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Van Cherry Overview
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Van Cherry Tree

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Outstanding Cold Hardy Cherry Tree

Van Cherry Tree is a cold hardy cherry tree with ornamental features.  Its shiny, serrated leaves and upright rounded form make it an excellent choice for almost anyplace in your yard.   However, you’ll certainly prefer to have one where it’s visible to yourself and others with its spring beauty, mid-summer harvest, and fall display.

In the spring, clusters of lovely white flowers will cover your cherry tree in a floral spectacle that’s enough to take your breath away.  This is soon followed by a plethora of edible cherries in mid June.  From autumn until frost, the foliage turns a beautiful, brilliant yellow for yet another splash of color.  

Van produces an abundance of sweet, shiny and black, crack-resistant cherries in mid-summer.   The fruit is outstanding eaten right off the tree, or can be used for jellies, jams, pies or preserves.  It can even be easily frozen for future use.  Birds and other wildlife love Van Cherries too, so whatever you choose to leave on the tree is sure to not be wasted. 

The Van Cherry Tree is a compact cherry tree that reaches heights of 20 feet with an equal spread.  Van is one of the best pollinators for any other sweet cherry tree, but requires a pollinizer itself. 

Cherry trees need 700 chilling hours, and are hardy enough to plant in the Great Lakes area, so you won’t have any trouble with this variety.  You don’t even have to prune it if you don’t want to, but a yearly pruning will bring you added growth and an even more impressive harvest.

* Abundant large, red fruit
* Cold hardy
* Spring display
* Crack-resistant
* Great pollinator

Recommended pollinators: Rainier, Stella, Lapins, Bing

Arguably the Best Cherry One Can Eat

In its short time, and with very humble beginnings, Van Cherry has become one of the most important cherries of the 20th Century. As with so many of the modern varieties of cherries, Van was developed in the Summerland Agriculture Research Station in Summerland, British Columbia.

In 1936, A.J. Mann of the Summerland Station made the original cross using Empress Eugenie, an open pollinated selection as the primary parent. Empress Eugenie itself is a cross of Duke Cherry, a hardy Prunus avium crossed with a sour cherry variety from France, which added to its adaptability.

Van was selected by Mann in 1942 and named in honor of J.R. Van Haarlen of the Horticultural Experimental Station in Vineland, Ontario. Van was introduced commercially in 1944. Recognized for its ability to compete with the Bing in harsher climates, the Van was noted for its resistance to doubling, cracking and splitting. Van's quality compared to that of the Bing but boasted a firmer texture.

Van become popular quickly, but the focus in the 1950's and 60's was on creating self-fruitful varieties. The introduction of the self-fruitful Stella Cherry in the early 1970's gave the Van a lot of commercial competition.

Today, Van remains one of the most dependable cherry varieties for the home garden in Zones 4 - 9. It is also a popular contributor for creating new hybrids. With Van's outstanding attributes, hybridists have used it to create many of the popular varieties known today. First and foremost, the Rainier cherry is a Van Cherry cross. Lapin's Cherry also has Van as a parent plant, and is fast becoming the most popular variety planted both in the commercial and the home garden.


Van Cherry Tree Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4-9
Growing Zones 4-9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills Nursery
Botanical Name Prunus avium 'Van'
Mature Height Standard: 30 - 35 feet
Soil Type Widely Adaptable
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Fruiting Time 3 - 5 years