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Everything You Need to Know About Stella Cherry Trees

Convenient and elegant, Stella cherry trees self-pollinate to yield juicy, delicious dark red fruit.

Stella Cherry Tree Adobe

Stella cherry trees are stunning plants suited for small gardens, due to their small stature. These vibrant trees have gorgeous white blossoms in spring that give way to dark red, juicy cherries that resist splitting and cracking. Best of all, Stella cherry trees are self-fertile, so you only need to plant one for an abundant crop. Plant one in your garden and you’ll have fresh, tree-ripened cherries to snack on, bake a cobbler with, and more.

Stella Cherry Trees at a Glance

  • Juicy, sweet fruit resists splitting and cracking
  • Self-pollinating
  • Perfect for compact gardens
  • Can fruit in as few as 1-4 years
  • Attract birds
  • Do not require pruning to fruit

Appearance

Stella cherry trees are elegant flowering plants, with bright, soft white blossoms in spring. These flowers give way to the deep red, heart-shaped cherries that are ready for picking in summer. Four-inch green leaves emerge from the branches in summer, then turn yellow and red in fall before dropping in winter.

Stella cherry trees come in a variety of heights, as there are both traditional and semi-dwarf varieties. The traditional trees grow to 10-30 feet tall, while the semi-dwarf variety reach a maximum height of 18 feet.

Specifications

Appearance White blossoms in spring give way to deep red cherries. These trees have narrow, oval, four-inch green leaves in summer that turn yellow and red in fall.
Appearance White blossoms in spring give way to deep red cherries. These trees have narrow, oval, four-inch green leaves in summer that turn yellow and red in fall.
Height Semi-dwarf: 10-18 feet tall, Traditional: 10-30 feet tall
Hardiness Zones Zones 5-9
Type of tree Deciduous
Sunlight requirements Full sun to partial shade
Soil composition Highly adaptable but prefers moist, well-drained soil with a pH between 6-7

Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the regions where plants can grow, depending on minimum winter temperatures. Stella cherry trees are best-suited to Zones 5-9, across most of the country, and prefer moderate summers.

Planting

The best time to plant a Stella cherry tree is spring, after the last frost, or fall. We recommend taking these steps:

  • Choose a planting site with full sun or partial shade.
  • Clear away any debris, weeds, or turfgrass.
  • Dig a hole that’s the same depth of the root ball and twice the width, leaving a mound of soil in the center.
  • Tease the root ball gently with your hands or a small spade.
  • Place the tree on the mound of soil and spread the roots. You want the tree’s crown to be about one inch above the surrounding soil.
  • Backfill the hole halfway, then add water to the top.
  • Once the water drains away, finish backfilling the hole.
  • Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch over the root zone of your Stella cherry tree, being careful not to let it touch the trunk.

Growing Conditions

Stella cherry trees are low-maintenance with few pruning requirements and are adaptable to many different soil types.

Sun and shade

Stella cherry trees thrive in full sun with at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. They can also grow in partial shade, but they will yield less fruit.

Soil

Stella cherry trees are widely adaptable to a broad range of soil types, but they prefer moist, well-drained soil with a pH between 6-7.

Watering

When your Stella cherry tree is young and still establishing, water it deeply with a hose for 30 minutes once a week. As it matures, water it every 10 days to two weeks. You’ll know you need to water when the top two inches of soil feel dry, which you can test by inserting your finger into it. When it’s dry, water the soil to a depth of 8-12 inches.

Fertilizing

Do not fertilize your tree the first year after planting. After that, feed it with 1/10 pound of nitrogen each year for every year the tree has been alive, with a maximum of one pound per year. The best time to fertilize is in spring in one treatment, or spread it into two treatments over spring and summer.

Pruning

Stella cherry trees do not require pruning in order to keep fruiting—however, you should cut away any dead, damaged, or diseased branches as soon as you see them. If you want to prune for aesthetic purposes, do it in winter when the tree is dormant.

Harvesting

Stella cherry trees are self-fertile, so you only need to plant one tree to reap an abundance of cherries. Some nurseries sell Stella cherry trees that fruit as early as the first year, while others may take up to seven years to fruit. The cherries will be ready for harvest between June and July.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big do they get?

Semi-dwarf Stella cherry trees grow to a maximum height of 18 feet, while traditional ones can grow to be 30 feet tall.

How do you care for them?

Make sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy, and fertilize as needed. Only prune in winter when the tree is dormant.

What do the cherries taste like?

Stella cherries are firm, juicy, and sweet.

Do you need more than one to get fruit?

No, Stella cherry trees are self-fertile.

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