Sweet cherry Prunus avium 'Sunburst' (D)

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
cherry (sweet) 'Sunburst'


The 'Sunburst' cherry tree is a decidant variety is adorned with a profusion of white flowers that emerge from pink buds, creating a stunning spring display. The blooms are densely packed along the branches, attracting pollinators with their delicate fragrance. This cherry variety produces large, sweet fruit that is dark red to almost black when fully ripe. The skin of the cherries is glossy, enrobing the juicy flesh within. The leaves of the 'Sunburst' cherry are green and ovate with a serrated edge, providing a lush, green canopy throughout the growing season. In autumn, the foliage can turn to shades of orange and red, offering a striking contrast to the landscape before they shed their leaves for winter.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Sweet Cherry, Wild Cherry, Gean.

    • Common names

      Cerasus avium (L.) Moench

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The sweet cherry can pose a toxicity risk to humans if certain parts are consumed. The flesh of the fruit is safe to eat, but the seeds, leaves, and stems contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide when chewed or digested. Swallowing whole cherry pits is not likely to cause harm, but crushing or chewing the pits can lead to cyanide poisoning. Symptoms may include headache, confusion, anxiety, vomiting, and potentially severe respiratory and cardiovascular problems if consumed in large quantities.

    • To pets

      Similar to humans, the sweet cherry can also be toxic to pets if certain parts are ingested. The seeds, leaves, and stems contain cyanogenic glycosides, capable of releasing cyanide. Harm usually occurs if the animal chews the pits, or consumes the leaves or stems in significant amounts. Signs of cyanide poisoning in pets can include dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, and shock. Immediate veterinary care is essential if a pet has consumed these parts of the plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      15-20 feet (4.5-6 meters)

    • Spread

      15-20 feet (4.5-6 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Cherry 'Sunburst' adds aesthetic appeal to gardens with its attractive spring blossoms and autumn foliage.
    • Fruit Production: It yields sweet, edible cherries that can be enjoyed fresh or used in various culinary dishes.
    • Wildlife Attraction: The fruit and flowers are a food source for birds and beneficial pollinators such as bees.
    • Shade Provider: Once fully grown, this cherry tree can provide shade and cooling effects for outdoor spaces.
    • Seasonal Interest: With blossoms in spring and fruit in summer, it offers different points of interest throughout the growing season.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Woodworking - The wood of the cherry tree can be used to make furniture, cabinets, and specialty wood items due to its rich color and attractive grain.
    • Culinary Smoking - Wood chips from cherry trees are commonly used for smoking meats, imparting a sweet and fruity smoke flavor.
    • Natural Dyes - The bark, leaves, and fruit pits can be used to derive natural dyes for textile coloring.
    • Ornamental Use - Cherry trees can be planted in gardens and parks for their beautiful spring blossoms and aesthetic value.
    • Wildlife Habitat - Cherry trees provide food and shelter for various species of birds and other wildlife.
    • Beekeeping - Cherry blossoms are beneficial for bees, providing an early source of nectar during the spring season.
    • Craft Material - Branches, twigs, and stems can be used in crafting, such as for wreaths, floral arrangements, or as natural decor elements.
    • Photography & Art - The picturesque blossoms provide a stunning backdrop for photography and are often depicted in paintings and artwork.
    • Educational Resource - Cherry trees can be used as a teaching tool in botany and horticulture courses, illustrating topics such as plant biology and cultivation.
    • Cultural Significance - Cherry trees often hold cultural significance and are used in festivals and celebrations, symbolizing beauty and the transient nature of life.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Sweet Cherry Tree is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Sweet Cherry Tree is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Youth and Innocence: The Sweet Cherry, with its delicate blossoms, symbolizes the freshness and purity often associated with youth.
    • Education and New Beginnings: With its name 'Sunburst,' this variety of Sweet Cherry represents the dawning of new ventures and enlightenment, akin to a sunrise marking the onset of a new day.
    • Love and Romance: Historically, cherry blossoms have been linked to love in many cultures, and the Sweet Cherry tree carries this association due to its beautiful and alluring flowers.
    • Impermanence of Life: As Sweet Cherry blossoms have a short bloom period, they are often seen as a reminder of the fleeting nature of life, echoing the theme of transience in human experiences.
    • Spring and Renewal: Sweet Cherries bloom in spring, a season that epitomizes rebirth and renewal, showcasing the regenerative cycle of the natural world.
    • Good Fortune: In some traditions, the Sweet Cherry tree is considered lucky and is associated with future happiness and success.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Not required
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Sweet Cherry tree should be watered deeply once a week during the first growing season to help establish a strong root system. Adjust the frequency based on weather conditions; during periods of drought or extreme heat, increase watering to twice a week. Each watering should provide the tree with approximately 15 to 20 gallons of water, allowing the moisture to penetrate deeply into the soil. In subsequent years, watering can be reduced as the tree becomes more drought-tolerant, but during dry spells, supplemental watering will still be beneficial.

  • sunLight

    Sweet Cherry trees thrive in full sunlight and should be planted in a location that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun each day. Avoid planting in areas that are prone to late frosts, as the tree flowers early and can be damaged by cold temperatures.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Sweet Cherry trees prefer a temperate climate and can tolerate winter temperatures down to about -20°F. The ideal growing temperatures for this fruit tree are between 65°F and 75°F. Prolonged temperatures above 95°F may stress the tree and affect fruit production.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Sweet Cherry trees to remove dead or damaged branches, to encourage a strong tree structure, and to promote air circulation, which reduces disease risk. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Thinning out the canopy also allows sunlight to penetrate, improving fruit production.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Sunburst cherry prefers well-drained, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. A blend of loamy soil, compost, and well-rotted manure would provide the nutrients and structure needed for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Sweet cherry trees like the Sunburst cherry are not commonly repotted as they are usually planted directly in the ground. They require ample space for their roots to spread, so repotting is not applicable for this species.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Sweet cherry trees such as the Sunburst cherry are outdoor plants and do not have specific humidity requirements. They are adaptable to the ambient humidity of their growing environment.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Not suitable for indoor growth due to size.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun, well-drained soil, space adequately.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Sunburst cherry tree (Prunus avium 'Sunburst') starts its life cycle as a seed, which germinates in the spring to produce a small sapling. As the sapling grows, it progresses through a juvenile phase where it develops a strong root system and branching structure. After several years, it reaches maturity and begins to flower, typically in early spring, with pollination facilitated by bees and other insects. Following successful pollination, the flowers develop into the cherries during the summer, reaching peak ripeness for harvest usually by late June or July. After fruiting, the tree enters a period of dormancy in the fall and winter months to conserve energy, shedding leaves and suspending growth until conditions improve with the return of warmer spring temperatures. Throughout the tree's life, which can span decades, it will repeat this seasonal cycle of growth, flowering, fruiting, and dormancy.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The 'Sunburst' cherry, a variety of Prunus avium, is commonly propagated by grafting. This process is typically done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Grafting involves taking a piece of a stem with leaf buds, known as a scion, from the 'Sunburst' cherry and attaching it onto the stock of a root system from a different cherry variety that is hardy and well-adapted to the soil and climate. The scion and the rootstock are cut at complementary angles to maximize the cambial contact between the two, then they are joined together and securely bound, often with grafting tape or wax, to protect the wound and maintain humidity while the graft heals. The success of grafting relies on a clean cut and a snug fit between the scion and rootstock to ensure the tissue of both merge and establish vascular connections, enabling the grafted cherry to thrive.