Cherry trees are normally cold hardy fruit trees, most often found in colder regions of the U.S., but this doesn’t mean you can’t grow them in Texas! Thankfully, there are several varieties of black cherry trees that grow natively in Texas, plus a few that actually prefer warmer climates.
Being such a huge state, Texas covers USDA hardiness zones 6 through 10, although the state is mostly zones 7-9. Most cherry trees can grow down to zone 7 or 8, meaning that the majority of cherry trees can grow up to central Texas.
There’s a chance you’ll need to amend the soil, depending on which region you’re in and what variety you’re growing. In northern TX, the soil tends to be loamy and too thick for fruit trees, while southern TX usually has dry soil that doesn’t retain enough moisture.
Luckily, there are a few varieties of cherry trees that are known to grow well in Texas and can adapt to, if not thrive in, those growing conditions. Read on to learn about these varieties and how they grow!
5 Excellent Types of Cherry Trees to Plant in Texas
1. Black Tartarian (Prunus avium ‘Black Tartarian’)
The Black Tartarian Cherry Tree is one of the most popular cherry tree varieties all across the U.S. because it grows in almost all regions of this country, plus it requires little maintenance.
This makes it one of the most widely grown cherry tree varieties for home gardens- including in Texas! This tree can’t handle the intense heat of southern TX, but it will grow really well in northern and central Texas, just through zone 8.
The Black Tartarian is a black cherry tree that produces juicy, dark purple cherries with a very sweet flavor. In early spring, this tree blooms with white flowers that make the tree look like it’s covered with fresh snow.
This variety needs a pollinating partner and any other variety of black cherry tree will work. For this reason, these trees are great for orchards!
Other Common Names: Ronald’s Large Black Heart, Black Tartan, and Circassian Black
Growing Zones: 5-8
Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 ft tall, 10 ft wide
Fruiting Season: June, slightly sooner than most cherry varieties
2. Royal Lee (Prunus avium ‘Royal Lee’)
The Royal Lee is the best choice of cherry tree for anyone living in southern TX, south of zone 8. This is one of the rare varieties of cherry tree that really thrives in heat and doesn’t require as many chill hours to fruit.
Despite enjoying the full sun in warm temperatures and subtropical climates, Royal Lee cherry trees are not very drought-resistant and still need to be watered regularly.
These trees bloom with white flowers in the spring and produce bright red cherries in mid-summer. They also rely on the Minnie Royal Cherry Tree as a pollinating partner.
Other Common Names: Minnie Royal and Royal Lee are sometimes used interchangeably, since the two are always grown together
Growing Zones: 7-10
Average Size at Maturity: 10 ft tall (semi-dwarf)
Fruiting Season: Summer, beginning of July
3. Lapins (Prunus avium ‘Lapins’)
The Lapins is another cherry tree variety that tolerates warm weather, not as much as the Royal Lee, but certainly more than most cherry trees. The Lapins can grow down to zone 9, which covers almost all of Texas, just up to the southernmost tip.
This variety is also a great choice for any gardener who wants to start growing cherries as soon as possible- the Lapins is self-pollinating and fruits in the first year!
These trees aren’t very picky about the kind of soil they’re growing in- a huge bonus for TX growers with dry or dense soil.
Along with all these benefits, keep in mind that this means the tree will quickly grow very tall and produce tons of fruit- up to 20 gallons!
Other Common Names: Cherokee Cherry
Growing Zones: 5-9
Average Size at Maturity: 20 ft tall, 13 ft wide
Fruiting Season: May to June, sooner than most cherry trees
4. Compact Stella (Prunus avium ‘Stella’)
This variety gets its name because it’s a semi-dwarf variety, so it has a compact shape. Its smaller size and incredible productivity make this variety a great choice for gardeners just growing for themselves.
Plus, this variety is self-pollinating! So, this is a great choice if you don’t have much space nor want to grow several trees. Although, the harvest of this tree will be intensified if you’re growing other stone fruits nearby.
The Compact Stella is another variety of the black cherry tree, producing dark berries that are plump and juicy! Also, this variety begins fruiting in the first year or two- something very exciting for beginner gardeners.
Other Common Names: Stella, Dwarf Stella
Growing Zones: 5-8
Average Size at Maturity: 10 ft tall, 8 ft wide
Fruiting Season: Summer, July through August
5. Romeo and Juliet Cherry Trees
These trees get their name because they’re a perfect pair together- the Romeo tree is actually a different variety from the Juliet, but the two are pollination partners and need each other to cross-pollinate. In fact, you often find the two trees sold together and can rarely get just one of the pair.
Also, these two are both dwarf varieties so they go together perfectly in small yards or plots. Their dwarf size makes harvest easier, as you won’t be climbing a 15 foot tree, but this also means the harvest is a bit smaller.
However, these trees can still produce 25 lbs of cherries in a single harvest- which isn’t nothing! These trees are known to produce sweeter fruits with smaller pits, which makes up for the smaller harvest.
These trees have dark purple cherries, which fruit after 3 years, and bloom with white flowers.
Other Common Names: Although there’s multiple varieties of dwarf cherry trees, these two are the most popular, so sometimes they’re simply referred to as dwarf cherry trees
Growing Zones: 2-7
Average Size at Maturity: 8 ft tall, 6 ft wide
Fruiting Season: Summer, July through August
Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees
Table Comparing Texas Cherry Tree Varieties
This table provides a brief overview of each cherry tree variety, including their key characteristics, suitable growing zones, and average mature sizes, helping Texas gardeners choose the best options for their landscapes.
|Variety||Description||Growing Zones||Average Size at Maturity|
|Black Tartarian||Popular U.S. variety, ideal for northern/central TX. Produces dark purple, sweet cherries. Blooms with white flowers in spring. Requires pollination partner.||5-8||10-15 ft tall, 10 ft wide|
|Royal Lee||Best for southern TX, heat tolerant, fewer chill hours needed. Produces bright red cherries in summer. Relies on Minnie Royal Cherry Tree for pollination.||7-10||10 ft tall (semi-dwarf)|
|Lapins||Heat tolerant, suitable for most of Texas. Self-pollinating and fruits quickly. Adaptable to various soil types. Produces dark berries, fruits earlier than most cherry trees.||5-9||20 ft tall, 13 ft wide|
|Compact Stella||Semi-dwarf, compact, self-pollinating. Ideal for small spaces, begins fruiting in 1-2 years. Produces dark, juicy cherries. Harvest intensifies with nearby stone fruits.||5-8||10 ft tall, 8 ft wide|
|Romeo and Juliet||Pair of dwarf varieties, perfect for small yards. Need each other for cross-pollination. Can produce 25 lbs of cherries per harvest. Known for sweet fruits with smaller pits. Dark purple cherries, white flowers.||2-7||8 ft tall, 6 ft wide|
Although it’s not the first plant that comes to mind when you think of Texas flora, cherry trees certainly can grow and thrive in many parts of TX. There’s no reason for any Texas gardener to shy away from growing cherry trees and having a fresh harvest!
Additionally, with the USDA Plant Database you can see a full list of cherry trees that could grow in Texas and even look for your specific county.
Especially for gardeners in central to north TX, your options are plentiful! But even for those in southern Texas with hot summers, there are cherry trees for you. I hope you found this article helpful and are feeling assured that you can grow cherry trees in your region of Texas!
I have also written about cherry blossom trees that grow in Texas, so if you love ornamental cherry trees I recommend reading that article.
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Peyton considers trees not just as plants that provide shade or yummy fruits, but as necessary for a healthy life and community.
Peyton has done most of her research on environmental politics, but recently has shifted her focus towards actual agricultural practices, learning about ideas like agroforestry, food forests, and permaculture gardening.
She’s most often in the kitchen whipping something up, but otherwise can be found on long bike rides or doing research.