Stunning Spring Blooms Okame Cherry Tree
- Vivid Rosy Pink Blossoms in Early Spring
- Blooms in Hot and Humid South, and Hot and Dry West
- Fabulous Spring and Fall Color in the North
- Specimen Tree
- Requires Little Pruning
- Celebrated at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.
If you want a showy ornamental tree, the Okame Cherry Tree (Prunus ‘Okame’) will have your neighbors saying, “Oh my gosh, what is that and where did you get it?” This is one of the earliest blooming Flowering Cherry blossom trees and flowers beautifully from Canada to Central Florida.
Each year in late winter or early spring, well before other trees are waking up, the Okame Cherry blossoms put on an incredible display. Carmine-pink flowers open on bare stems before the leaves emerge. This ethereal display will thrill you and stir your soul.
The blooms last for a particularly long time compared to other Flowering Cherries. The rosy-pink flowers have a mild fragrance.
It’s no wonder Okame trees are on display each year at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. Visitors to this annual event will always remember how glorious these trees are in full bloom.
Okame blooms well in both the hot and humid South or the hot and dry West. It has a “low chill” requirement, so the blooms are reliable.
The further north you go, the more colorful the fall color display becomes. In colder climates, the Okame’s leaves turn a brilliant coppery orange-red with hints of yellow. It’s a magnificent finale for the year.
Even in winter, the tree has appeal. Once the leaves are gone, the textured reddish-bronze bark with its striking raised lenticels (pores) add an enormous amount of interest.
Okame will grow about 1 to 2 feet a year. It does great in almost any soil, but it must be well-drained. Give it full or part sun and prepare to be amazed.
Let’s face it – we all need a spotlight moment every now and then. The Okame Cherry tree will be that for your yard. Order yours now!
How to Use Okame Cherry Tree in the Landscape
This is a superstar specimen tree for the planter bed in the front yard, or outside your kitchen window. Japanese Gardens call out for the Okame to accent them. Give it plenty of room to reach its full mature height and width (spread), because you won’t want to prune off any of the pretty blooms.
This tree is great by itself, or when planted in groups of 3 to create a shaded area in the yard or to grace a patio. You’ll plant them 15 to 20 feet apart, measuring from the trunk of the first to the trunk of the second.
A loose triangle looks amazing! Vary the spacing a bit between each tree to create a very natural-looking grove.
Underplant these trees with spring bulbs and perennials like Hosta and Coral Bells. Add a few shade tolerant evergreen shrubs, like Yew or Fragrant Sweet Box, to add structure to the planting. Hydrangea bushes can extend the season of interest, and Nature Hills has many to choose from.
Add your “supporting actor” plants while the Okame is small, so they have a chance to get themselves established together.
A classic look would be to create an allée, or double row, running along your drive if you have the space. Recreate the look in a smaller yard by placing a pair on either side of your entryway. You’ll love the feeling of walking through clouds of rosy-pink blooms.
This concept can also be used to create a destination in your yard. Why not create a special “Garden Room” away from the patio and house, and use 2 or 4 trees to line the path? Use shade-tolerant groundcovers like Purple Wintercreeper underneath the trees for a perfect, low maintenance look.
This is also a great tree for an office or store front to attract early spring attention. Everyone will be talking about it. Be sure to add exterior lighting and “uplight” directly into the canopy to capture attention at night, too.
#ProPlantTips for Care
Okame requires well-drained soil, so if you see puddles that linger after a rain, elevate your planting site with a mound. Add 12 to 18 inches of soil above your native soil line, spread to 3 feet wide. You’ll plant directly in that mound.
You’ll want to add a mulch layer 3 to 4 inches deep. Extend this mulch to 3 feet outside of the canopy to completely cover the root system.
Okame likes full sun but can do well in partial shade. When necessary, always favor the morning sun locations and give your tree protection from the hot afternoon sun. This is especially the case in hot, dry Western climates.
You can prune the tree to start its canopy at varying heights for different landscape appeal. When young, prune lateral branches to encourage height and create a taller canopy. Remove strongly upright branches on these laterals, once the desired height is achieved. This will encourage the spread to develop. The tree requires little pruning after this initial shaping.
One of the earliest Flowering Cherry trees to bloom, the Okame deserves a prime spot of your landscape real estate. Order yours today!