Story and Photos by Yvonne Lelong Bordelon

The sight of the masses of hot pink flowers that cover the bare branches of Taiwan cherry trees in late winter definitely chases the blues away. Hummingbirds, honeybees, and butterflies hurry to sip the nectar. Small cherries soon follow and before they fully ripen, songbirds gobble them up.

The red cherries ripen to black and add lovely color to the garden, until the birds find them.

The tree is heat tolerant, but rather short-lived, only 10-15 years. It reseeds readily so you’ll usually have a replacement on-hand when needed. The seedlings exhibit much variation in form from single trunks to multiple.

Honeybees and native bees actively visit the late winter flowers.

Some freeze damage may occur in North Louisiana, so it would be wise to plant in a sheltered location there. Companion plants include Turk’s cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var drummondii), Glenn Dale hybrid azaleas (Rhododendron cvs.), and willow-leaf aster (Symphyotrichum praeltum).

Flocks of migrating cedar waxwings dine on the half-ripe cherries in March. Resident songbirds have to wait in line for a taste.

Quick Facts and Keys to Success
Common Name: Taiwan cherry
Botanical Name: Prunus campanulata
Zone(s): 8-9
Color: Bright rosy pink
Blooming Period: Mid-January to mid-February
Type: Deciduous small flowering tree
Mature Size: 15-25 feet
Exposure: Full sun to part open shade
When to Plant: Transplant volunteer seedlings in late winter.
How to Plant: Plant in fertile, acid, well-drained soil 6-8 feet apart during cool weather. Propagate by cold treated seed in spring or tip cuttings rooted under mist in spring. 
Watering: Regular irrigation
When to Prune: Prune to shape when trees are young.
In Your Landscape: Taiwan cherry trees add color and interest to the landscape and attract birds and pollinators to the garden.

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