Cherry Blossom Tree Growth Stages

Understanding the life cycle of cherry blossom trees will help you be a better gardener. What are its growth stages?

Ornamental cherry blossom or Japanese cherry trees are a popular alternative for gardeners and homeowners looking for a delicate flowering tree with breathtaking grandeur. Compared to other blooming trees that may require substantial trimming and upkeep, the cherry blossom tree is very easy to grow.

This flowering tree grows slowly and thrives in both full sun and partial shade, and it grows in a wide range of soils and environments. Cherry blossom trees can reach heights of more than 30 feet and have a 20-foot-wide canopy when mature. As the tree matures, the branches take on an arched and drooping form. 

Cherry blossom trees are generally deciduous and come in various sizes and shapes. They bloom with beautiful pink and white flowers, and these blossoms last up to two weeks. They symbolize rebirth and the transient nature of life.

beautiful cherry blossoms flowers


Cherry blossom seeds germinate in about 2 to 8 weeks under ideal conditions, depending on the variety. Some varieties germinate months after sowing.

The seed leaves are the first to emerge from the seed, nourishing the developing seedling. True leaves appear and begin to produce food through photosynthesis.

As the seedling grows, the stem grows stronger and more leaves appear.


Young trees can reach 10 to 15 feet in as little as three or four years, and their trunks can reach 3 inches in diameter. The tree’s rapid growth rate slightly decreases as it grows, but it may continue to grow every year for the rest of its life. The tree will reach its full, spectacular display in five to seven years. 

pretty pink spring blossoms on prunus


An ornamental cherry may begin to bloom as early as its first year, but blooming in its third is more common. The blooming season is weather-dependent; however, early spring is typical. 

Small to medium-sized buds appear on branches to signal maturation. The florets then open, revealing the early stages of individual flowers. They come in a mix of deep and brilliant pink tones before they start to open.

When they are in full bloom, the flowers take on a light pinkish white color. Cherry trees can produce blossoms of various sizes, colors, and shapes. Instead of the traditional pink, some varieties have yellow or green flowers and look just as spectacular. 

beautiful pink cherry blossoms


For plants to reproduce, pollen must come into contact with the plant’s pistil, located in flowers. Cherry blossom trees only bloom for one to two weeks in the spring. The flowers’ beauty and aroma attract various birds and insects, especially bees. The birds play a huge role in maintaining the tree’s foliage and keeping away harmful insects.

Pollen grains are transferred from the male anther to the female stigma by pollinators as they move from blossom to flower. Cherry blossom trees have pistils and pollen on the same plant. Still, they require pollinator insects such as bees to help them transfer pollen to the other flowers.

The fruit of most cherry blossom varieties is unpalatable, and some ornamental and sterile hybrids do not produce fruits.

a bumblebee pollinating on a cherry blossom

Spreading Seeds

Birds eat and disperse the cherry blossom seeds despite being too sour for humans to eat. 

Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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