Flowering trees can be major springtime showstoppers, and Taiwan cherry is a great example. This small tree erupts in January or February with flamingo-pink flowers.
As evidenced by its common name, Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulata) is native to Southern China. This deciduous tree can grow up to 20 feet tall and equally as wide. In late winter, it produces one-inch, bright pink flowers on its naked branches.
The flowers of this Florida-Friendly tree often mature into small red fruits that attract songbirds. Dark green leaves provide shade all summer, turning a bronze-red in fall. Even after dropping its leaves, Taiwan cherry offers good winter interest, thanks to its reddish-brown bark.
A hybrid version, ‘Okame' cherry is commonly available and has lighter pink flowers.
Planting and Care
This tree is best suited for areas of North and Central Florida. Of the many species of flowering cherry trees, the Taiwan cherry is the most heat-tolerant, and is planted throughout the deep south, in USDA plant hardiness zones 7b-9a.
Taiwan cherry prefers full sun, but will tolerate some shade. Plant your tree where it will be visible to enjoy its spring flowering. These trees do best with regular irrigation and well-drained, acidic soil. Occasional pruning can significantly improve the form of the crown, especially when trees are young.
There are no major pest problems, although tent caterpillars and scale have been observed. A healthy tree can usually withstand minor pests. One drawback of Taiwan cherry is that it's relatively short lived, lasting just 10 or 15 years, but that's still plenty of time for you to enjoy its beauty.
For more information on Taiwan cherry, contact your county Extension office.