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6 Edible & Ornamental Cherry Trees That Grow in USDA Zone 9


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An international symbol of spring, cherry trees are a desirable planting choice for gardeners, homeowners, and farmers around the world.

Depending on the cherry trees you plant you can produce delicious juicy cherries, or reap the visual rewards of a beautiful blossoming ornamental tree. And in many cases, you can have both!

While USDA hardiness zone 9 is not the typical zone for planting cherry trees, there are a number of cultivars that gardeners in these warm regions can grow successfully.

These are six of the best edible and ornamental Zone 9 cherry trees.

6 Cherry Trees For Zone 9 Gardeners to Plant

1. English Morello (Prunus cerasus ‘English Morello’)

English Morello Cherry Tree with Cherries on it
Image by Brett and Sue Coulstock via Flickr

Both a high producer of tasty cherries and a valuable ornamental, the English Morello is a sour cherry cultivar that arrived in the US in the mid-1800s. Its fruits are dark red and look incredible when ripening on the branches in mid-summer.

They are firm and juicy and best used in jams, jellies, cooking, and even making liqueurs! Though they are somewhat acidic, some people enjoy eating them fresh from the tree.

The tree itself has lovely dark-green leaves with serrated margins, dark brown and gray bark, and a strong, spreading branching structure. Outside of its use as a fruit crop, it can also be used as a small shade tree, a privacy screen, or a hedge.

This cherry cultivar is self-fertile and an abundant producer. Plant it in full sun and rich, well-draining soil. Treat annually in spring with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 feet tall

Fruiting Season: Mid-Summer

Available at: Nature Hills

2. Utah Giant Cherry (Prunus avium ‘Utah Giant’)

Utah Giant Cherries on tree
Image via Nature Hills

In 1981 the USDA developed the Utah Giant Cherry in Logan, Utah, and since then it has consistently been one of the highest-scoring breeds in formal taste tests according to the UC Davis Extension.

A cultivar of the popular Bing cherry, the Utah Giant is a cherry tree that produces dark red and absolutely delicious fruits. They are equally tasty eaten fresh or used in cooking and baking. This is an excellent fruit tree for zone 9.

The Utah Giant Cherry tree is a very nice ornamental, producing lovely white blooms in spring. It can be used as a focal point to great effect, particularly during harvest season, and would look lovely planted in pairs near entrances and walkways.

This is a smart way to use them in landscape design, as the Utah Giant needs to be cross-pollinated by another sweet cherry variety that fruits at the same time. Plant it in an area with good air circulation and full sunlight, in moist, well-draining soil.

Growing Zones: 5-9

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

Fruiting Season: Mid-Summer

Available at: Nature Hills

3. Kwanzan Flowering Cherry (Prunus ‘Kanzan’)

Kwanzan Cherry Tree in bloom
Image by angela n. via Flickr

One of the most majestic types of cherry trees available in the US is the Kwanzan, a Japanese native that puts on an incredible show in spring. This flowering tree is one of the few solely ornamental cherry trees that will grow in your zone.

Its incredible profuse displays of two-toned pink flowers will draw attention throughout the flowering period. They are then followed by simple serrated leaves that turn a fiery mix of yellow, bronze, and orange in spring.

Some care and attention are needed to ensure that the Kwanzan’s beautiful blossoms grow. Plant it in early fall to avoid the first frosts, in a location with full sun exposure and loamy, well-draining soil. Keep soil evenly moist and use cherry fertilizer in spring.

Zone 9 is the hottest temperature range that the Kwanzan can successfully grow in, so make sure to mulch well during summer to retain moisture and keep the soil and roots cool.

Other Common Names: Japanese Flowering Cherry

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 25-35 feet tall, with a 25-30 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. Barbados Cherry (Malpighia emarginata)

Barbados Cherry tree with cherries on it
Image by Rogerio da Silva via Flickr

While it does not technically belong under the genus Prunus, the Barbados cherry is, for all intents and purposes, a cherry. And as a tropical and subtropical shrub, it is ideal for hot landscapes, such as those that fall under zone 9. Native to the West Indies, it offers many benefits to your landscape even beyond its heat tolerance.

The Barbados cherry is a valuable ornamental with its lush evergreen foliage and lavender-colored spring blossoms. Its summer fruits are small and bulbous, the size of a cherry, with a crimson-pink color. These fruits are crisp with a sweet-tart flavor and are known for being one of the richest sources of vitamin C in the world! It is a potent and highly useful fruit.

The Barbados cherry can sometimes struggle in zone 9a, so make sure to plant it in a sheltered location, and mulch and wrap the trunk in winter if you live in this subzone. Gardeners in 9b should experience no issues.

Other Common Names: West Indian Cherry, Acerola, Guarani Cherry, Spanish

Growing Zones: 9-12

Average Size at Maturity: 12-18 feet tall, with a 10-15 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Late Summer

Available at: Nature Hills

5. Black Republican (Prunus avium ‘Black Republican’)

Black Republican cherry tree with cherries on it
Image via Nature Hills

With a long history rooted in the Civil War period, the Black Republican cherry cultivar has gone on to become an important fruit tree in the US, both due to its delicious cherries and its abilities as a pollinator.

The Black Republican is an exceptional species for pollinating other popular sweet cherries such as the Bing, Rainier, Lapins, Stella, and more.

The Black Republican is a deep purple-colored sweet cherry with a distinctly earthy flavor that is said to have notes of rose and almond. It is eaten fresh and used in baking, desserts, and preserves. The tree itself has dark mahogany bark, beautiful white spring blossoms, and dense green leaves.

This cultivar is not a difficult cherry tree to grow. It will grow in most well-draining soils but has a preference for loamy soil with a neutral to acidic pH with plenty of sun exposure.

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 18-20 feet tall, with a 15-18 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Early Summer

Available at: Nature Hills

6. Shirofugen Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Shirofugen’)

Shirofugen Flowering Cherry trees
Image by Wendy Cutler via Flickr

One truly gorgeous flowering ornamental cherry that can be planted in zone 9 is the Shirofugen. It has been cultivated for centuries in Japan and has become a very desirable landscaping choice in the US since the late 19th century.

In late spring it produces clusters of delicate white cherry blossoms that fade to a light pink as they mature on the branches and give off a sweet fragrance.

Its leaves are beautiful too, starting off as a crimson and copper color before changing to a light green. In fall they turn reddish-orange, offering three seasons of pleasing colors. The habit of the Shirofugen is spreading and flat-topped and it is overall a winning ornamental.

Transplanted trees will need to be pruned correctly to encourage proper growth, but otherwise, the Shirofugen is fairly easy to grow. Plant it in moist, well-draining soil in a location with full sun exposure in zone 9.

Other Common Names: Shiro-Fugen Cherry, Japanese Flowering Cherry Shirofugen, Fugenzo, White Fugen

Growing Zones: 5-9

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

Flowering Season: Late Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

Edible and Ornamental Cherry Trees For Your Landscape

If you’re considering planting a cherry tree on your zone 9 property, don’t be deterred by the high temperatures in your region. This zone is the highest reliable temperature range where a variety of cherry cultivars can grow and fruit successfully.

And it is not only edible cultivars, like the Black Republican and English Morello that are open to you. A few ornamental cherry varieties, like the Kwanzan and Shirofugen, can thrive in zone 9 with the right care.

For more excellent fruit cultivars consider these citrus trees for zone 9 gardens.

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