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Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'

Prunus incisa

You cannot fail to be enchanted by the sensational blossom display of Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ as you meander through Wisley’s Rock Garden this spring. Its profusion of pale red flowers seems to shimmer in the wind and dance in the spring sunlight.

Vital statistics

Common name
Fuji cherry
Family
Rosaceae
Height & spread
2.5m x 2.5m (8ft x 8ft)
Form
Rounded deciduous tree of shrub
Soil
Any moist, but well-drained and moderately fertile soil.
Aspect
Open position in full sun
Hardiness
Fully hardy to frost hardy

Prunus

This is a genus of more than 200 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. It was first introduced into Britain by a naval officer in the early 20th century. These plants are prized for their appetizing fruits, beautiful spring blossom and autumn colour. Included in this group are the almond, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum trees. Some Prunus are cultivated purely for ornamental interest, as not all of them produce edible fruit.

Prunus is found mainly in woodland and thickets spread through North, temperate regions and the mountains of South East Asia. They also grow in coastal sands, rocky places and cliffs.

The leaves are alternate, usually toothed and range from broadly ovate to lance-shaped, elliptic, oblong or obovate to almost rounded.

The ornamental cherry that we know today has been bred from wild varieties to produce larger and greater blossoms for a more sensational display. Flowering cherries can be spring or winter flowering trees producing single or double, white, pink or red blooms with five petals. Flowers, which are saucer, bowl or cup shaped are borne on upright or weeping stems and are generally followed by fleshy, spherical or ovoid fruits. 'Cherry blossom time' is one of the most beautiful times of the year.

Some Prunus are grown for their distinctive shiny bark such as P. maackii and P. serrula.

Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'

Prunus incisa is a spreading, rounded shrub of high ornamental quality. It is also suitable for hedging. The young leaves of P. incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ are long, yellow-green, lance- shaped and 0.6-3cm long, which turn a mid-green by summer and a vibrant orange red in autumn. In early spring, light red buds open to pale pink flowers with red centres, 1.5cm across which are borne singly or in pairs. Attractive dark purple fruits follow in autumn. P. incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ is extremely ornamental, intriguingly varied in character and easily grown.
 

Cultivation

  • Grow in any well-drained, moisture retentive soil.
  • Prefers an open position in full sun.
  • Pruning is rarely necessary, but when unavoidable is best done in late summer so that the cuts can heal before winter.
  • Bullfinches, caterpillars, aphids can be troublesome, as can bacterial canker, blossom wilt, honey fungus, silver leaf.

Propagation

  • Cherries can be propagated by budding onto seedling stocks in the nursery in summer or grafted in early spring and then sold for planting stock as one- or two-year-old trees.
  • Sow seed of species in containers outdoors in autumn. Cultivars will not come true from seed collected from trees.
  • Root greenwood cuttings of deciduous species, like P. incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ in early summer with bottom heat.
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