May, 2020: Nanking Cherry
Erie Colorado area landscapes – plant of the month
Nanking Cherry or Prunus tomentosa is a species of shrub native to northern and western China. It is a large shrub, up to 10’ high and wide here in our Erie Colorado landscapes. It has been planted as an ornamental shrub because of its profuse bloom of whitish pink flowers in early to mid-spring. Its fruit is edible and it has been planted and pruned for bonsai. Its fruit is about ½” in diameter, but, though called a cherry, it more resembles a plum. It is hardy in Colorado, actually down to zone 2, and can handle our late spring freezes. The fruit is tart, but will make for tasty pies and jellies. It is fast growing, sometimes adding 12-18” of growth per year in a good growing season. It can also handle a heavy prune if it becomes unwieldy.
Nanking Cherry requires full sun, well-drained soil and prefers a slightly acidic environment. However, it is tolerant of a wide range of soil and moisture conditions. On larger properties, it can be planted as a hedgerow or as part of a windbreak. Consider adding Nanking Cherry to your landscape if you have the room for a larger flowering shrub in full sun.