Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 15, 2022

The cherry blossoms emerged unscathed from the winter storm over the weekend. They’re progressing nicely. But the saucer magnolias didn’t fare quite so well.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Last Updated:

This post may include affiliate links. Read more.

It's still too early to guess with much confidence when the 2023 bloom will be. But we've seen a much-warmer-than-normal January, and long-range forecasts suggest above-average temperatures continuing as we get deeper into February (after a short very cold spurt at the beginning of the month).

On average, Washington DC's cherry blossoms bloom around late-March into early April, but the precise timing varies year to year depending on the local temperatures in the leadup to the bloom. You can find general information on the 2023 bloom to help plan your visit here.

The cherry blossoms emerged unscathed from the winter storm over the weekend. They're progressing nicely. But the saucer magnolias didn't fare quite so well.

It's another beautiful spring morning at the Tidal Basin. Cool (without a wintry bite), calm, bright and sunny. After winter's last hurrah over the weekend, we've turned the corner into spring.

The cherry blossoms are progressing well. The National Park Service judged that the trees had reached the Extension of Florets stage as of yesterday. That's the third of the five stages they track before peak bloom.

On the trees, you can see some of the white petals starting to poke through. And many of the buds on the Indicator Tree are coming into the puffy white stage (photos below).

The news is less positive on the saucer magnolias. More on them below.

How It's Looking at the Tidal Basin This Morning

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
White petals starting to poke through.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
You can see some of the white petals just starting to poke through here.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
The National Park Service is putting up some wooden fencing around parts of the base of the Jefferson Memorial.

Indicator Tree

The Indicator Tree is a single tree that, for its own reasons, reliably runs a week or two ahead of the others. You can find more about it here.

It's a little hard to get good shots of this tree, but these were taken this morning.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.

Saucer Magnolias

After Saturday's winter storm with snow and ice, temperatures dipped into the teens and low twenties early Sunday morning. The saucer magnolias were close to blooming and vulnerable to the freezing temperatures.

That cold snap at just the wrong time has killed off the magnolia blossoms for this year.

They're now brown and shriveled, looking as though they're scorched from a forest fire (the trees themselves are fine, of course–it's just the flowers). There are some buds that aren't quite as advanced that look from the outside like they might still bloom, but one of the horticulturalists showed me that even those are actually soft and mushy and brown inside, so they won't bloom either.

So there won't be a saucer magnolia bloom this year at the Enid A. Haupt Garden, unfortunately. But the good news is that they have many, many other flowers raring to go, including more than a thousand tulips a few weeks away from blooming. And I highly recommend a visit anytime through the spring or summer–there's always something beautiful there, and it's a lovely place to catch some peace and quiet and nature.

I took the photos below at the Enid A. Haupt Garden and the George Mason Memorial.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the George Mason Memorial.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden (behind the Smithsonian Castle).
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the George Mason Memorial.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the George Mason Memorial.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the George Mason Memorial.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - March 15, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Saucer Magnolias at the George Mason Memorial.

3 thoughts on “Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 15, 2022”

  1. I’m so sad to see the damaged Saucer Magnolias at Enid Haupt Garden. They put on such a gorgeous display. I was fortunate to see them last year in their glory but they were struck down by a windstorm the next day. I will surely miss them this year .

    Reply
  2. I was in DC Yesterday March 14th I did find 1 Cherry Blossom tree on the Tidal Basin that had some blooms!! It was a Beautiful Day in DC and the walk on the Tidal Basin was So Nice!!

    Reply

Leave a Comment