Cherry trees are available in a rather wide range of colors and sizes. Many gardeners divide flowering cherries or ornamental varieties, and varieties that produce edible fruit. Both have been grown for thousands of years, causing a series of very refined cherry cultivars, some of which are very valuable. Regions such as Japan are particularly famous for their cherries in bloom, while cherries from regions such as Washington state are well known in some culinary circles.
Flowering or ornamental cherry trees produce flowers, but no fruit. Some examples of flowering cherries include weeping cherries, Okame, autumn cherries, Kwanzan cherries, and Yoshino cherries. These trees produce flowers in shades of white to pink, and some have very particular leaves as well. The cherry blossoms fall twice a year, in the spring and fall, making it a particularly welcome addition to some gardens. One of the largest cherry blossom collections outside of Japan is in Washington, DC on the National Mall.
Fruit-producing trees can be divided into cherries, also known as wild cherries, and black cherries. Sweet cherries, as you might imagine, produce fruit that is naturally sweet, while the sour cherry fruit is a jarring note. Eating cherries are usually sweet, while sour cherries are used for canning, pieces, preserves and other applications where sugar can be added to temper the out of tune note of the fruit.
At first Richmond, Rainier, Amur Chokecherry, Bing, Van, Sweetheart, Queen Anne, Stella, and Black Cherries are all examples of cherry trees that produce edible fruit. In addition to fruiting in summer to early autumn, these trees also produce beautiful flowers in spring. Some people like to grow fruit cherries in their gardens so that they can enjoy the flowers and fruit, while others prefer to use the cherries in bloom, to avoid messy accumulation of fruit and boxes.
Many garden shops bring cherry seedlings to their customers, and can order special varieties for people on request. Different cherries thrive in slightly different climates, so it is important to find cherry trees that will grow safely in a climatic zone. A good way to find safe cultivars is to hit the whole neighborhood to see if someone else is growing cherries, and to see how their trees are doing. If the cherry trees are thriving, the gardener is usually happy to provide information on the grape variety that he or she is growing.