Fruiting Cherry trees for the northwest
Swansons selects cherry tree varieties which perform well in our unique climate. This information sheet provides you with a list of varieties recommended and usually offered by Swansons. Varieties are subject to change, so please call for current availability. For more detailed information on any cherry variety, please refer to individual plant signs or consult one of our nursery professionals.
CHOOSING THE PLANTS
Choose from our recommended list according to flavor, use, growth habit, and pollination requirements. In Western Washington cherries ripen from late June to early August depending on the variety and environmental conditions. Cherry trees are grafted onto specific rootstocks that affect the growth rate and eventual height the tree will grow to. All of the varieties we carry have been grafted onto dwarfing, semi-dwarfing, or standard size rootstock. The plant’s tag or the varietal sign designates whether it is dwarf or semi-dwarf and which rootstock it is grafted to
Pollination of cherries is mostly performed by bees. All sour cherry varieties are self-fertile and do not require a separate pollen source. In the past, all sweet cherry varieties required crosspollination from a different variety, but now there are varieties that have been bred to pollinate themselves. For varieties that do require a pollinator, it is necessary to either plant two different and compatible kinds of cherries close enough to each other to cross-pollinate, or to plant a cherry tree that has multiple compatible varieties grafted on to the tree (called combo trees). See the following chart illustrating cross-pollination compatibility of the cherry varieties we offer.
Swansons favorite cherry tree varieties
GLACIER (Sweet Cherry)
Developed at WSU, this self-pollinating variety is perfect for the gardener who has space for only one cherry tree. Dark red fruits have delicious flavor and resist cracking if exposed to rains in July.
MONTMORENCY (Pie or Tart Cherry)
This is a classic pie cherry with distinctive tart flavor and red juice. Self-fertile tree bears early, heavily and regularly.
RAINIER (Sweet Cherry)
This yellow-blushed-red fruit is a Washington State favorite. Firm, fine-textured yellow flesh with a distinct flavor. Resists cracking and holds well on the tree after ripening. A heavy-producing crop can be thinned to produce larger fruit if desired.
Combo Cherries are trees that have had multiple varieties of cherries grafted onto the main trunk. Therefore, they are trees that produce multiple varieties of cherries on each tree. Our combo cherries are available either as a common growing upright tree, or already trained in an espalier style. Espalier is a training system that creates a flat growing tree that is perfect up against fences or walls.
Each Combo Cherries Tree has at least 4 of the following varieties grafted onto it.
Bing / Lapin / Montmorency / Stella / Van
Each Espalier Combo Cherries has the following varieties grafted onto it.
Bing / Lapin / Rainier / Stella
The standard for high quality sweet cherries. The dark reddish-purple color is attractive as it hangs on the tree. The fruit is juicy and sweet, great for fresh eating and cooking.
Large, dark red, and firm fruit with a rich cherry flavor. It is resistant to splitting and self-fertile. Lapins makes an excellent pollinator for other varieties.
Large, dark red, sweet cherry with a fine flavor. Ripens in July. Moderate crack-resistance. Self-fertile and one of the best trees to use as a pollinizer for all other cherry varieties.
Tasty and firm fruit that is shiny black. It is a heavy bearing tree with lots of flowers. ‘Van’ is also one of the best pollinators for other cherry varieties.