Royal Burgundy Cherry Tree | Guide To Successful Growing

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The ‘Royal Burgundy’ variety of Prunus, which has its origins in Japan, is a beautiful cherry tree admired for its rich red foliage that transitions into vibrant shades of scarlet and orange in the fall.

How fast does Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ grow?

This species of cherry tree is technically capable of growing as much as one and a half feet to two feet per year, but averages just a single foot of growth per year. The typical Royal Burgundy cherry tree reaches heights of 20 feet in around 20 years.

Read on below and learn more about successfully growing the Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ cherry tree!

Royal Burgundy Cherry Tree at a Glance

Below is a chart with all the basic information you need to have a look at in order to determine whether or not this species is right for your home or garden.

Royal Burgundy Cherry TreeDetails
Botanical namePrunus serrulata ‘Royal Burgundy’
Best for Hardiness Zones5 to 8
Mature size20ft tall, 15ft wide
Growth habitGardens, yards, and parkland
Bloom timeSpring (April)
Flower colorPink
Preferred soilMoist, Loamy, and well-draining
Light requirementsModerate to full sun
Watering needsWeekly watering, regularly
Fertilization5-10-10 to 16-16-16

Royal Burgundy Cherry Tree Appearance

The Royal Burgundy cherry tree is a beautiful fruiting tree with pink blooms in the spring, reddish-black leaves in the spring and summer, and scarlet-orange leaves in the fall.

How Tall Does a Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ Grow?

The Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ grows to heights of around 20 feet tall on average. It commonly takes up to 20 years or more for the trees to hit their maximum height.

How Wide Does a Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ Grow?

Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ trees have an average width of around 15 feet when they hit full maturity. Some trees max out at well under 10 feet, in less desirable locations, while others growing in prime conditions may reach widths of nearly 20 feet.

Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ Growth Rate

The growth rate of the Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ is approximately 12 inches per year. It takes the average Royal Burgundy cherry tree around 20 years to reach its full height and width, which is approximately 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide.

Royal Burgundy Cherry Tree Bloom Time & Appearance

This particular sort of cherry tree blooms in the spring-like many cherry trees do. Royal Burgundy trees specifically bloom in April if the conditions are proper. When they bloom they put off countless flowers, creating a fluffy pink canopy. The blooms last for 5 to 10 days, which is average for most cherry trees.

Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ Fruit

The fruit of the Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ are small, unpalatable, and unpredictable at best (in every sense – how many will bloom, their shape, appearance, and taste). That said, if you’re already researching these trees, you probably aren’t looking for a producing tree to pick fruits from, but an ornamental one instead.

Where Do I Plant Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’?

The best place to plant a Royal Burgundy cherry tree is in the full sun, in well-draining loamy soil with plenty of organic material mixed in with the soil. When planting multiple trees, leaving a distance of at least 10 to 15 feet between each one is standard practice.

Royal Burgundy Cherry Tree Planting Guide

The instructions for planting Royal Burgundy cherry trees should be familiar if you have planted most any other species of cherry tree before.

Below, we discuss each of the six main steps to properly planting a Royal Burgundy cherry tree, section by section:

Ideal Soil

The ideal soil for the Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy cherry tree is one that is rich with organic matter such as typical garden compost, mixed with loamy well-draining soil. 

Light Requirements

The Royal Burgundy cherry tree thrives in full sun conditions but will more than survive in partial sun conditions as well.


Depending on how large you want your Royal Burgundy to grow, anywhere from 10 to 20 feet is suggested for spacing (while planting).

Preparing the Planting Hole

Dig your hole in a square shape, around twice as deep as your root ball and three times as well. Prepare some extra rich and loamy organic materials and soil to add into the hole with the backfill when you get to the planting step.

Planting the Tree

Place a bit of the native soil and organic compost into the bottom of the hole (literally just a shovel or two of backfill) and sit the rootball on top of it. Unfurl the roots into the bottom of the hole, stretching them in all directions, while avoiding snapping the largest roots if at all possible.

Watering and Mulching

When you initially plant your Royal Burgundy cherry trees, they’ll require watering every 2 to three days. After the first 2 to 3 weeks, you may reduce watering to once every 5 to 10 days.

Whenever you water your trees, do so deeply and thoroughly, especially within the first 2 to 3 years of planting them.

Will Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ Tolerate Light Shade?

This cherry tree species has no problems tolerating light shade conditions. In fact, many homeowners and gardeners enjoy thoroughly thriving Royal Burgundy cherry trees in partial shade conditions in their yards and gardens. 

These trees are also popular in parks, where they are just as often in light shade conditions as in the full sun.

Royal Burgundy Cherry Tree Pruning Guide

There are three major points to pruning your Royal Burgundy cherry tree:

  1. Removing dead branches and cutting off broken branches
  2. Pruning away unwanted growth like side shoots and overly long branches
  3. Removing around a third of the overall height of the tree to encourage new growth

When To Fertilize Royal Burgundy Cherry Tree

Fertilizing cherry trees is very specifically best done in the early spring. Fertilizing in the late spring, or early summer affects the fruit and may make it inedible, and fertilizing later in the year doesn’t help the current year’s harvest. In other words, if you want your fertilization process to impact your yield, it has to be in the early spring.

Best Fertilizer for Royal Burgundy Cherry Tree

Fertilizers ranging from 5-10-10 to 16-16-16 is recommended for the Royal Burgundy cherry tree. That said, each yard and garden varies, soil and pH-wise, so you’ll need to do a bit of research before simply picking any one fertilizer based on reviews.

Southern Ag All Purpose Granular Fertilizer

This 5-pound package of granular fertilizer from Southern Ag is all-purpose, with an NPK of 10-10-10, which is perfect for your Royal Burgundy cherry trees. Simply mix it with water (following the manufacturer’s instructions) and apply it once during the early spring (and again in the late summer or early fall if you prefer).

How To Propagate Royal Burgundy

These cherry trees are best propagated via soft cutting in the spring, semi-hard cutting in the summer, or via air-layering. A graft is a third possibility, though requires quite a bit more experience.

Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ Problems

The Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’, for the most part, is a tree that has very few issues when compared to other fruit and landscaping species. That said, it does have a few common problems to be aware of.

Here are the four main problems we found with the Royal Burgundy cherry tree, and solutions for each one:

Planting in the Wrong Location / Poor Maintenance

The number one issue is planting your tree in the wrong location, or planting it and then leaving it to its own devices. If you don’t take good care of your tree for the first few seasons, it’s likely to die off (or at the very least fail to thrive and grow much slower than necessary).

Solution section

Make sure to plant your tree in a location with full to partial sun, in loamy organic soil that’s well-draining, and follow up with it (watering, pruning, and more).

Aphids and Flies (Black and Green)

A few of the main pests that you have to worry about with cherry trees are aphids and flies, even though the ornamental species like the Royal Burgundy tend to attract less than their fruiting cousins.

Solution section

Once these insects are infesting your tree, you’ll have to spray/apply organic pest control, or risk ruining the fruit. That’s why it’s best to use preventative pest control measures.


Blight is a common disease that bothers a lot of fruiting and non-fruiting tree species alike, targeting and destroying the leaves, including on the Royal Burgundy.

Solution section

The best way to deal with blight is to quickly remove all infected leaves and burn them, as well as apply fungicide to the tree. If left unchecked it spreads rapidly, destroying most of the foliage and stunting fruit production.

Powdery Mildew

Another of the most common issues that affect the Royal Burgundy cherry tree from time to time is the fungal infection known as powdery mildew.

Solution section

Remove the leaves, stems, and other parts of the plant that are affected by the powdery mildew, and then treat the rest of the tree with a fungicide that contains sulfur.


The Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’ is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a gorgeous blooming tree to add a bit of pink to their landscaping in the spring, and a fiery crimson-dark orange in the fall. They aren’t, however, a good pick for those who want to grow and pick their own cherries for eating.