Sweet cherry Prunus avium 'Sweetheart' (F)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
cherry (sweet) 'Sweetheart'


The Sweetheart Cherry is a widely revered fruit tree known for its charming and productive nature. It exhibits a splendid profusion of delicate white blossoms during the spring, which create a captivating and picturesque display. Post the floral showcase, the tree begins to bear its signature fruit: the Sweetheart Cherry. These cherries are plump, heart-shaped, and boast a vibrant red hue that is both inviting and indicative of their juicy quality. The flesh of the cherries is firm and succulent, providing a sweet yet slightly tangy flavor that is often celebrated by cherry enthusiasts. The tree itself has a robust and spreading canopy with lush green foliage that serves as a verdant backdrop to both the blossoms and the fruit. Overall, the Sweetheart Cherry tree is a beautiful and bountiful addition to any landscape, providing both aesthetic appeal and delectable fruit.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Sweetheart Cherry, Sweet Cherry, Wild Cherry, Gean.

    • Common names

      Prunus avium 'Sweetheart'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Prunus avium, commonly known as the sweet cherry, is generally considered safe for human consumption when it comes to the fruit. However, it is important to note that other parts of the cherry plant, such as the leaves, stems, and seeds/pits, contain compounds that can be toxic to humans if ingested. The pits, in particular, contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide when chewed or digested. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning from cherry pits can include headache, confusion, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and potentially could lead to coma or death if consumed in very large quantities. The risk of poisoning from cherry pits is generally low unless a large number of pits are crushed and ingested.

    • To pets

      The sweet cherry is also generally safe for pets when it comes to the fleshy fruit part. However, similar to humans, the rest of the cherry plant, including leaves, stems, and seeds/pits, can be toxic to pets. The pits contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide when ingested. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning in pets can include panting, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, bright red gums, and shock, which can be fatal if not treated promptly. Pet owners should prevent their animals from chewing on cherry stems, leaves, and pits to avoid the risk of poisoning.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      25 feet (7.62 meters)

    • Spread

      15 feet (4.57 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attractive Blossoms: Produces beautiful white to pale pink spring flowers that enhance visual appeal.
    • Edible Fruits: Bears sweet cherries, which can be eaten fresh, cooked, or preserved for various culinary uses.
    • Wildlife Attraction: Cherries provide a food source for birds and other wildlife, supporting biodiversity.
    • Shade Provider: As a medium-sized tree, it offers shade in gardens and yards during the warm season.
    • Aesthetic Landscape Element: The Sweet Cherry tree's form, foliage, and color make it an excellent ornamental plant.
    • Seasonal Interest: Offers year-round interest with blossoms in spring, fruit in summer, and foliage changes in autumn.

  • 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 for crafting furniture, musical instruments, and ornamental carvings due to its fine grain and attractive color.
    • Dye Production: Cherry tree bark and fruit can be used to create natural dyes for textiles in shades of pink, red, or brown, depending on the mordant used.
    • Agricultural Practices: Cherry trees can be interspersed in agroforestry systems to increase biodiversity and serve as a beneficial companion plant to other crops.
    • Bird Habitat: Cherry trees are known to attract birds which can help control the population of pests in gardens and provide natural bird watching opportunities.
    • Photography Prop: During flowering season, the visually striking cherry blossoms are sought after by photographers and may be used as a backdrop for photo sessions.
    • Edible Landscaping: Cherry trees are used in edible landscapes and permaculture designs for both their aesthetic appeal and their fruit production.
    • Pollinator Attraction: Cherry blossoms attract bees and other pollinators, which is critical for the pollination of many other plants and crops.
    • Seasonal Celebrations: Cherry blossom time is celebrated in various cultures, famously in Japan with "Hanami" festivals, that could inspire similar celebrations elsewhere.
    • Art Inspiration: The beauty of cherry blossoms has inspired numerous artists to create paintings, poems, and songs, contributing to cultural artistic heritage.
    • Plant Studies: Cherry trees are sometimes used in educational settings for botanical studies due to their distinct phenological changes, from budding to leaf fall.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The cherry tree is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The cherry tree is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Love and Romance: Commonly known by the name Sweet Cherry, the Prunus avium 'Sweetheart' is often associated with love and deep affection, owing to its sweet fruits and the heart-like shape that cherries can sometimes resemble.
    • Fertility and Renewal: Cherries are a spring fruit, blossoming in abundance, which symbolizes new beginnings and the fertility of nature.
    • Youth and Innocence: The delicate and fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms epitomizes the transient nature of life, often connected to the innocence and purity of youth.
    • Beauty and Life: The Sweet Cherry's attractive blossoms and the life-sustaining fruit symbolize both aesthetic beauty and the essential sustenance that nature provides.

Every 7-10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Not needed
Early spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Sweet cherry (Sweetheart) should be watered deeply to encourage deep root growth, approximately once a week during dry conditions, applying about 1.5 to 2 gallons of water per session. Young trees especially need regular watering until they are well established. In the growing season, if there's been no significant rainfall, additional watering may be necessary. However, during the winter, watering can be reduced significantly, and the tree may only need water in the event of an extended dry spell. It is essential to avoid waterlogging, so ensuring proper soil drainage is important to prevent root rot.

  • sunLight

    Sweet cherry (Sweetheart) thrives in full sunlight, requiring at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun per day. The best spot for planting is an open area free from shade provided by buildings or taller plants to maximize sunlight exposure, which is crucial for fruit production and overall health.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Sweet cherry (Sweetheart) grows best in temperate climates, with ideal temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate winter temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit but are susceptible to frost damage, particularly during the blossom period. Summer temperatures should generally not exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit, as excessive heat can cause stress to the tree and impact fruit quality.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning sweet cherry (Sweetheart) is necessary to maintain tree health, encourage fruit production, and allow for better light penetration and air circulation within the canopy. Pruning should be carried out in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. The main goals are to remove dead or diseased wood, thin out over-crowded branches, and shape the tree. Annually pruning to remove vertical shoots and inward-growing branches helps to maintain a productive, well-structured tree.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Sweetheart cherry trees require well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. A soil mix of loam, peat, sand, and compost is ideal to ensure proper drainage and fertility.

  • plantRepotting

    Sweetheart cherry trees planted in containers may need repotting every 2 to 3 years to ensure enough room for growth and to replenish soil nutrients.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Sweetheart cherry trees thrive in moderate humidity levels, typical of outdoor environments; they do not have specific indoor humidity requirements.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Plant Sweetheart cherry trees in large pots with drainage holes and place in a sunny spot.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-draining soil in a sunny position, ensuring ample space for growth.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The 'Sweetheart' cherry tree, a variety of Prunus avium, begins its life cycle when a stratified seed germinates in early spring. The seedling stage follows, where the young plant establishes roots and shoots, slowly developing into a sapling with juvenile leaves. As it matures, the sapling transitions into the vegetative stage, where it further grows in size and branches, forming a more substantial trunk and wider canopy. Upon reaching maturity after several years, typically between 3-7 years, it enters the reproductive stage, flowering in spring with white, fragrant blossoms that attract pollinators, which are essential for fruit set. The tree produces sweet, red to dark red cherries in mid-summer, and after fruiting, it enters a period of dormancy in autumn and winter. Finally, as a perennial plant, it undergoes these growth cycles annually for many years, typically up to 20-30 years, depending on growing conditions and care.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early spring

    • The Sweet Cherry Tree, formally known as Prunus avium 'Sweetheart', can be propagated most effectively through grafting, particularly during the dormant season, which is typically in late winter or early spring. In grafting, a scion, which is a short piece of a stem with buds, from the 'Sweetheart' cherry is joined to a rootstock of another cherry variety that provides vigor and adaptability to soil conditions. This is done by making a diagonal cut on both the scion and the rootstock, ensuring the cuts are of the same angle so they match up perfectly. The two parts are then fitted together and bound with grafting tape or waxed material to hold the joint secure. It is critical that the vascular cambium of the scion aligns with that of the rootstock to ensure proper vascular connection, allowing for the transfer of nutrients and water. The grafted joint is then usually covered with a grafting compound to prevent drying out and to promote healing and union of the graft. Grafting not only allows for clonal reproduction of the 'Sweetheart' cherry but also often results in earlier fruit production compared to trees grown from seed.