Description & Overview

If you’re looking to add a fruiting cherry tree to your home orchard, food forest, or permaculture garden, Lapins Sweet Cherry is an easy-growing and great choice. Large delicious sweet and crisp mahogany-colored fruits are wonderful for fresh eating, baking, or cooking. One of the few sweet cherry varieties that are self-pollinating, there is no need for more than one tree to produce fruit, making it an excellent option for the home grower with limited space.

Core Characteristics

Category: Fruit Trees

Wisconsin Native: No

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 5

Mature Height: 20 feet

Mature Spread: 15 feet

Growth Rate: Fast

Growth Form: Tree

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Site Requirements: Well-drained site

Flower: White

Bloom Period: Mid-May

Foliage: Green

Fall Color: N/A

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Ripens typically late-June for SE Wisconsin

Suggested Uses

Wisconsin is not a major sweet cherry-producing region due to the harsh climate. Tart cherries like North Star typically fare better in our area. That said, Lapins Sweet Cherry originated in Canada and is hardy to Zone 4, tolerating late frost and colder temperatures.

Preferring average, medium-moisture, well-drained soil, Lapins Sweet Cherry is best planted in full sun – at least eight hours. While it can tolerate some shade, it will not produce as well.

Lapins will generally begin to bear fruit between four to seven years of age. The trees that we sell usually have already begun to produce fruit, however, not in large quantities as they are still young. In July, delight in an abundance of delicious fruit ready for picking!

Add a Lapins Sweet Cherry to your home orchard in combination with other fruit trees. While self-pollinating it can serve as a pollinator for other cherry trees!

With a smaller semi-dwarf size and ease of care, it is a great starter fruit tree if you’re just dipping your toe into the home fruit-growing trend.

While generally grown specifically for their fruit, Lapins has ornamental value with their beautiful and fragrant white flowers that cover the tree in April/May. In the fall, leaves turn a wonderful range of red, orange, and yellow. This tree can do double duty as a specimen tree and a fruiting tree!

Firm, juicy, and sweet fruit is divine for fresh eating right off the tree, baked into pies and pastries, made into preserves and jams, frozen for later use, juiced, added to salads, chopped into salsa, or made into syrup or vinaigrette

Wildlife Value

The pretty flowers provide nectar and pollen to Bumblebees, Honeybees, Solitary bees, hoverflies, butterflies, and other pollinators in mid-spring.

Branching provides perches, shelter, and habitat to songbirds.

Fruit is enjoyed by birds, squirrels, and raccoons.

Maintenance Tips

Lapins Sweet Cherry has good resistance to bacterial blight, a common affliction of cherry trees. It is a disease that appears as dark brown leaf spots with yellow halos, and leaf curling and twisting. In severe cases, it can result in the death of branch tips, leaves, and flowers. Bacterial blight is caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. Syringae can live in diseased stems, plant debris, dirty pruners, and soil. The best prevention is to always prune in dry weather, clean your pruners before moving to another plant, and allow space between trees to promote air circulation. Learn more about Bacterial Blight (

Reducing stress on the tree by properly watering goes a long way. Cherry trees prefer medium-moisture soil and do not like prolonged periods of drought. Supplemental watering may be required during intense periods of heat. A two to three-inch mulch ring will help retain moisture and keep the roots cool.

Fruit trees are not “set it and forget it” and all require some maintenance. Training and pruning fruit trees are important to being a successful fruit grower. The first-early years of a tree’s life are most important for proper tree training until the tree reaches its mature height. Prune out dead, weak, or rubbing branches in late winter or early spring (when the weather is dry). We have a handy guide for Training & Pruning Your Fruit Trees.

Lapins Sweet Cherry has good resistance to fruit cracking.


Black Walnut Tolerant: Yes
Deer Resistant: No
Rabbit Resistant: No

Birds (especially robins) can sometimes be an issue when the fruit is nearly ripe. Covering the tree with netting or using scare tactics (hanging shiny metal bird-repellent strips in the tree) may be necessary.

Leaf Lore

Lapins Sweet Cherry was developed in British Columbia in 1984 at the Summerland Research Station. The goal was to select a cherry similar to Bing, but with better hardiness and productivity, better flavor, increased disease resistance, reduced fruit splitting, and the ability to self-pollinate. Lapins are the result of a cross between the Stella and Van cultivars.

This cherry selection was named after Dr. Charles Lapins, a Latvian horticulturist who studied agronomy.

Also known as “America’s super fruit,” cherries are a tasty way to reap the health benefits of antioxidants. Lapins are a great source of potassium, calcium, vitamins A and C, and anthocyanins, pigments found in the skin of the fruit known to help reduce inflammation and free-radicals.

Companion Plants

Expand your home orchard by including other cherry trees such as North Star Cherry or Sweet Cherry Pie Cherry that are also self-pollinating.

Pear trees are also a great addition; however, pears require two different pear varieties for pollination such as Parker Pear and Bartlett Pear. If you have enough space in your home orchard, consider adding apples. They too require a cross-pollinator, either Crabapples or different varieties of apples such as Honeycrisp, Cortland, Liberty, Royal Gala, McIntosh, or Zestar!.

Don’t forget about fruit and nuts shrubs such as American Filbert, Beaked Hazelnut, Glossy Black Chokeberry, American Elderberry, Thimbleberry, American Plum, Hardy Kiwi, and Missouri Gooseberry.

If you're looking to add a fruiting cherry tree to your home orchard, food forest, or permaculture garden, Lapins Sweet Cherry is an easy-growing and …

Written by Paul Schwabe