Famous for their beautiful pink shade, sakura flowers are symbolic flowers of the spring, signaling the changing of warmer weather. Unofficially the symbol of Japanese nature, the fleeting bloom of sakura is a celebrated event in Japan every year. As the buds burst open in parks and streets across Japan, people will throw picnics and flower viewing parties known as hanami. But did you know that sakura flowers can be found outside of Japan?
Sakura in Japan and China are different
Sakura in Japan does not refer to a single type of flower but several types of the cherry blossom tree. Cherry blossoms are the flowers from a prunus tree that are famously pink in color but can also come in different color varieties such as white even yellow. Sakura is commonly associated with Japan due to a large number of varieties available in the region and the nationwide celebration during the blooming season. But species of sakura or cherry blossoms can be found throughout the world especially in the Northern Hemisphere.
As reported from the Washington Post, He Zongru, executive chairman of the China Cherry Industry Association points out that the origin of cherry trees can be found in China’s Himalayan highlands. It is why China has more than 50 varieties of wild cherry trees. And while cherry blossom trees can now be found all over the world, over one hundred varieties of them thrive and can be found in Japan, hence its popularity.
Cherry blossom trees have different meanings in China and Japan. In China, cherry blossoms signify love and the female mystique (beauty and strength). While in Japan, the short blooming period of the cherry blossoms is associated with the Buddhist theme concerning the nature of life and mortality.
Out of the many cultivated varieties of cherry blossoms Japan has, one variety, Somei-yoshino, is the most popular and makes up 80% of the cherry blossom trees in the country. Its petals have 5 blossoms on them and are a whitish-pink color. Since the leaves do not come out until after the flowering season peaks, the blooms themselves attract a lot of attention. While in China where there are around over 50 varieties of flowering cherry trees, the wild varieties with deep pink blossoms are particularly popular. The color resonates with the belief that red is a lucky color.
There are Sakura that can grow in Indonesia
The beauty of cherry blossoms can be found anywhere around the world, from Japan to Germany, even Paris, France. This flower thrives in cold climate countries. But it doesn’t close the possibility of it growing in Indonesia’s warmer tropical climate. Ideally, cherry blossoms can thrive in mountainous highlands with temperatures around 5-12 degrees celsius. But with the development and cultivation of cherry tree varieties, varieties that are more resistant to warmer weather can already be found.
One variety of these cherry blossoms can already be found in Cibodas Botanical Garden. Located in the foot of Mount Gede and Pangrango, Cianjur, West Java, the Prunus cerasoides, better known as Himalayan cherry, reportedly bloom twice a year in the month of January-February and again in August-September.
How to plant and care for sakura
If the fleeting beauty of the cherry tree blooms interests you, you can try and plant one of your own. Keep in mind that temperature and climate are very influential in the forming of and blooming of the flowers. While the tree itself can grow in Indonesia, the amount of flower bloom it produces may vary.
Some cherry trees can be placed in the shade and some can be planted in full sun. But cherry trees also take time to stop growing or go into dormancy during the winter. While in countries with warm climates such as Indonesia, these cherry trees might require a long dormancy period, resulting in the leaves and flowers of the cherry plant not being able to form properly.
The cherry trees are tolerant of various soil conditions. It can be placed in sandy, clay, or any type of soil. The only requirement is that the soil has good drainage, as it will not grow in excessively wet conditions. As with any type of tree it also needs nutrient-rich soil to grow and thrive, but they happily grow in acidic, alkaline, or neutral conditions.
Planting cherry trees in Indonesia mostly uses a stock of seedlings that are one to two years old. Usually, these seeds are sold and propagated in nursery-garden as a quicker alternative to planting from seeds.
When you’ve acquired the cherry tree seedlings and it’s strong enough or at least 50 cm tall, then immediately move them to a wider location to allow them to grow bigger. Place the seeds in a hole in the soil that is deep, fertile, moist, and has a good drainage system.
A little guide for the cherry tree planting hole, make sure that the hole is wide and deep with an area of 60 x 60 cm and a depth of at least 30 cm. Don’t forget to add organic matter such as compost or manure to the bottom of the hole to increase the fertility of the soil and provide enough nutrients for a growing tree. Then adjust the depth so that the top of the root is parallel to the soil surface.
During early growth, the cherry tree will need a fair amount of water. Water it right after planting and stick to a regular watering schedule, providing deep, consistent watering once a week for at least the first year. Keep in mind not to water if the ground is already wet, as these trees do not like having their roots too wet for too long.
Planting cherry blossoms in Indonesia is generally almost the same as planting other ornamental trees. Pruning or trimming of dead branches is also needed in cherry trees to reduce certain plant diseases. It also allows the growth of new branches and denser flowers.
Writter by: Safaanah