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Pretty and productive cherries for every garden

If you have a small garden, squeezing in a small tree is difficult but cherries are both fruit-bearing and ornamental – they’ll even grow in a large pot. Of course, I’m talking about edible cherries, not the purely ornamental kind but they’re all part of the Prunus family, as you can see by the blossom.

Many moons ago, I bought a job lot of mystery fruit trees in a Thompson & Morgan sale. One of these was cherry Regina, which was plonked in a tub and forgotten about. Even so, she flowered but did not bear fruit until 2015.

Have another cherry...
Have another cherry…

There’s a difference of opinion as to whether Regina is self-fertile, or needs a pollinator. She appears to be the first, luckily. She’s very hardy, a sweet German cherry, grown commercially, even in Norway, and has lovely spring blossom. From July to August, the tree produces firm red fruits.

  • Cherries
  • Cherries
  • Cherries

How NOT to plant a tree

It’s so odd looking back over this because the garden has changed so much! became very obvious that the container the tree was unceremoniously dumped in was too small. A sure sign is poor growth, yellowing leaves and drying out very quickly.

I planted her in one of the raised veg beds (that’s where the greenhouse now stands). As ever, I couldn’t wait for an extra pair of hands and did the job myself. The tree came out of the tub, but digging the hole proved a little more difficult.

A spit below soil level, I hit yellow clay and rubble. This was too shallow for the root ball, so she ended up in a little castle, fashioned out of spare bricks to bring the soil level up to the right height.

A year later, she got moved again when the greenhouse came along, into a double-depth raised bed with the raspberries. Of course, she didn’t stay there. That bed was removed to make way for a seating area (and access to the greenhouse) in 2021.

It was another case of ‘is this plant performing well enough to keep’? The answer was no. Although we got a small crop, the birds beat us to it. Luckily, she is now in a friend’s garden and is alive and well!

  • Regina garden in pictures April
  • Regina garden in pictures April
  • Regina
  • Cherry Regina garden in pictures April

Potted guide – pruning cherries

Potted guide
  • You don’t prune members of the cherry family (Prunus, including apricots, plums, etc) in winter, to avoid silver leaf disease. Any pruning that needs doing is carried out in midsummer, apart from formative pruning.
  • In the first spring after planting, choose three or four well-spaced branches on a clear trunk of at least 75cm (29″), and shorten them by two-thirds.
  • Remove the central stem to just above the highest of the selected branches. Remove any laterals below the selected branches.
  • The following spring, select three or four sub-laterals on each branch and shorten these by half to create an open framework.
  • In future years, cherries will require only occasional pruning to remove damaged, badly placed or diseased wood in the summer.

Cherries page updated August 2022