Belonging to the Prunus genus, Cherry plants are best known for their beautiful and edible fruits. Native to the Northern Hemisphere, these plants are now grown almost everywhere. Around 10 to 12 species of the cherry plant have already been recognized in parts of North America and almost the same number of plants are now known in European regions. The biggest and probably the highest concentration of these plants are, however, found in parts of Eastern Asia.
Today, Cherry plants are commercially produced for their fruits that are usually available in frozen and canned form. Often used in sauces, these fruits can also be consumed raw. As of now, you will find three popular kinds of cherries that are primarily cultivated for their fruits. These include the sweet, sour, and duke cherries. While both the sweet and sour cherries are grown at a larger scale, duke cherries (that are often a cross of the sweet and sour variants) are cultivated to a lesser extent. Let’s look at the 13 most common types of cherry trees.
13 Most Common Types of Cherry Trees
1. Sweet Cherry Tree
As you’d probably guess from the name, Sweet Cherries produce incredibly delectable cherries that may be best consumed as fresh fruit. Unlike other common variants of cherries that are often eaten as jams or pies, sweet cherries are best consumed raw. You will find multiple variants of these trees, with heights ranging from 18 feet to 35 feet.
Sweet cherry trees take the natural shape of the pyramid and they are primarily grown as small and medium trees. Interestingly, in some instances, you can train the sweet cherry tree to fan out against a large wall or a fence.
The Sweet Cherry Trees are deciduous in nature, with their deep and beautiful green leaves developing during the spring months. By fall, the same leaves take bronze and golden hue. The Sweet cherry tree is known to bloom early during the spring months with their exceptionally fragrant, white flowers. They tend to bloom in tiny clusters with long branches, making way for beautiful clumps of bright, sweet cherries.
Usually, the size, structure, and hue of the sweet cherry fruit tend to vary depending on the type of specie. For instance, Stella Sweet cherry is known to produce the largest amount of fruits donning a deep and perfectly red color. The Black Tartarian specie on the other hand, produces fruits of similar size, but with a unique orangish-red hue. Thanks to hue, the cherries from these species appear more like tiny tomatoes than actual cherries in general.
Other variants like the Lapins, for instance, are self-pollinating. Due to this reason, you can plant them as single specimens and still expect hefty produce. Other species like Bing need to be cross-pollinated where you need to plant several species of the Bing species nearby so that the tree can produce a wide range of sweet fruits.
While there isn’t any specific growing condition for the sweet cherry trees, they tend to thrive better in full sun with a well-draining and completely fertile soil. While adding the soil, you also have to ensure that it is consistently moist. Almost all variants of sweet cherries require extensive rounds of low temperature during the colder months to produce flowering buds.
For best results, you should ensure that your sweet cherry tree gets a minimum of 700 hours of cold temperature where the temperature is around or lower than 45 degrees F.
2. Vandalay Cherry Tree
This is yet another popular variant of cherry tree that was known to be developed from cross-pollination between the Van and Stella variants of the tree. The Vandalay cherry tree was first created during the late nineties by Doctor Ghassem Tehrani. He named the tree after one of his favorite colleagues in the Horticultural Institute of Research, Ontario.
The Vandalay Cherries are known for producing fruits with a deep reddish hue on the exteriors and the wine-red colored flesh. They resemble kidneys and are deemed highly attractive. These cherries are also incredibly sweet and delicious. You can either eat them directly from the tree or extract the pulp for sweetmeats and pastries.
While the Vandalay cherries do not have any specific growing criteria and are fairly easy to maintain, you will need to have a clear idea about their required cold hardiness zones, if you plan to cultivate them. For the uninitiated, Vandalay cherries thrive best in US hardiness zones ranging from 5 to 9. So, if you are a gardener living in these zones, you might as well want to add this to your home orchard.
The cherries will start ripening by mid-July like other sweet cherry variants. Also note that while the Vandalay cherry is commonly known to be a self-pollinator, you are likely to get larger harvests if you cross it with a pollinator. For cross-pollination, you can use multiple variants like Bing, Stella, Napoleon, and others.
3. Benton Cherry Tree
This is yet another excellent variant for cherry fanatics across the globe. Benton’s bear massive fruits with bright reddish hues that tend to ripen slightly earlier when compared to Bing cherries. Unlike many other sweet cherry variants, the Benton cherry is also known to serve as a solid shield against multiple ailments which in turn boosts its overall health.
The variety is believed to be developed during the trials conducted at the Washington State University Prosser Research Center. During the trials, the Stella and Beaulieu cherries were crossed to create the Benton cherry.
While Stelle gives its perfectly sweet flavor to the Benton, the Beaulieu lends it an early maturity. The tree can grow fairly large with branches spreading in an upright direction. The leaves are shaped like lances with relatively notched edges. The skin of these cherries are bright red and their flesh is pinkish red with semi-freestones. While the fruit is known to ripen mid-season, it is still a couple of weeks before the Bing starts ripening.
4. Black Tartarian Cherry Tree
Black Tartarian is a solid, large cherry plant that produces sweet and incredibly delicious cherries. The plant originates in Russia and it was introduced in both the US and parts of England in the late 1700s.
At one point, the Black Tartarian was known as the Large Black Heart owing to the shape and structure of the fruit, which is extremely deep, large and features a dark reddish hue. Black Tartarian is extremely popular among home gardeners because they abundantly produce sweet and pretty fruits.
The plant bears fruits in the summer months and during this time, your entire garden will be transformed by the tree’s sweet aroma. This species of cherry can adapt to multiple types of soil and also withstand drought better than its counterparts. The best part: it is extremely easy to grow even when you cultivating cherries for the first time.
5. Tibetian Cherry Tree
As you’d probably guess from the name, this cherry is native to parts of Tibet. It is a small and fairly deciduous plant with a perfectly round structure. In some instances, you can also grow it as a beautiful shrub. The tree is known for its unique and strikingly beautiful bark which is glossy with a hue of copper.
This cherry is also extremely shiny and appears like threads of silk hanging from a massive tree. You can witness the foliage and the fruits in the spring months. In winter months, however, the Tibetian Cherry prefers assuming an ornamental role.
6. Van Cherry Tree
Sweet, firm, and extremely juicy, this is yet another variant of cherry that is both delicious and beautiful. While many prefer it eating raw, Van cherries are best when you team them up in your cooked meals and desserts. Most commercial growers also use these cherries for preparing jams, sorbets, and a range of sauces.
If you’re planning to grow this plant at home, consider doing so in the fall or spring months. The cherry needs proper and well-drained soil in addition to complete sunlight. While planting the saplings, make sure they stand a distance of 15 to 18 feet.
7. Lapins Cherry Tree
Developed by crossing the Van and Stella cherry, this is yet another popular cherry from the British Columbian region. The Lapins Cherry Tree is known to come up with beautiful, sweet, and dark fruits that almost resemble Bing cherries. They have a diameter of around 2.5 centimeters and their flesh tends to be firmer than Bing.
If you are cultivating this cherry at home, expect a round of harvest during late summer and spring. In winters, these cherries need around 800 to 900 hours to chill which works best in hardiness zones 5 to 9.
8. Yoshino Cherry Tree
Yoshino is a type of Hybrid cherry tree that was created by crossing two species of cherry trees. Originating in Japan, these trees are known for their beautiful fruits and upright branches. The Yoshino cherry is deciduous in nature and their flowers emerge even before the foliage completely arrives. Flowers of the Yoshino may be either white or light pink with single or double clumps. These trees thrive best in US hardiness zones ranging from 5 to 8.
9. Sargent’s Cherry Tree
This is yet another deciduous tree that is known for its upright and almost rounded structure. The Sargent’s Cherry appears like an umbrella when in the wild and it produces stunning clumps of flowers in early spring. Over time, the flowers make way for dark purplish fruits, that may seem sour to the human taste buds.
10. Japanese Cherry Tree
Popularly known as flowering cherries, the Japanese cherry is best known for its stunning display of blooms. The flowers are available in multiple shades of pink, violet, and white during late summer and spring months, with multiple clumps of flowers almost covering the branches. The leaves are decorative and beautiful. They are usually light green in the summer months before finally assuming stunning shades of pink orange and red. While growing this plant, make sure it receives plenty of sunlight and the soil is moist and consistently well-drained.
11. Sweetheart Cherry Tree
Maturing in late fall with beautiful fruits, the Sweetheart cherry is perhaps best known for its fruit. The tree is known to be an excellent fruiter, bearing red, succulent, and incredibly delicious cherries. When growing at home, you need to prune them from time to time to avoid invasion. Also, consider keeping the soil moist as they tend to do better in loamy and well-draining soils.
12. Higan Cherry Tree
This is an ornamental and deciduous cherry tree, known for its beautiful flowers, dense foliage, and unique shape. The tree appears upright almost rounded with a set of arched branches. Higans are known to bloom during late fall with clusters of flowers covering its branches. Higans require moist soil and thrive best in US zones 6 to 8.
13. Attika Cherries Tree
Originating in the Czech Republic, these cherry trees were introduced to the US in the late 1800s. They bloom in late spring and thrive best in hardiness zones 5 to 7. If you are planning to grow this plant at home, make sure it gets ample sunlight and moist soil. When in favorable conditions, the Attika Cherries can assume a height of up to 14 feet.
Well, these were some of the most common variants of cherries there is. Since most of them can be easily cultivated at home, wait no further and make your pick, to cultivate cherries and consume them as and when you want to!