How to grow Cheals Weeping cherry

There are approximately 550 forms of weeping cherry, but in England at least Cheals Weeping cherry is by far the most popular in cultivation. The 'Cheal's Weeping' common name is often interchangeable with the Japanese name ‘Kiku-shidare-sakura’ meaning ‘Weeping Chrysanthemum Cherry’. However although very similar they are in fact different forms. Prunus ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’ has a slightly less weeping-shaped canopy.

How to grow Cheal's Weeping cherry
As with most Japanese Cherries their origins have been obscured having been in cultivation for some 1000 years. This is why so many are not named according to strict nomenclature. All we really know is that it is an old Japanese cultivar which is known since the end of the 19th century and subsequently introduced into Europe around 1915.

With regards to its anglicised name, the Cheal in question is Joseph Cheal (1848-1935), a Quaker, nurseryman, gardener and landscape designer active. He is perhaps best remembered for his work carried out as part of the family firm 'Joseph Cheal and Son', who were a partnership of designers active during this period. He is best known for his hand in designing the gardens at Hever Castle, Kent, Kirkstall Abbey, Yorkshire and Polesden Lacey, Surrey.

Along with his father (John Cheal 1800-1896) and brother Alexander, Joseph worked at the Lowfield Nurseries at Crawley, Sussex, England, which was established in 1871. Presumably Prunus ‘Kiku-shidare-sakura’ was propagated here in significant numbers to fulfil their own garden designs, hence the attachment of the 'Cheal' name.

How to grow Cheal's Weeping cherry
Cheals Weeping cherry is a small tree which under favourable conditions (and dependent on chosen rootstock and grafting technique) can be expected to reach an approximate height and spread of 2.5-4 metres. It has steeply arching or drooping branches, clothed with glossy-green, serrated leaves. In the spring the new foliage emerge a bronze-green colour.

Of course, Cheal's Weeping cherry is favoured for its stunning and comparatively large, double pink blooms which wreath the branches in April or May. Each flower can be upto 3.5cm wide and usually , but not always, appear on bare branches before the leaves emerge.

So long as it is positioned in full sun, Cheal's Weeping cherry will perform well in all types of well drained soil, including chalk soils. Avoid soils prone to waterlogging, and add plenty of organic matter to poor soils before planting.

Cheal's Weeping cherry received the Award of merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1915.
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