Prunus Avium Plena: A Guide to the Beautiful double Cherry Blossom Tree

Prunus avium ‘Plena,’ also known as double cherry blossom or double gean, is a cultivar of the wild cherry tree that you may find captivating. As a gardening enthusiast or simply someone with an appreciation for beautiful blooms, you’ll undoubtedly be drawn to the graceful, arching branches covered in spectacular double white flowers. These blossoms create a stunning visual display in springtime, bringing life and elegance to any landscape.

Prunus Avium Plena
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When choosing to plant Prunus avium ‘ Plena,’ you should be aware of its growing requirements and preferences for optimal results. This deciduous tree thrives in well-draining, fertile soil with full sun to partial shade exposure. When properly cared for, your tree can reach a height of up to 15 meters. Additionally, the eye-catching ornamental features of Prunus avium ‘Plena’ are complemented by glossy green leaves, creating a delightful juxtaposition.

With Prunus avium ‘ Plena,’ not only will you be rewarded with a breathtaking floral display, but you will also be providing much-needed sustenance for various pollinators. Your tree will soon become a buzzing hub for the likes of bees and butterflies, creating a lovely natural spectacle to enjoy. The picturesque scenes that unfold in your garden each spring will no doubt leave you in awe of the beauty and charm that Prunus avium ‘ Plena’ brings.

Description and Overview

Species and Cultivar

Prunus avium ‘Plena’, commonly known as Double Gean, is a cultivar of the Prunus avium species. The species belongs to the Rosaceae family, which also includes cherries, plums, peaches, and almonds. The ‘Plena’ cultivar is well-known for its stunning double blooms and ornamental value in landscaping.

Deciduous Tree

As a deciduous tree, Prunus avium ‘Plena’ loses its leaves seasonally, typically during the fall. You can expect the tree to reach a mature height of around 50 to 60 feet (15-18 meters), and its canopy to span around 30 to 40 feet (9-12 meters) in width. The Double Gean showcases attractive clusters of fragrant white flowers in the spring, followed by small, inedible fruits in the summer.


Prunus avium ‘Plena’ is classified within the Rosaceae family and the Prunus genus, which comprises a diverse range of fruit and ornamental trees. To make the most of your Double Gean, consider the following care tips:

  • Sunlight: Ensure your tree receives full sun for optimal growth and flowering.
  • Soil: Plant in well-draining soil, preferably with a slightly acidic to neutral pH.
  • Watering: Maintain consistent moisture levels, but avoid overwatering or allowing the soil to become waterlogged.
  • Pruning: Perform regular pruning to promote a healthy growth habit and shape, removing any dead or diseased branches.

By considering these factors, you can work towards providing the ideal environment for your Prunus avium ‘Plena’, allowing it to thrive and showcase its ornamental beauty in your landscape.

Growth and Appearance

Size and Shape

Prunus avium ‘Plena’ is a deciduous tree that typically reaches a height of 40 to 50 feet and a spread of 25 to 30 feet. The tree has a balanced, oval form, which provides elegance and visual interest to your landscape.

Leaves and Foliage

During spring, you will notice the tree’s fresh green leaves emerging. They are oval-shaped and have a subtle, serrated edge. As autumn nears, these leaves turn to a beautiful golden-orange hue, adding vibrancy and color to your yard.

Bark and Trunk

The trunk of this tree has an interesting appearance, with its smooth silvery-gray bark that gradually develops darker fissures as it matures. This feature adds an extra layer of texture and visual interest throughout the year.

Flower Characteristics

One of the most striking features of Prunus avium ‘Plena’ is its double white flowers. They appear in pendulous clusters in spring, showing off their pure white petals. This creates a captivating display that attracts pollinators and enhances the beauty of your garden.

Fruit Features

Though Prunus avium ‘Plena’ is known for its dazzling display of flowers, it does not produce the cherries commonly associated with other varieties of Prunus avium. Nonetheless, its stunning floral display and attractive foliage more than make up for the absence of fruit.

Cultivation and Care

Sunlight and Exposure Requirements

To provide the best conditions for your Prunus Avium Plena, ensure that it receives full sun for the majority of the day. Select an area with the ideal aspect and exposure to maximize sunlight. Your tree will thrive in large open areas that receive ample light.

Soil Preferences and Moisture

Prunus Avium Plena grows well in a variety of soil types, including clay, sandy, and well-drained soils. Keep in mind that it prefers fertile soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5. When it comes to moisture, it’s essential to strike a balance; the soil should be consistently moist but not waterlogged. Consider using a plant finder to assess the soil conditions in your garden.

Soil TypeSuitable for Prunus Avium Plena

Pruning and Maintenance

Regular pruning is necessary to maintain the shape and health of your Prunus Avium Plena. Prune in late winter or early spring, removing any dead, diseased, or crossing branches. Additionally, thin out overgrowth to allow sunlight and air circulation throughout the tree. By following this routine, you’ll ensure that your tree remains vibrant and strong.

In summary, growing a healthy Prunus Avium Plena requires an optimal balance of sunlight, exposure, suitable soil, and proper maintenance. By paying attention to these factors and taking care of your tree, you can enjoy its beauty and grace in your garden for many years to come.

Habitat and Distribution

Geographical Range

Prunus avium plena, also known as the gean or mazzard, can be found in regions across Europe and Western Asia. It has also been introduced to North America, where it has become established in certain areas. You might spot one of these trees in countries such as the United Kingdom, France, or Germany, as well as Turkey and other parts of Western Asia.

Habitat Preferences

Prunus avium plena prefers habitats that are relatively moist, providing ideal conditions for growth and fruit production. You may observe this tree species thriving in woodlands, hedgerows, or alongside rivers and streams. Furthermore, bird cherry (Prunus padus) often shares similar habitat preferences, and it is not uncommon to find these two species growing near one another in the wild.

When looking for an ideal location to plant a Prunus avium plena tree, consider choosing a spot with well-draining soil, and a sufficient amount of sunlight. These conditions will help ensure that your tree thrives and achieves its maximum potential.

Ecological Benefits and Interactions

Attracting Birds and Mammals

Prunus avium plena, also known as wild cherry and sweet cherry, is known for its attractive, edible fruits. These fruits not only provide a food source for various birds and mammals but also contribute to the dispersal of seeds. By planting this tree in your garden, you are providing sustenance for local wildlife. Birds such as thrushes, blackbirds, and starlings find wild cherries irresistible, while mammals like squirrels, raccoons, and deer also enjoy feasting on them.

Butterflies and Caterpillars

Your Prunus avium plena tree can also serve as a host plant for butterflies and their larvae (caterpillars). They play a vital role in supporting healthy ecosystems since many birds rely on caterpillars as a primary food source. Furthermore, observing butterflies visiting your garden can be a delightful sight for anyone who enjoys nature.

Toxicity and Safety

Though the fruits of Prunus avium plena are edible and enjoyed by people, it’s important to note that other parts of the tree, such as leaves and stems, can be toxic due to their cyanogenic glycoside content. Be aware of this if you have children or pets that may be tempted to chew on branches or leaves. Additionally, wild cherries are susceptible to bacterial canker, so keep an eye out for signs of this disease and treat it promptly to protect both your tree and the surrounding ecosystem.

Landscape and Garden Use

Design and Aesthetic Role

Prunus avium ‘Plena’ is a deciduous, flowering tree known for its showy flowers and ability to elevate any landscape. Integrating this tree into your garden design adds an appealing focal point, attracting birds and enhancing the overall aesthetics. Its fragrant double flowers bloom in spring, making it one of the most sought-after flowering trees. When deciding where to place Prunus avium ‘Plena’, consider areas that will benefit from the tree’s seasonal appeal, as well as its eventual size and shape.

Cultivars and Varieties

There are several cultivars and varieties of the Prunus avium species, each offering unique characteristics:

  • Prunus avium ‘Grandiflora’: This cultivar produces edible fruit and showy flowers, making it an excellent choice for those wanting both visual appeal and functionality in their garden.
  • Prunus ‘avium flore plena’: Also known as the double-flowered cherry, this variety boasts fragrant, double flowers that bring an additional layer of beauty to your landscape.
  • Award of Garden Merit: This recognition is given to plants with outstanding qualities for cultivation, demonstrating their value for garden use. Prunus avium ‘Plena’ and its cultivars have earned this award, attesting to their suitability for inclusion in your landscape.

When choosing a cultivar or variety, it is essential to consider your garden’s specific needs and climate to ensure optimal growth and overall success.


Pruning avium ‘Plena’ is best grown in well-drained soil, and they tolerate various soil types. When planting, select a location that receives full sun or partial shade. The tree is relatively low maintenance, but occasional pruning would encourage better flowering.

Though primarily grown for their aesthetic value, some cultivars produce edible fruit, adding another dimension to your garden. Additionally, the tree’s organic matter can offer vital nutrients to the surrounding plants and wildlife.

Street Use

Due to their height, form, and adaptability, Prunus avium ‘Plena’ trees make excellent additions to street planting projects. The showy flowers and foliage provide visual interest and improve curb appeal, while their tolerance to various conditions makes them suitable for urban environments. When utilizing Prunus avium ‘Plena’ for street planting, consider factors such as available space, root growth, and overall maintenance requirements.

Remember that, by carefully selecting the right cultivar and location, you can maximize the benefits and enjoyment that Prunus avium ‘Plena’ trees bring to your landscape, garden, or street. If you are interested in learning about other trees, please see my other posts.

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