Create Your Garden

Prunus serotina (Black Cherry)

Black Cherry, Wild Black Cherry, Rum Cherry

Prunus serotina, Black Cherry, Wild Black Cherry, Rum Cherry, Flowering Tree, White flowers, Red Berries
Prunus serotina, Black Cherry, Wild Black Cherry, Rum Cherry, Flowering Tree, White flowers, Red Berries
Prunus serotina, Black Cherry, Wild Black Cherry, Rum Cherry, Flowering Tree, White flowers, Red Berries

Prunus serotina (Black Cherry) is a large deciduous tree of pyramidal to conical habit in youth, becoming oval-headed with spreading, arching branches with age. Its pendulous branches are clothed in oblong, finely serrated, glossy green leaves, 5 in. long (12 cm), with pointed tips. The foliage turns bright golden-yellow and red in the fall. In early spring to early summer, a profusion of fragrant white flowers held in dangling clusters, up to 6 in. long (15 cm), appear right after the leaves emerge. The blossoms give way to pendulous clusters of small, rounded, red berries that ripen to dark purple-black in late summer. Attractive to birds and other wildlife, the berries are bitter but can be harvested for processing into jams and jellies. The bark on mature trees is dark and scaly.

Black Cherry is an important host plant for several butterfly species, including the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) and Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax).

It is also a magnet for numerous bird species, including the American Robin, Baltimore Oriole, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Bluebird, House Finch, Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, and Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Its abundant berries and dense foliage provide essential food and shelter, making it a cherished resource for avian visitors.

Black Cherry is the largest and most important US native cherry. Prized for the beauty and quality of its wood, Black Cherry is used for furniture, paneling, professional and scientific instruments, handles, and toys. A cough medicine, wild cherry syrup, is obtained from its bark. Easy to grow, Black Cherry will reward you with spring lace-like blossoms, attractive summer foliage, lovely fall colors, and ornamental berries. A beautifully shaped shade tree.

  • Grows up to 50-80 ft. tall (12-24 m) and 30-60 ft. wide (9-18 m). Will produce abundant stray seedlings.
  • Performs best in full sun or part shade in moist, well-drained soils. Best flower and fruit production is obtained in full sun. Although somewhat tolerant of dry conditions, Black Cherry will respond best to rich, moist soil and a heavy mulch to keep the root zone cool.
  • Keep an eye out for leaf spot, die back, leaf curl, powdery mildew, root rot, fireblight, aphids, scale, borers, leafhoppers, caterpillars, tent caterpillars, Japanese beetles, and spider mites.
  • The bark, leaves, and seeds of this species are especially toxic.
  • Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to horses.
  • Native to eastern North America, Mexico, and Central America.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Prunus - Flowering Cherry Tree
Common names Black Cherry
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 50' - 80'
(15.2m - 24.4m)
Spread 30' - 60'
(9.1m - 18.3m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, New Jersey, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Southwest, Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas, Ohio, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona
Tolerance Dry Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Prunus (Cherry Tree)
Not sure which Prunus (Cherry Tree) to pick?
Compare Now

Alternative Plants to Consider

Prunus mume (Plum Blossom)
Prunus x cistena (Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry)
Prunus ilicifolia (Hollyleaf Cherry)
Prunus caroliniana (Carolina Cherry Laurel)
Prunus americana (American Plum)
Prunus ‘Snow Fountains’ (Weeping Cherry)

Recommended Companion Plants

Acer rubrum (Red Maple)
Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple)
Sassafras albidum (Sassafras)
Ulmus americana (American Elm)
Carpinus caroliniana (American Hornbeam)
Ilex opaca (American Holly)
Pinus taeda (Loblolly Pine)
Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Small Trees and Shrubs That Attract Birds
Small Trees and Shrubs That Bloom In Fall
Small Trees and Shrubs That Bloom In Winter
Roots of Life: Exploring the Diverse World of Trees
Prunus (Cherry Blossom)
Green Canopy, Better World: Exploring the Benefits of Trees
Trees that Invite Wildlife to Your Garden
35 Best Flowering Trees for a Spectacular Garden Display
Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino Cherry Blossom)
Prunus pendula (Weeping Cherry Blossom)
Prunus x subhirtella (Higan Cherry)
Prunus serrulata (Japanese Cherry Blossom)
Shrubs and Trees with Attractive Winter Bark
Great Shrubs with Berries for Winter Interest for New England
Late Season Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Midseason Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Early Season Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Blooming Seasons of Cherry Blossom Trees
Fragrant Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Flowering Cherry Trees with Attractive Fall Colors
Favorite Weeping Cherry Blossoms for Your Garden
Which Cherry Blossom Tree for my Garden?
Pretty Cherry Blossom Trees for Your Garden
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
Buy Plants

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Prunus - Flowering Cherry Tree
Common names Black Cherry
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 50' - 80'
(15.2m - 24.4m)
Spread 30' - 60'
(9.1m - 18.3m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, New Jersey, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Southwest, Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas, Ohio, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona
Tolerance Dry Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Prunus (Cherry Tree)
Not sure which Prunus (Cherry Tree) to pick?
Compare Now

Gardening Ideas

Plant Calculator

How many Prunus serotina (Black Cherry) do I need for my garden?

Input your garden space dimensions

Your Shopping List

Plant Quantity
Prunus serotina (Black Cherry) N/A Buy Plants

Please Login to Proceed

You Have Reached The Free Limit, Please Subscribe to Proceed

Subscribe to Gardenia

To create additional collections, you must be a paid member of Gardenia
  • Add as many plants as you wish
  • Create and save up to 25 garden collections
Become a Member

Plant Added Successfully

You have Reached Your Limit

To add more plants, you must be a paid member of our site Become a Member

Update Your Credit
Card Information

Cancel

Create a New Collection

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

    You have been subscribed successfully

    Join Gardenia.net

    Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

    Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

    Join now and start creating your dream garden!

    Join Gardenia.net

    Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

    Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

    Join now and start creating your dream garden!

    Find your Hardiness Zone

    Find your Heat Zone

    Find your Climate Zone