How to grow Prunus shirotae

Also commonly known (or if you prefer - confused) and sold as the similar Prunus 'Mount Fuji', Prunus shirotae is a one of the most popular of all the ornamental flowering Japanese cherries. Like all selected forms this will be a grafted onto a rootstock either at the base of the tree or at the crown. Prunus serrula is often used for its ornamental bark or 'Colt', or Gisela 5. It is a vigorous tree with a wide spreading head of horizontal or drooping branches. The leaves a are bronze-green colour when young, turning to a mid-green as they mature, with a distinctive fringed appearance.

How to grow Prunus shirotae
It is noted for its profusion of fragrant, snow-white blooms which appear from late March to April. The flowers are single or semi-double, approximately 1-2cm across, and borne on long, drooping clusters.

Under favourable conditions (and depending on the rootstock) you can expect Prunus shirotae to reach a height of between 10-25 ft, with an approximate width of 15-35ft - depending on the rootstock.

It is best to plant Prunus shirotae in the autumn while the soil is still warm, but so long as you keep an eye on watering, container grown specimens can be planted any time of year. It is a shallow rooted selection that should not be planted too deeply nor should the soil around the base of the plant be cultivated too often or too deeply. It will be perfectly happy in most ordinary garden soils, preferably with a trace of lime. Just avoid soils that are prone to drying out over the summer or that become waterlogged during the winter.

Provide a position of full sun and stake with a stout support, especially in exposed areas. Pruning is not necessary other an to maintain a tidy shape or to remove weak, diseased or damaged branches.

Prunus shirotae was introduced to Western gardeners in 1905, and later received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1984.

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