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Can Cherry Blossom Trees Grow In California?

 A popular subject in Japanese art, cherry blossom trees are beautiful. Known for their dainty, though fleeting, pretty pink flowers, they can offer a stunning focal piece to any yard they are grown in.

If you've fallen in love with cherry blossom trees but live in California, not Japan, you may be wondering whether you too, can experience their beauty in your own yard. Well, you've come to the right place.

We've researched the topic in-depth and have an answer for you!

Cherry blossom trees can grow in California. The trees prefer USDA growing zones 5 through 8. Many parts of California can accommodate these growing conditions, so check which growing zone you are in before planting a cherry blossom tree in your yard. 

You know cherry blossom trees can grow in California, but keep reading as we elaborate on this further. We'll discuss the ideal conditions for growing a cherry blossom tree and answer some other questions you might have on the topic.

Blossoming cherry sakura tree on a green field with a blue sky and clouds - Can Cherry Blossom Trees Grow In California

Growing Cherry Blossom Trees in California

Whether you are growing cherry blossom trees in California or another state, there are ideal conditions that cherry blossom trees need to survive regardless of their location. So what are the ideal growing conditions for a cherry blossom tree?

Let's discuss the type of light, soil, temperature, and space a cherry blossom tree needs to thrive. 

Cherry Blossom Pathway in a Country Park

Sun or Shade

So should you plant them in the sun or close to a structure that keeps them in the shade? These trees prefer sunny spots but can also do well in partial shade. For best flowering results, cherry Blossom trees need approximately six hours of sunlight or more to thrive.

The more sunlight they receive, the better the cherry blossoms will grow. So while a cherry blossom tree may survive with less, if you want to maximize your cherry blossom tree's bloom, full sun is the way to go!

Since California is home to some of the sunniest cities in the US, this requirement shouldn't be too hard to fulfill!

Soil Type

Ideal soil types include well-draining acidic soils and soils that consist of sand, clay, or a mixture of the two. If your soil is not well-draining, your cherry blossom tree may succumb to root rot.

Though cherry blossom trees prefer acidic soil, they can also grow in alkaline soils. The earth will need to be very deep and fertile. 

If your soil lacks these things, you may be able to amend it. Soil can be amended to provide a better growing environment for plants.

Amending soil typically involves adding or mixing in other organic matter such as manure or compost to make it an ideal spot for your plant to grow. 

Click here to see Manure on Amazon. 

Space

Another important thing to consider is how much space your cherry blossom tree needs to grow. You will need to ensure the plant has at least 10 to 20 feet between itself and any other plants, trees, or structures to give it room to grow.

This is because cherry blossom tree canopies can grow as wide as 30 feet.

USDA Growing Zones

California has a wide range of growing zones, so there's a chance you'll be able to grow a cherry blossom tree in your state.

Since cherry blossom trees grow best in zones 5 to 8, you will have more success growing a cherry blossom tree in the Northern and Eastern parts of the state. The further south and west you get, the less likely a cherry blossom tree will grow.

Look at a USDA hardiness map to determine your specific growing zone and see whether your local conditions are suitable for growing cherry blossom trees. 

Spring cherry blossoms

Despite Los Angeles not having the best growing conditions for cherry blossom trees, there are several annual cherry blossom festivals in and around Los Angeles each year. Thus, showing they can grow there.

If you live in Los Angeles, you could try growing a cherry blossom variety that can handle the heat a little better, such as Weeping Cherry, Okame, Yoshino, or Kwanzan. To thrive, cherry blossom trees need a month of temperatures below 41 degrees to thrive. 

Cherry blossom trees can grow in almost any state. As we mentioned, they grow best in USDA growing zones 5 to 8, which can be found in nearly every state but those in the very south and very north of the United States.

Almost all central and many northeastern states can grow cherry blossom trees. 

How long does it take a cherry blossom tree to grow?

Blossoming cherry sakura tree on a green field with a blue sky and clouds.

Cherry trees can begin blossoming pretty early on in their lives. You may see blossoms during the tree's first year! However, it will reach the peak of its blossoming display between the 4th and 7th years.

After seven years, you should see consistent blooms. Cherry trees can live anywhere from 25 to 40 years, so you can expect to appreciate your tree's blooms for a generous amount of time. 

Cherry blossom trees actually grow pretty quickly. They average 1 to 2 feet a year, but the faster-growing species can grow up to 3 feet in one year! Cherry blossom trees can reach up to 50 feet tall when fully grown. 

Can you keep a cherry blossom tree small?

If the thought of a huge cherry blossom tree makes you anxious, then we have some good news for you. It is possible to grow smaller or dwarf cherry blossom trees.

However, you will need to purchase and plant the species that grow smaller. There is no way to keep a larger species smaller because excessive pruning can harm the tree. 

Dwarf cherry blossom tree species include the Japanese Dwarf Cherry Blossom tree, the Snow Fountain Small Cherry Blossom tree, and the Hiromi Dwarf Cherry Blossom tree. 

Cherry Blossom Tree Stretching Out Over Path

Growing a cherry tree is not difficult as long as you plant the tree in an ideal location. 

Fortunately, a cherry blossom tree can do well in various locations as long as it receives some sun. As mentioned earlier, cherry blossom trees typically prefer full sun, but they can also do well in partial shade conditions.

After you've picked a location for your cherry blossom tree, you should wait until after the last frost before planting your tree.

Furthermore, while other ornamental trees require frequent pruning, cherry blossom trees do not. They must only be pruned immediately after blooming or in the winter to promote new growth. For reference, ornamental trees refer to those that do not produce fruit. 

Spring landscape with single blooming pink sakura cherry tree in full blossom on hills covered by fresh green grass at springtime.

If you already have a cherry blossom tree in your yard and are concerned it's not doing well, you may wonder if your tree is dying and, if so, what could be causing it.

There are several fungal diseases that could be killing your cherry blossom tree. It could be a fungal disease if you've noticed spots on the leaves, branches, or even the trunk that don't quite look right. 

Types of Fungal Diseases and Pests

Silver leaf fungus and black knot fungus are two more common diseases. There are also many pests that can infest cherry blossom trees.

Aphids, Japanese beetles, cherry slugs, and borers are some of the pests you may see on your tree. If the infestation is large, you may have to treat the tree with an insecticide or pesticide. 

Click here to see insecticides on Amazon. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you've found this helpful article and now feel more confident about whether a cherry blossom tree can grow in California.

They are beautiful trees, even if they only bloom for a short while, so there are festivals celebrating their pretty displays all over the US.

If you can't grow one in your own yard, maybe you can make a trip to view these spectacular trees in bloom one spring!

For more reading on the topic of cherry blossoms and trees that can grow in California, check out some of our other blog posts below:

My Cherry Blossom Tree Is Dying – What To Do?

Can Coconuts Grow In California?