Trees with perfect blooms — meaning each blossom owns both male and female parts, the stamen and the pistil, respectively — don’t require pollinators to produce fruit. Among such self-fruitful or self-fertile trees, the cherry is a prolific producer not only of fruit, but of showy, bountiful flowers perfect for home orchards or simply for landscaping.
The sweet cherry tree (Prunus avium) is a self-pollinator that flowers through the spring or winter, creating fragrant white or pink flowers. After pollination, the tree grows fruit which may be red, black, purple or yellowish and ranges in size in 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches. The deciduous sweet cherry, which turns bronze or gold in the fall, grows up to 35 feet tall in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 8 under full sun in preferably moist and acidic loam or sand.
A kind of sweet cherry, the black cherry tree (Prunus serotina) creates fragrant white flowers in the spring. After pollination, its black or purple fruit grows to no more than 1/2 inch in diameter, ripening in the summer. Like the cherry, its leaves turn bronze or gold in the autumn before shedding. The black cherry flourishes in USDA zones 3 to 9, reaching up to 50 feet tall. It tolerates a selection of acidic soils, preferably moist, in full sun or partial shade.
The self-fertile sour cherry (Prunus cerasus), like the cherry, produces showy white or pink blooms in the spring. Deciduous, its leaves also turn bronze or gold in the autumn. Its purple or red fruit, which grows up to 1-1/2 inches in size, is ready for harvesting in the summer. The sour cherry grows best in USDA zones 4 to 9, tolerating many different acidic soils in moist conditions and reaching up to 25 feet at maturity.
The “Kwansan” Japanese flowering cherry tree (Prunus serrulata “Kwansan”) is a self-fruitful ornamental variety that produces a showy display of pink, rose or white blooms popular in Asia where the blossoms are a symbol of springtime cherry festivals. Its little, black cherries, which grow no bigger than 1/2 inch in diameter, are produced every season but the spring. Like other cherry trees, it sheds its leaves in the autumn after turning into hues of bronze or gold. The “Kwansan” grows in USDA zones 5 to 9 in sunlight or partial shade and tolerates a variety of moist, acidic soils.