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Cherry - Prunus Avium (Sweet) / Prunus Cerasus (Sour)

Cherry trees need cold winters and hot, dry summers, and are best suited to the Hawke's Bay, parts of Waikato, Wairarapa, Nelson, Blenheim, Canterbury and Central Otago. The best choice for a low-chill variety if you don't get a lot of winter frosts, is Lapins.

Usually, in New Zealand, the cherry varieties are grown on 'Colt' rootstock which does well in difficult soil and is vigorous and hardy. If you want a more dwarf-stye (up to 3m), it is good to choose one with an 'Edabriz' interstem (between the rootstock and the chosen variety).

A typical Christmas treat, sweet cherries have a short harvest season between December-January. Sweet cherries usually need a pollinator, unlike their sour cherry cousins, unless they are the self-fertile Stella or Lapins varieties. Double-grafted trees are a great solution where space is limited, with two cross-pollinating varieties on the same tree, usually ripening at different times and spreading your harvest season over at least a few weeks. Cherries can help lower the risk of gout attacks according to some research, and potentially have sleeping aid properties too.

Cherries do best in very well-drained, fertile soil. They also require at least eight hours of sunlight daily, so you don't plant them where they will be in the shade during the majority of the day. They can be fragile with late frosts during blossom time, or with periods of rain or hail as the fruit reaches maturity, which cause the fruit to split.

Cherries can be challenging and susceptible to diseases such as silver leaf, bacterial blast, brown rot, root rot and pests such as black aphids. These diseases are challening in their preferred climate, but will be made more difficult by warmer and high humidity climates. ​The other challenge for cherries is the birds (and the possums!) so if you don't want to sacrifice your crop then you'll need to construct an enclosure or netting. 

Cherry Varieties

Click on a row, or scroll right, to view more information. To look up your climate zone click here.

Fruit Type
Months Harvest
Good Keeper
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