Rainier Cherry Overview
Rainier Cherry Fruit and Leaves Rainier Cherrys Rainier Cherry Flowers Rainier Cherry Overview
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Rainier Cherry Tree

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World’s Best Sweet Cherry

  • Superior, Exceptionally Sweet, Early Fruit
  • Stunning Spring Flowers and Fall Color
  • Considered to be the Finest of the Sweet Cherries

Rainier Cherry (Prunus avium 'Rainier') is an outstanding sweet cherry tree that produces large, delicious yellow fruit with a beautiful dark red blush. It's an easy to grow, low maintenance backyard variety that was originally produced by crossing the popular Bing red cherry with the age-old favorite, Van red cherry.

Rainier is one of the world's sweetest yellow cherries and is in high demand by home gardeners. It was developed in the Pacific Northwest by Harold Fogel, and was named for the area's highest mountain peak. Like its namesake, Mount Rainer, the Rainier Cherry has reached a mountaintop level of appreciation by cherry lovers!

Often called a "white cherry" for its creamy white flesh, or a "blond cherry" for its yellow skin that's blushed red, the Rainier is prized for its exceptionally sweet fruit. It is often considered the best yellow cherry ever developed and is even considered by some to be the best of ALL cherry varieties.

This is an early bearing variety, so plan to start enjoying your delicious harvest in mid-season, when other garden treats are just getting started.

Because this cherry requires a pollinator, it is recommended that a later ripening Van, Lapin's or Sweetheart Cherry be planted as a pollination partner. You'll be glad you planned ahead, as you can extend your cherry harvest by almost a month with a careful selection of later bearing cherry partner trees.

Rainier is a prolific and heavy bearer, so you'll have plenty of its sweet and healthy cherries to cook, freeze or just eat fresh right off the tree. The thin-skinned fruit typically has a very high sugar content, measuring in at 20 to 25 Brix rates, which are much higher sugar levels than the Bing Cherry or other red cherry selections.

It's not just the cherries you'll love. You'll also adore the beautiful spring blooms almost as much as the cherries. The pink-tinted, white blossoms are beautifully displayed upon the limbs of the typically upright growing cherry tree canopy. In autumn, Rainier puts on another show when its foliage transitions to spicy tones of bronze and yellow.

It's easy to prune Rainier Cherry tree to under 10 feet tall. Called size control pruning, it makes harvest a lot easier.

The only thing that remains is how quickly you can get one in the ground. Cherries can take up to 3 years to bear fruit. The sooner you have it planted the sooner you'll be enjoying the finest cherry variety ever created.

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Recommended pollinators: Van, Lapins, Bing, Stella

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with NatureHills.com and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

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To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep.

Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 14.95
20 - 49.99 17.95
50 - 69.99 19.95
70 - 99.99 24.95
100 - 129.99 29.95
130 - 130+ Approx 25%

Click here to see our full rates

Super Sweet Yellow Cherry

The Rainier Cherry was a stroke of luck. This selection was not what Washington State University hybridizer Harold Fogle had been expecting in 1952. After crossing a deep dark red Bing Cherry with a deep dark red Van Cherry one of the seedlings was a creamy yellow, slightly red blush-skinned cherry. It looked nothing like either of its two distinctive red parents. Fogle named this selection after Mount Rainier - one of the highest peaks in the Pacific Northwest.

The Rainier is exceptional sweet - much sweeter than either parent when measured in brix, a common sugar rating for fruit. Bing is rated at 17 brix and Van Cherry typically rates around 22 Brix, but the Rainier typically rates at 20 to 25 Brix or higher.

Pioneering fruit growers like Grady Auvil, founder of Auvil Fruit Company in Washington, was one of the first to see the potential in the Rainier Cherry. It produced exceptionally large fruit with sweet, yellow flesh.

Along with the obvious selling points came a few challenges for growers. The Rainier cherry has very thin skin, so the fruit is very sensitive to temperature, wind and rain. Birds eat an estimated 1/3 of the entire crop. This made the Rainier cherry a more expensive Cherry to grow commercially.

For many years, the Rainier was most commonly enjoyed as a home gardener's back yard tree. However, with more attention to commercial farming techniques, Rainier Cherries have now become a delicious common offering at stores and farmers markets each Cherry season.


Rainier Cherry Tree Is Suited to Grow in Zones 5-9
Growing Zones 5-9
More Information
Botanical Name Prunus avium 'Rainier'
Foliage Green
Mature Height Semi Dwarf: 15 - 25 feet
Mature Spread 12 - 18 feet
Soil Type Well-Drained
Moisture Moderate
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Growth Rate Medium
Flower Color White and Pink
Foliage Color Green
Fall Color Yellow
Fruiting Time 3 - 5 years