7 Cherry Trees for Tennessee (Ornamental & Edible Varieties)

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » Tennessee » 7 Cherry Trees for Tennessee (Ornamental & Edible Varieties)

Cherry trees are one of the most versatile fruiting trees for US gardeners, and in Tennessee, there are plenty you can plant both for edible and ornamental purposes.

Of course, not all cherry trees in Tennessee are the same.

There are cherry trees grown for their delicious fruits, and others for their flowering displays (with less than palatable fruits). And amongst the edible varieties, there are sweet cherries, which grow best in USDA zones 5 to 9, and sour cherries which grow from 4-8.

With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the best cherry tree varieties that will thrive in your TN garden or orchard.

7 Cherry Trees That Will Thrive in TN

1. Black Tartarian (Prunus avium ‘Black Tartarian’) – Edible

Black Tartarian Cherry Tree
Image via Nature Hills

First introduced to the US in the 1800s, the black tartarian cultivar has been a popular choice for fruit gardeners ever since. This sweet heirloom tree produces aromatic white flowers in spring, and dark reddish-purple cherries in summer. The waxy green leaves of the trees also add extra appeal in summer and fall.

The black tartarian is an abundant producer, and its fruits are juicy with good texture, and particularly excellent when used in preserves.

These trees are quite large for an edible cherry tree, so they will make a striking ornamental or focal point in your garden. Remember that the tartarian is not self-pollinating, so you will need a sweet cherry variety like the Stella or Bing to pollinate it.

These adaptable, disease-resistant trees prefer to be grown in moist, well-draining soil and need full sun during the day and enough room to grow. Otherwise, they are relatively unfussy about growing conditions.

Other Common Names: Ronald’s Large Black Heart, Ronald’s Heart, Large Black Heart, Circassian Black, Black Tart, Frasers Black Tartarian, Tartarian, Circassian

Growing Zones: 5-7

Average Size at Maturity: 30-35 feet tall

Fruiting Season: Early to Mid-Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

2. Early Richmond (Prunus cerasus ‘Early Richmond’) – Edible

Early Richmond Cherry tree
Image via Stark Bros

A prized producer since the 1500s, the early richmond is an English sour cherry variety that can grow in USDA zones as high as 8 and 9, making it an excellent choice for Tennessee arborists. The fruits of the early richmond are considered some of the best sour cherries available. The early richmond is a perfect pie cherry,

It is both compact and self-fertile, so gardeners with limited space will still be able to produce fruit without taking up extra room. Its small size means it fits well into most landscapes, and it can even be planted in containers or planters. Their beautiful spring blooms add plenty of ornamental value too.

Plant your early richmond in an area with plenty of sunlight to ensure full fruit production from this heavy-bearing tree. It is highly adaptable to varying soil conditions but prefers fertile, well-draining soil.

Other Common Names: Old Kentish Cherry

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-18 feet tall, with a 12-15 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Early June

Available at: Nature Hills

3. Mount Fuji Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Mount Fuji’) – Ornamental

Mount Fuji Japanese Flowering Cherry
Image via Oregon State

One of the more beautiful ornamental cherry trees available to gardeners in Tennessee’s planting zones is the mount fuji japanese flowering cherry. This 19th-century cultivar has been lauded since its cultivation due to the profuse clouds of white blossoms that decorate its branches in spring, and the incredible scent they produce.

It is a classically excellent ornamental for your front yard, where the whole neighborhood can enjoy this showstopping tree. But despite its good looks, there is a downside to planting the mt fuji – its life span is just 15 to 25 years, so don’t expect a tree that will remain on your property for generations to enjoy.

If you are choosing the mt fuji for your property, give it plenty of space – while it typically only grows to 20 feet tall, it has a spreading growth habit that can possibly reach as wide as 50 feet high, according to the Oregon State University Department of Horticulture.

Other Common Names: Shirotae, Kojima, Mt Fuji Flowering Cherry

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 20 feet tall, with a 25-50 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

4. Stella (Prunus avium ‘Stella’) – Edible

Stella Cherry Tree
Image via Nature Hills

The stella is an excellent cultivar in terms of both the delicious fruit it produces and the visual effect it can have on the landscape.

With a pyramidal growth habit, spreading canopy, glossy leaves, and the expected spring display of gorgeous cherry flowers, there is plenty of appeal. Its actual cherries are also large, firm, and perfectly sweet, and look bright and beautiful when fruiting on the branch in midsummer.

Stella cherry trees are self-pollinating, so not only will you be able to produce fruit with a single tree, but you can also use it to pollinate other sweet cherry trees that require it. One of the few downsides to this variety is that its fruit has a tendency to crack in wet weather, so be aware of this if you are planting a Stella!

These cherry trees should be planted in moist, fertile, well-draining soil in a location with full sun. Don’t forget to provide netting to fend off birds during the fruiting season.

Other Common Names: N/A

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-18 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Mid-Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Autumn Blooming Cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’) – Ornamental

Autumn Blooming Cherry
Image by Arlington National Cemetery via Flickr

This gorgeous, slender cherry tree is a highly useful ornamental in every part of the year. It is best known for its neat, rounded, upright form and show of pale pink flowers that adorn virtually every inch of the tree.

As the name suggests this blooming cherry produces flowers throughout spring, and sporadically in fall – so while the rest of your garden is heading into dormancy, the autumn blooming cherry may still fill the air with floral color and fragrance.

The autumn blooming cherry can be used in landscaping as an accent tree, street tree, minor shade tree, and patio plant. It is also an excellent wildlife tree, attracting pollinators, birds, and small mammals with its blossoms and black winter and fall cherries.

These trees are also very resilient. According to the NC State Extension, the autumn blooming cherry is the “most cold, heat, and stress-tolerant” cherry variety. They can adapt to a range of soil types but prefers moist, well-draining soil.

Other Common Names: Autumn Blooming Higan Cherry, Rosebud Cherry

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall, with a 15-25 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring and Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Lapins (Prunus avium ‘Lapins’) – Edible

First developed in a food research center in British Columbia, Canada, the lapins cherry is a sweet edible variety produced from the hybridization of the ‘Van’ and ‘Stella’ cherry varieties.

As a result, the lapins is a truly excellent cultivar. Its fruits are especially large, firm, sweet, juicy, and split-resistant! It is beautiful too, with glossy green leaves, abundant white blossoms, and attractive, multi-colored fall foliage.

The Lapins are also a practical choice. They begin fruiting early, around 3-5 years after planting, are self-pollinating, and can be used as a shade or specimen tree. Keep in mind that the lapins should be planted on dwarf rootstock to keep it compact, otherwise the tree will grow to 40 feet or higher.

Like most fruit trees the lapins need plenty of sun for fruit production, and moist, well-draining soil. Otherwise, it is a fairly adaptable tree, with a preference for neutral soil.

Other Common Names: Starkrimson Sweet

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 feet tall, with a 12-15 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Mid-Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

7. Akebono Yoshino Flowering Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis ‘Akebono’) – Ornamental

Akebono Yoshino Flowering Cherry tree
Image via Nature Hills

Tennessee gardeners looking for an ostentatious ornamental cherry tree should look no further than the akebono yoshino flowering cherry. Its soft pink blossoms are the largest of any cherry variety, guaranteed to catch eyes with its stunning spring display.

In summer it becomes a convenient shade tree with bright, dense foliage that transitions to yellow and gold in fall. As it matures its growth habit will also spread and become more horizontal.

These ornamental beauties add interest to garden pathways, patios, front yards, and more. They look exceptionally lovely in small groupings that add a mass of color to larger spaces. As well as being appealing, they are one of the more disease-resistant flowering cherry trees one can plant in TN.

Plant your akebono yoshino in moist, acidic, well-draining soil with full sun exposure for best results. However, it is tolerant to a variety of soils, as well as heat and humidity.

Other Common Names: Amerika, Daybreak Cherry, Tokyo Cherry, Potomac Cherry

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

Edible and Ornamental Cherries For Your Tennessee Garden

With delicious fruits, stunning fragrant flowers, and relatively low requirements, there are many benefits to planting cherry trees on your TN property.

Whether you prefer the bountiful fruit production of an edible variety, like the Stella, or a flowering ornamental like the showstopping akebono yoshino, there are plenty of cherry trees for the Tennessee gardener to choose from.

And if you want to add more fruiting varieties to your garden or orchard, consider these bountiful fruit trees you can grow in TN.

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Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.

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