The Sweet cherry is a deciduous tree that typically grows 20-30’ tall in cultivation, but may reach 60’ in its native habitat. Fragrant white flowers (to 1.5” diameter) appear singly or in 3-5 flowered clusters in spring slightly before the foliage emerges. Flowers are followed by small sweet red to black cherries which ripen in early summer. Oval, dull, dark green leaves (to 6” long) turn yellow in fall. Birds and squirrels love the fruit, and are undoubtedly in part responsible for the naturalization of this tree from gardens into the wild in eastern and midwestern North America. Hardiness zones 3-8.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
- Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 3-4 months.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Fill a pot with a mixture of half potting soil and half sand or vermiculite. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the container and leave it to drain.
- Put the pot in a warm, sunny area.
- Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet. The seeds take 2 months to sprout. 7. The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.