Cherry Blossoms: The Unofficial Flower of Japan
Known as the “Japanese Cherry Blossom,” cherry blossoms are the unofficial flower of Japan. Planting a cherry blossom tree is an excellent to add a distinguished beauty to your home that will truly be a site to behold. Even though they are, of course, not native to the United States, they can be found through the country. In fact, in Los Angeles alone, there are over 2,000 trees in Lake Balboa in Van Nuys! Though they are popularly known to issue in springtime, they can be grown in more than just spring in areas that tend have warmer climates. Planting Japanese Cherry Blossoms are also a great way to “go green.” Like other trees, Japanese Cherry Blossoms reduce your carbon footprint. They also provide other benefits such as: absorbing storm water runoff in big cities as well as providing a home for wildlife that may otherwise unfavorably cohabitate your trashcan.
Japanese Cherry Blossoms were first brought over to the United States in 1912 as a gift of a then newly formed friendship. Though most famously grown along the shore of the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., you can grow them in your very own backyard or local park. Having been around for centuries, these flowers also have a very unique metaphorical meaning. Traditionally, they are distinguished as the fleeting nature of life. They are also a symbol of morality given their quick, overwhelming beauty, and the sudden, short death. Connecting them with the samurai, the falling cherry blossoms represent the fallen warriors who died in war. But the one overwhelming theme they represent is beauty. They will liven up your home, and make a lovely place of refuge.
Though there are many different verities, the most popular cherry blossom in Japan is the Somei Yoshino. You would recognize it right off the bat, as the flowers are almost entirely white with a hint of light pink especially near the stem. But Cherry Blossoms are very particular depending on the type of region you are in. This is why it is helpful to visit your local nursery, so they can help you find the type of cherry blossom that will grow in your USDA zone. You can even check your zone online through The United States National Arboretum website at www.usna.usda.gov.
Once you find your Cherry Blossom, it is important to know how, and where to plant them. For instance, you want to make sure that you plant your tree on an incline, and that it is shielded from the wind, as they are sensitive to extreme cold and frost. It is also absolutely necessary that you plant your Cherry Blossom tree in an area of complete sun exposure, and where there is enough fertile soil. Once you found your desirable spot, you will want to dig a hole about half the side of the plant base. In addition to making sure the trunk is not exposed, you should have around three inches of your plant should be above ground. Though clay is generally best, the type of soil you use to fill the hole depends on the type of Cherry Blossom you have. One warning to keep in mind is not to fertilize when planting as it can burn the tree roots system.
As far as maintenance goes, you should be sure to water your cherry blossom tree at least once a week so that the topsoil is kept moist. But after the first year, you can back off on the watering to once every two to three weeks. If you live in especially hot weather, you stick to watering on a weekly basis. With a lifetime of about twenty years, you should be able to your tree for a long time.