An elegant ornamental with softly weeping branches, the snow fountain cherry (Prunus “Snofozam” Snow Fountains) is an ornamental landscape tree with a moderate to fast growth rate. A cultivar of the weeping higan cherry (Prunus subhirtella var. pendula), which is winter hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, the snow fountain cherry offers dramatic visual appeal to ornamental landscapes.
The snow fountain cherry is alternately known as a weeping cherry or a weeping higan cherry, and the cultivar name is alternately “Snofozam,” “White Fountain” and “Snow Fountains.” Like its parent tree, originally native to Japan, it is winter hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8. The snow fountain cherry is a naturally weeping tree that produces a cascade of white blossoms in April.
The snow fountain cherry has a moderate growth rate for the arching vertical branches that stem from the trunk, which means they can grow between 1 and 2 feet a year. The weeping branches and twigs, however, display a rapid growth rate, growing more than 2 feet in the course of a single growing season. It is capable of reaching a mature height of 8 to 15 feet and a spread of 6 to 8 feet, which means it can reach full growth in as few as four years or as long as eight years. It can also grow as a groundcover, or a more compact tree, top-grafted to be only 6 feet tall.
Plant new trees in moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Avoid locations where standing water will be a problem. The snow fountain cherry is susceptible to both brown rot and bacterial canker. One of the best ways to avoid disease is to site it in a location where it can get plenty of air circulation. Prune it after flowering to maintain the desired shape. Do not prune in early spring as you will remove the flowering buds that formed on the previous year’s growth. Make sure you prune the root suckers that form at the base of the graft union, as these will grow vertically and will destroy its weeping habit.
Snow fountain cherry works well as a specimen tree on lawns or in borders of ornamental gardens. You can also plant it in Japanese gardens for dramatic effect, or use it to highlight other small garden areas, such as a patio or deck. The groundcover form works well on banks or slopes, as a groundcover, or weeping over the side of a wall.