Monday, May 05, 2008

Flowering Cherries, Prunus 'Kwanzan'

The petals of the flowering 'Kwanzan' cherries are rapidly falling with warmer weather settling in so I decided to post this before it is too far out of season. So many things are blooming now, I'm falling behind.

Yesterday it looked like light pink snow falling when the wind picked up a bit. The pictures were taken about a week ago. They are of the purple leaf mutation 'Kwanzan' and the normal one. I thought the purple leafed 'Kwanzan' was so lovely, we bought two to grace the front of the house. They seem to be less robust than the normal one and because of that much more graceful.

Purple leaf mutation of the 'Kwanzan' flowering cherry.

Normal 'Kwanzan' cherry.


Blogger Julie said...

At first glance, my thought was that mine was older than yours. But the second picture show me that they are about the same size.

They don't appear to be a vigorous as the Kwanzaa cherry, but yes, they are definitely more beautiful and are just as florifious. But then, if you think about it, mine is planted where it gets the full force of the gale winds I get on this mountain. My neighbor has a Kwanzaa that gets less wind, sheltered by my Leylands. Hers has been pushed almost sideways whereas my Purple one is still straight. This lends me to believe that the Purple is more sturdy and just a slower grower.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

The purple-leafed Kwanzan is sublime!

11:50 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Julie,
All of our Kwanzan cherries have a NW exposure but they've held up well in the cold winter winds. Good to know the purple leaf ones are sturdy. The trunks seem so skinny I sometimes wonder how it can take the strong winds during storms but luckily that hasn't been a problem. The purple ones seem to grow more upright rather than spreading which the normal one seems to want to do.


Hi Mr. McGregor's daughter,
The purple leaves set off the flowers extremely well though it's difficult to see in the dark photo. I just liked the tree at first sight even if it was blooming very sparsely at the nursery when I first saw it. The dark purple leaves against the whitish trunk was enough to buy the tree. The flowers are icing on the cake.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Les, Zone 8a said...

I never new there was such a thing as a purple-leafed Kwanzan. Are they easily found for sale, or just a naturally occuring variation?

6:24 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Ki, the wind here in incredible. Even on calm days there's a stiff breeze. My AC bill is rather low because even on the hottest days, there a nice breeze that runs through the house. It often is the reason why most folks won't build here. To give you an idea about the wind here, a few years back, a wind and hail storm snapped an 8" diameter oak in half, destroyed three other trees and the entire back of my house. It was a bad year but the cherry styed firm.

We get gale force winds of 65mph or more through the average storm. Our winds come from the SW over the Susquehanna and build momentum up over this mountain. When I was shopping for trees, I actually wrote to the local nurseries and asked them what trees I could plant that would stand up to constant wind and gale force winds. The purple Kwanzaa was on that list along with oaks, maples, ash, beech, poplar, birch and a number of other large hard and semi-hardwoods. The only understory trees besides the cherry was the Japanese maple and the Stawarita. My Stawarita was one of the trees destroyed in that storm.

Yep, that purple cherry is a strong, sturdy tree, at least for me.

2:43 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Les,
I too was surprised when I saw the tag that it was a flowering cherry. I believe it was a naturally occurring variant which they are grafting onto rootstocks - although I don't see the graft on either of our trees. Anyway not obvious ones like the weeping cherries. I will post a photo showing both leaves.


Hi Julie,
Hey you should put up a windmill to generate electricity.

Good to know the cherry is such a sturdy tree. I think the highest winds we've clocked here during a storm has been about 50 or maybe gusts up to 60 mph but thankfully that's about it.

I planted 3 Stewartia a couple of years ago and one has buds!!! The trees if you can call them that are only about 2-3 feet tall. The tallest a S. rostrata is the one setting buds.

3:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was about ready to give up on our Kwanzan Cherry Tree that we bought at Lowe’s four years ago. Until this year it’s growth and flowering has been less than spectacular. It was the Kwanzan Cherry equilvilent of a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.

Well, just last week we were contemplating digging it up and replanting it off in a back corner of the yard and replacing it with something more mature. When I got home from work yesterday something happened overnight because a huge number of buds popped and are in the process of opening up. The flowers are spectacular and I’m so glad we didn’t dig her up. It looks like she finally took hold and is growing with new shoots and a ton of new buds that are ready to pop.

4:37 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi GoodMorningGlouscester,
I'm glad your tree bloomed! It takes a while for the tree to mature enough to support a full flush of flowers so the whole tree appears to be nothing but flowers. At least that has been our experience. I have found the flowering cherries to be hardy and tough little trees. The Kwanzan seem to be the most robust of the cherries but has a tendency to spread so I've pruned it to encourage upward growth.

Good luck with your tree. It will become more beautiful each year.

4:50 AM  

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