We’ve all heard the classic tale of the time when little George Washington chopped down a cherry tree with a hatchet, only to later admit to his wrongdoing with the famous phrase, “I cannot tell a lie.” Whether this well-known tale really did happen or not, we do know that finding a cherry tree in Florida is a rare occasion.
In celebration of George Washington’s birthday on February 22, we’re dedicating this post to growing cherry trees in Florida. While our mostly tropical climate is unfit to harvest traditional cherries, there are some varieties that can be produced in the Sunshine State. Take a look…
The Black Cherry (Prunus Serontina) is native to North America, and can be grown in areas of Florida north of Lake Okeechobee.
The standard size of a Black Cherry tree is 60 to 90 feet tall and 35 to 50 feet wide. It is generally used for making jam, cherry pie and flavorings (for soda, ice cream, cake).
The Barbados Cherry (Malpighia Glabra) is native to the West Indies as well as South and Central America, and can be grown in south Florida and the warmest areas of central Florida.
The standard size of a Barbados Cherry tree is about 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide. It is generally used for making jam, jelly, pie, sherbet and wine.
The Sargent Cherry (Prunus Sargentii) is native to Japan, and can be grown in the Florida panhandle.
The standard size of a Sargent Cherry tree is 25 to 40 feet tall and wide. It is generally used for home gardens.
The Surinam Cherry (Eugenia Uniflora) is native to tropical South America’s east coast, ranging from Suriname to southern Brazil, as well as parts of Paraguay and Uruguay, and can be grown in central and southeast Florida.
The standard size of a Surinam Cherry tree is 8 to 20 feet tall and 6 to 15 feet wide. It is generally used for fruit and as a superior hedge.
The Kwanzan Cherry (Prunus Serrulata) is native to East Asia, and can be grown in central and northwest Florida.
The standard size of a Kwanzan Cherry tree is 15 to 25 feet tall and wide. It is generally used for decoration.
Weeping Higan Cherry
The Weeping Higan Cherry (Prunus Subhirtella) is native to Japan and can be grown in the Florida panhandle.
The standard size of a Weeping Higan Cherry tree is 20 to 30 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide. It is generally used for specimen and shade.
[All Images Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]