, and has a broadly weeping habit. In spring, the pendulous branches are covered with a profusion of attractive, snow-white flowers. These are followed by the appearance of inedible red-black fruit. Birds favor the fruit, and are often attracted to this cultivar. In spring, lush, dark green leaves emerge. The leaves remain green until fall, when they turn brilliant shades of orange and red. ‘Snow Fountain’ is notable for being disease and insect resistant. However, it is intolerant of drought conditions, and can easily incur heat-related damage. ‘Snow Fountain’ should be watered more frequently during extended periods of drought. ‘Snow Fountain’ should be planted in sites exposed to full sun.
‘Ukon’ is a small to medium sized ornamental tree, growing 15 to 30 feet in height and width. It develops at an average rate, and has an upward, spreading growth habit. In spring, ‘Ukon’ produces distinct semi-double, cream colored blooms that are tinged with green, and marked in the center with pink. These blanket the arching branches, providing a striking floral display. The flowers are larger than those formed by many other weeping cherry varieties. By late spring, reddish-bronze leaves appear on the branches. These mature to red-brown, before transitioning to a maroon tone in fall.
‘Weeping Extraordinaire’ is small ornamental tree that reaches heights of 15 to 20 feet, with an equal spread. It has a moderate growth rate, and a broadly weeping habit. In spring, clusters of fluffy, pale pink flowers form on the branches. These may be followed by small, inedible red-black fruit in summer. Birds are partial to the fruit, and can often be observed communing in the crown of ‘Weeping Extraordinaire’. Newly emerging foliage is shiny and has a bronze tone. The leaves mature to a glossy, deep green color, before turning orange and yellow in fall. ‘Weeping Extraordinaire’ has dark red bark, a characteristic trait that distinguishes it from other varieties. This variety should only be grown in full sunlight.
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Photo courtesy of Helen Gordon