Your shopping cart is empty.

Nanking Cherry, Manchurian Apricot

January 25, 2003

I've been looking through the catalogs (haven't we all) and I want an edible screen between myself and a neighbor. I found this bush type cherry, and it just may be what I'm looking for (she's not annoying during the winter as it is too cold for conversation then, lol)

My problem is while the fruits are pictured and described as delicious, that really doens't tell me anything about the flavor. Are they sweet? Tart? Even really taste like a cherry (or just called that because they look like cherries)?

Manchurian Apricot isn't a plant I am even considering at this point, but my complaint is the same here. Fruits are described using vague adjectives which really tell one nothing about the quality of the fruit.

Anyone else's thoughts?


Comments (26)

  • Rodknee

    I moved my M. Apricot before it started fruiting and it died. If you are getting these from St. Lawrence they have a new varity with better fruit.
    The Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa)is medium tart and very good to eat. They make good juice and jelly although there is not alot of flesh covering the pit. They can easily be pruned high to make a good shrub.
    Good Luck, LJ

  • eric_wa

    I bought both Nanking Cherry and Manchurian Apricot from Raintree Nursery. The cherry like fruit of the Nanking is tart. Jan or Joy may have better fruit. Manchurian Apricot rootstock I used it for grafting. Don't know about the seedling fruit. Have you thought about Gooseberries? They have thorns!

  • Okanagan

    Our nanking cherry gets pretty sweet... it also gets a lot of sun here. Not a cherry tree and not much of a cherry, but a good sturdy shrub.


    i planted some nanking cherries-got a cheapie deal from one of the cheapie catalogs everybody hates.they were small-took some tlc and a drip line but they grew into beautiful 6 ' tall thick bushes with nice white blooms+sour but tasty fruit.they even made a good screen in the winter -many small twiggy branches on em.my bush apricots grew more like trees and flowered at the first warm spell.either the cold got them or maybe no bugs to pollinate?only set 1 or two fruits in several years.

  • abgardeneer

    Gee, I've never experienced sour nanking cherry fruit, and they are very commonly grown in these colder zones.


    well being a cheapie source? are they really nanking cherries?they had smallish very bright red fruit with a flavor similar to tree sour cherries.the leaves were small very toothy .the flowers were white. i also had what they called hansen bush cherries. they blossomed but i never harvested any fruit.their fruit is supposed to be on the purple side so i don't think i mixed them up at planting.

  • Corrie

    Nanking cherries are grown from seed in the nursery trade, so there can be considerable variation in berry size, yield, flavour, blossom colour, plant habit, etc. I've had several plants for many years and the fruit is very pleasant to eat, just rather small. Definitly less sour than any red currants I've tasted. They're actually best eaten fresh, in the garden, where you can just spit the pits! They also make wonderful jelly; much too small for pies.

    Last summer I planted one called "Giant Nanking" which is supposed to have fruit the size of a quarter; call me a doubting Thomas but I'll believe it when I see it. Couldn't resist the temptation, though. Nankings also have lovely early spring bloom, usually very soft pink or white. I've seen them planted for clipped hedges and they grow very dense and make a good hedge (though fewer cherries when kept clipped). This is a useful, attractive and very hardy shrub in my area. Corrie

  • kristenmarie

    Our state forestry program has nanking cherry in bundles for its reforestation programs (they sell in bulk to people who own land)-- I just ordered 25 nanking cherries, 25 buffalo berries, and 25 chokecherries. You might also consider serviceberries (speakin of st. lawrence, they've got 'em)- they grow really tall and my husband, who grew up back east, says the fruit is delicious.


  • gswilkent

    Nanking cherries are ok but if you can find them in the states there is a new bush cherry from the University of Saskachewan (zone 3 at best) called a Carmine Jewel Cherry that is a nicer looking plant with very glossy leaves and way better cherries.

  • riccio

    When I bought this place (19 miles south of Albuquerque) 13 years ago, there were five apricots on the place--four were unknown varieties and one was a Manchurian. The four are gone now, victims of borers and heaven knows what other ailments. But the Manchurian has never been bothered by anything. It's a beautiful little tree, about 12 or so feet high, extremely drought tolerant. The fruit is small, but very flavorful. The only drawback is that it follows an old saying down here in the valley: "First to flower, first to freeze." Which means that I've had fruit from it only five times in 13 years, since we sometimes have killing frosts as late as May 20. But it is a gorgeous, fragrant thing when in bloom each year.

  • newyorkrita

    I eat my red currants right off the shrub, don't think they are too sour. Glad to hear the Nanking Cherries are sweeter so no problem eating them fresh off the shrubs.

  • nurblet

    Hey rita--me too! I love red currants off the bush. The black ones are too bitter for but bluebirds and catbirds and mockers like them.

    Question about soil and location: Can they tolerate wind (ie full sun on a slope)? The soil area is clay but broken up and well amended with sand and compost.

  • newyorkrita

    Not sure what the Red Currants can tolerate but they are very hardy so go for it. My black currants I ripped out this spring as I couldn't stand the taste of them and birds ignored them.

    I put in a small hedgerow of 6 Red Currants in another area of the yard and the way these things are growing I should get fruit next year.

    I finially got three Nanking Cherries planted. I had them sitting in pots until I could get to it (since Spring). Anyway, now that they are planted, I am so excited about getting fruit next year that I just can't wait. I have one red and two of the Black Nanking Cherries from St Lawrence Nurseries.

  • newyorkrita

    I decided instead of waiting for Spring to get some things from St. Lawrence Nursery this Fall, so I am getting another Nanking Cherry. I decided on another red as I have a red and two black Nanking Cherries now.

    I really ordered because I wanted to add the Winter Red Winterberries (for the birds) but can't resist more fruit for me. I also ordered the Dwarf Ground Cherry Shrubs they have listed. Don't know how they are going to be as I have never heard of them before but I will just give them a try. If they are awfull then I can leave them for the birds!

  • newyorkrita

    That order from St Lawrence Nurseries I was talking about above got cancelled because I sent it in too late for Fall. I have a new order in for spring, alittle different. Just the Red Nankings and Dwarf Ground Cherry shrubs.

  • newyorkrita

    So I added three more Red Nanking Cherries and four Dwarf Ground Cherries this Spring. My Black and Red Nanking Cherries from last year bloomed this spring but since they didn't bloom at the same time, I did not get any cross pollination. No berries, unfortunately!!!

  • chills71

    I've got 5 nanking cherries, 3 bloomed and as far as I can tell only 2 fruit are on the branches.

    I'm betting a squirrel will get it before I ever notice its ripe.

    I did put in four Hanson's and another Nanking this spring. The Hanson's leaved out quickly and are doing well. The nanking is green if scratched, but in the past 5 weeks hasn't pushed a single bud of leaf. Stubborn little thing.


  • Audrey

    My dad had some Manchurian Apricots in Northern Minneaota.(zone 3a) They didn't fruit heavily, but the small apricots had an intense, true apricot flavor. Mom used to make jam, and we spread it thin, because the flavor was so intense. I think it would make lovely jam if mixed with another fruit like apple or pineapple.

    The trees are small and pretty. Their growth pattern makes me think of the plum trees you see in Japanese pointings.

  • newyorkrita

    I have one Red Nanking Cherry (one of my oldest ones) in full bloom for the past five days. My Black Nanking Cherries and the three newer red ones that I put in last spring are just getting buds out now. The dwarf ground cherries are way behind, no real greening up yet. Looks like nothing will pollinate that first Nanking but the second batch sould be good and all pollinate each other.

  • susanargus

    I have what I think is Nanking Cherry (thanks to the plant ID forum and Ron B!). Can you folks that own them describe the bark? Is it peeling and cinnamon colored? I assume it needs another to polinate, because I haven't noticed any fruit.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Some pictures of the plant

  • dmitriy50_comcast_net

    I have 7 Nanking Cherry that give me a lot of small but tasty berries.But I have a big problem with Manchurian Apricot. I got 3 plants from Gurney's about 9 years ago. I planted them in the best sunny place I have.Thouse big like a trees about 12 ft bushes have beutefull flowers for about 3 years but no fruit. Not at all. Gurney's did not help.
    I have red currants and started black currants. It is very exotic for PA.

  • chills71

    From the time of that first posting I planted 6 Nanking cherries (including one of that Giant Nanking). I also added Hansen's bush cherry.

    So what have I learned in the past 5 years? Well, I'm down to one nanking cherry, which will be pulled and chopped this spring for kindling. Two of the bushes bore fruit from the second year, the others would bloom, but no fruit. The fruit was ok, but neither of the two which fruited did so prolifically. I was lucky to get 6-10 'cherries' each summer. I started replacing them 2 years ago, first with a real cherries.

    I also added red currants 5 years ago. I started with 2 of these and added (by self rooting cuttings) another 5-6 reds. I also added pink and white currants. Last year I added clove currants and a black (which I allowed to die after my dog dug it for the third time). I am adding another black this year, but this time one HIGHLY rated for flavor.

    My Manchurian apricot has grown about 6 inches in the past 4 years and I'm frequently shocked it is still alive as it really hasn't ever done anything.

    Dmitriy50....there is a big hardy kiwi farm in Pa. How's that for exotic?


  • mersiepoo

    I had gotten 2 manchurian bush apricots from a discount catalog..received sticks. Planted sticks. Waited. 2 years later they both decided to die. So no idea if they taste good or not. Got sick of waiting and bought a sweetheart apricot tree from Stark Bros nursery. Sure it's a tree, BUT it also has edible kernels! WOO HOO!

    Had 3 bush cherries (think they are nanking), 2 died, one survived, blooms and doesn't set fruit! SO I got 3 HUGE bush cherries from Rh Shumway, they are gigantic bushes! I was so happy, will write a thank you note!

  • lee_in_iowa

    I recommend native plums, myself. The little sticks you get do take a while to grow out, but the plums are great (tho the possums and coons get most of mine). Nanking cherries would also work well; I bought 9 last year, got happy sticks (w/ roots & leaves, how cool is that), and they're already 4 to 5 feet high and heavily branched. A friend in Missouri rec'd them; hers provide lots of little cherries for eating, pies, and preserves. I'm going to try "Chills" idea and root myself some new red currants. But I like to dry them in the oven (to a chewy stage like raisins); I use them like raisins, too; they're better for eating out of hand, and they're fine in baked goods, too.

  • os_fruit_farm

    Manchurian Apricots I have 24 trees on my north west side along the split-rail fence & road. They are beautiful in the spring and the fruit is small and full of flavor. What I do not sell, I eat and dehydrate to eat in the winter. Now they bloom very early and in the beginning I was not getting fruit. I then installed a hive of the Carniolan honeybees (Apis mellifera carnica) because they will come out of the hive at 10 to 15 degrees lower temps then the normal honey bees. Plus the light rain does not seem to stop them, but does the normal honey bees. Now I find my peach, plum and nectarines are producing better and all are early bloomers. I also planted a row of evergreens, American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis), 200 in all along the west to act as a wind / snow break. Cherry trees on the north east side no Nanking Cherries, I also put American Arborvitae on the east side of the Cherry trees (20 sour and 20 sweet cherry trees). these Nanking Cherries sound like it would have been better for the line fence then the evergreens.

  • Daniel Erdy

    I'm looking for black nanking cherry cuttings or plants if anyone has any they can share please email me at ediblelandscaping.sc@gmail.com

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268 (Mon-Sun).