How to Successfully Plant a Kwanzan Cherry Tree

One of the most popular flowering cherry trees, the Kwanzan Cherry Tree (Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’), is known and valued for its large double blossoms that appear in early spring. A native of Japan, this deciduous tree grows best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. 

Kwanzan Cherry trees are relatively easy to grow and maintain, making them a good choice for those new to tree planting and cultivation. Here are some tips on successfully planting and caring for your Kwanzan Cherry Blossom tree.

How to Plant a Kwanzan Cherry Tree

How To Successfully Plant a Kwanzan Cherry Tree

One of the most common mistakes to avoid when designing a Japanese garden is to overlook the importance of choosing the right tree. 

Yes, there are many beautiful Japanese cherry blossom trees to choose from, but not all of them will be well-suited to your climate and soil conditions.

The Kwanzan Cherry tree is a good choice for those living in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8, as it is relatively tolerant of cold and heat. When selecting a planting site, choose an area with full sun and well-drained soil. Avoid sites prone to flooding or standing water, as the Kwanzan Cherry tree does not tolerate soggy conditions.

To plant your Kwanzan Cherry tree, first, dig a hole twice the width of the Cherry tree’s root ball but no deeper. Loosen the roots gently with your hands and spread them out in the hole. Fill the gap with soil and tamp it lightly as you go to remove air pockets. Water the tree deeply immediately after planting.

If you’re starting with a seed, then you can follow the steps below.

What you’ll need:

  • A location that gets full sun and has well-drained soil
  • Kwanzan Cherry tree seeds
  • A pot or container
  • Potting soil
  • Water

1. Start by finding a location for your tree that gets full sun. Cherry blossom trees need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

2. Once you have found a spot, prepare the soil by loosening it up and making sure it drains well. If the soil is too dense, the tree’s roots will not be able to breathe and the tree will not be able to grow properly.

3. Next, it’s time to plant your seeds. You can do this by either planting them directly in the ground or in a pot or container. If you are planting them in a pot, make sure to use potting soil and not garden soil.

4. Once your seeds are planted, water them well. Cherry blossom trees need to be kept moist, but not soggy.

5. Be patient and wait for your tree to grow! It can take several years for a cherry blossom tree to reach its full potential. But once it does, you will be rewarded with beautiful blossoms each spring.

When to Plant Kwanzan Cherry Tree

The best time to plant your Kwanzan Cherry tree is in the spring, after the last frost date for your area. It will allow the tree to become established before the hot summer months. 

You can also plant in the fall if you give the tree enough time to become established before the first frost date.

How Big Does a Kwanzan Cherry Tree Get?

kwanzan cherry tree Prunus serrulata
A healthy Kwanzan Cherry can grow 12 to 24 inches. Photo by Myrabella

A healthy Kwanzan Cherry can grow 12 to 24 inches annually. Therefore, in a span of 5 to 7 years, the tree will already be blooming. 

The flowering Kwanzan Cherry tree size grows 20 to 30 feet tall and wide at maturity. Typically, the tree takes about 10 years to reach its full extent. However, the growth rate will start slowing down after reaching this height.

You can expect your Kwanzan Cherry tree to live for around 25 to 30 years. But it is not uncommon for the tree to live longer, with some specimens reaching 50 years or more.

How Long Does Its Blossoms Last?

The Kwanzan Cherry Blossom tree is one of the longest-flowering cherries, with its blooms lasting up to three weeks. The flowers appear in early spring, typically in late April or early May.

The double blossoms are deep pink in color, with some petals having a white edge. 

They are borne on 2 to 3-inch long stems and appear in clusters of 5 to 7 flowers. The flowers have a light, sweet fragrance most detectable in the early morning or evening.

When to Prune Kwanzan Cherry Tree

The Kwanzan Cherry tree blooms on last year’s wood. For this reason, it is essential to prune the tree after it has finished flowering. Pruning in late spring or early summer will help ensure that the tree has enough time to develop new growth that will bloom the following spring.

To prune your Kwanzan Cherry tree, start by removing any dead, diseased, or damaged wood. Cut these branches back to the point of healthy growth. Next, thin out the canopy to increase air circulation and sunlight penetration. Finally, remove any crossing or rubbing branches.

Caring for Your Kwanzan Cherry

A Kwanzan flowering cherry tree is a low-maintenance plant and is relatively easy to care for. It is drought-tolerant once established and does not require much fertilization. But to keep your tree healthy and look its best, you can do a few things.


Your Kwanzan Cherry tree will need regular watering during its first growing season. Water deeply and thoroughly, soaking the root zone. Once established, you don’t need to water as often. The tree can withstand periods of drought. 

However, during extended periods of hot, dry weather, you may need to water more frequently to prevent the leaves from wilting.


There’s no need to fertilize your Kwanzan Cherry tree unless it’s not growing well. If you decide to fertilize, do so in the spring before new growth begins. Use a balanced fertilizer formulated for trees and shrubs. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on how much and how often to apply.

Pests and Diseases

The Kwanzan Cherry tree is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can be susceptible to aphids, scale, and Japanese beetles. These pests can cause damage to the foliage and flowers. If you notice any problems, you can treat them with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

The Kwanzan Cherry tree is susceptible to a few diseases, including brown rot, powdery mildew, and root rot. These diseases are typically due to too much moisture. 

To prevent them, ensure your tree has well-drained soil and only water it when necessary. If you notice any problems, treat them with the appropriate fungicide.

Is Kwanzan Cherry Tree Pet-friendly?

The Kwanzan Cherry tree is not considered to be toxic to pets. You can feel at home in your garden, safe knowing that your pet is not at risk from this beautiful tree. However, the flower buds and seeds are slightly poisonous if ingested. 

Symptoms of toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has eaten any part of the Kwanzan Cherry tree.

With proper care and attention, your Kwanzan Cherry tree will thrive and provide you with years of enjoyment. These tips on planting, pruning, and caring for your Kwanzan Cherry Blossom tree will help ensure that it remains healthy and blooms beautifully year after year. 

So don’t wait any longer; get out there and plant a Kwanzan Cherry tree today.

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