Prunus serrulata Shirofugen

Shirofugen cherry blossom
  • Flowering month: May
  • Flower colour: White
  • Flower form: Double flower (25-50 petals)
  • Flower size: Large
  • Height 10 years: 3m-5m / 10ft-16ft
  • Growth habit: Spreading
  • Leaf colour - autumn: Multiple tints

Shirofugen is a traditional Japanese flowering cherry, notable for its brilliant pale pink / white fragrant double blossom.

Shirofugen flowers much later than most ornamental cherry trees, coming into blossom in the middle of May. The blossom is long-lasting, and changes colour from pale pink at the start of the season to pure white as the season ends.

The tree grows with an attractive spreading habit, and as it matures develops quite a presence in the garden - make sure you allow plenty of room.

The history of Shirofugen is a good introduction to the confusion in naming that occurs in the Japanese flowering cherries. Since "shiro" is the Japanese word for "white", it might be concluded that Shirofugen is also the name of this variety in Japan, but there is no reference to Shirofugen in Japanese botanic or nursery literature, and it appears to have been invented in the late 19th century by western collectors. The true Japanese name for this variety is most likely Fugenzo - but that name is already in use for another popular (and probably related) variety!

Notwithstanding this confusion, there is no doubt that this is a very old traditional Japanese variety and one of the best double-flowered white forms. For the time being we are sticking to the well-known but arguably inaccurate Western names for these varieties: we usually sell both Shirofugen (correct name probably Fugenzo) and Fugenzo (correct name probably Kofugen). Both are essentially pink / white blossom cherries, but the latter has less pink and perhaps more cream tints.

Shirofugen trees for sale

Height in 10 years
Price inc. VAT
1-year Shirofugen tree - bare root
3m-5m tall after 10 years
2-year Shirofugen tree - in a 12L pot
3m-5m tall after 10 years

What will it look like?

Illustrative example of a pot-grown tree of this variety as supplied. (Approx. girth: 6/8). Trees should reach their mature height after about 10 or more years.

Prunus Shogetsu

We may also have 1-year bare-root trees of this variety - they are not shown here.

Leaves may not be present during winter, and we may prune some shoots to fit the delivery carton. Size may vary during the season and between batches. The container (if supplied) is only used for transporting the tree, which should then be planted out in the garden or in a much larger patio planter (not all species are suitable for patio planting).

How to grow

Shirofugen grows with a a vigorous spreading habit at first, but as it ages it takes on its characteristic flat-topped appearance.

Shirofugen characteristics


  • Attractive features: Attractive flowers Attractive tree / plant Scented flowers
  • Height 10 years: 3m-5m / 10ft-16ft
  • Growth habit: Spreading
  • Growth rate: Fast
  • Vigour: Slightly large
  • Sunlight: Prefers full sun
  • Useful for: Open spaces
  • Blossom duration: Long
  • Hardiness rating (RHS): H6 (to -20C)
  • Pruning: Light prune
  • Gardening skill: Suitable for beginners


  • Country of origin: Japan
  • Flowering month: May
  • Flowering season: Late
  • Flower colour: White
  • Flower form: Double flower (25-50 petals)
  • Flower size: Large
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Leaf colour - young: Light copper
  • Leaf colour - autumn: Multiple tints
  • Annual cycle: Deciduous
  • Awards: RHS Award of Garden Merit


  • Wildlife: Attractive to birds

Similar varieties

  • See also Fugenzo
    A traditional double-flowered Japanese flowering cherry.

How to choose a flowering cherry tree

We have a very wide range of flowering cherry trees. Choosing can be difficult! Our article explaining the different characteristics of flowering cherries might help narrow down the selection.

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