Cherry Blossom Watch Update: April 15, 2014

The cherry blossoms are mostly done now. Most trees have dropped all or nearly all of their petals and are starting to be covered with green leaves. If you go hunting, you can find the occasional tree that's lagging behind and still has some pink blossoms, but they're few and far between. But the Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms not far away are just starting to come out.

Current Peak Bloom Predictions

NPS: Between April 2 & 5
Washington Post: Between March 30 & April 3

The National Park Service is discouraging visits to the Tidal Basin in person this year due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. And it's possible they might close off the area again, something they did last year. They've said they'll clarify their plans in the next few weeks.

A warm and sunny weekend brought huge crowds out, with all the complications that come with that. The timing with the cherry blossoms in full bloom could not have been better.

We’ve now got rain. And winter just will not give up. Tonight the temperatures plummet and, somewhat unbelievably, we’re heading overnight into a freeze warning that has potential to do some real damage to spring flowers. There’s even some talk of the possibility a few snowflakes.

The cherry blossoms are mostly done now. A light blanket of cherry blossom petals lines a lot of the ground around the Tidal Basin, looking from a distance a bit like pink and white snow. Most trees have dropped all or nearly all of their petals and are starting to be covered with green leaves. If you go hunting, you can find the occasional tree that’s lagging behind and still has some pink blossoms, but they’re few and far between. And today’s heavy rain and wind later won’t help them stick around–they’ll be gone by this weekend. The trees aren’t yet fully covered in green leaves–they’re in a transitional phase right now–but that’ll change over the next week or so.

While the Yoshino Cherry Blossoms are pretty much done, there are other flowering trees just starting come out. You can find several around the northern entrance of the FDR Memorial (next to the MLK Memorial), and there’s a large grove of Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms along one side of Hains Point (see below for more information).

Another option, a little further afield, is to check out the offerings of the National Arboretum like the April 19 Spring in the Dogwoods tour. You can find their events schedule on their website.

Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms

The most famous, and numerous, around the Tidal Basin and Hains Point are the Yoshino Cherry Blossoms. But there’s more than one type of cherry blossom, and they don’t all come out at exactly the same time.

Right now, the Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms are just starting to pop. They should look beautiful over the next week or so. They have a much pinker, multilayered flower that looks a bit like a small rose. The trees themselves are quite low to the ground, so they’re especially good for getting a close look at the flowers (or for posing next to in photos).

There’s a large grove of them (and some smaller groves) on Hains Point. They’re on the side that’s opposite the airport, next to the golf course. If you do the one-way circuit around the tip of Hains Point on Ohio Drive you’ll see a long grove of them on your right and then another small grove at the intersection with Buckeye Drive near the US Park Police Headquarters. There are also a few more trees scattered around elsewhere.

If the freezing temperatures over the next couple of nights don’t knock them around too much, they should come into full bloom later this week or early next week. Here’s how they looked this morning.

And here’s where you can find them (the pink areas):

2015 Cherry Blossom Watch

So that’s about it for this year. Thanks for reading–it’s been great hearing from those of you who got to see the cherry blossoms in all their glory for the first time. And, of course, there have been many of you who have seen them before but keep coming back for more.

See you again in 2015.

Last updated April 4, 2017

View Comments

  • I just got into DC on Tuesday, during the storm, and unfortunately missed out on the Yoshinos. Happened to find a reference to your post on the Washington Post website and saw your information on the Kwanzans. Was able to check out East Potomac Park yesterday (Thursday) and was able to see many trees still in early-to-mid bloom stage (although I only went to the area that you indicated on your map NW of the golf course). A bit of a hike from the Metro, but well worth it.

    Thanks so much for the information and allowing me to salvage a cherry blossom viewing. The kwanzans are still quite vividly colored and beautiful, even if they are lesser known.

    • Glad it worked out, and thanks for the report on how they're progressing. Yes, they're a bit less convenient to get to unless you're driving or cycling, unfortunately.

  • I just wanted to say thank you for all your updates regarding the cherry blossoms. My wife and I flew into Washington D.C. last Saturday, the 12th, and were able to see the blossoms just after peak bloom. They were amazing! Thanks to your updates and your suggestions regarding getting to, photographing and other tips, we were able to spend a very enjoyable day at the tidal basin. Thanks again for all your help in making our trip perfect. I cannot wait until next year!

  • Hi David, I was a week early last year, and almost did it again this year. Thanks to your updates, I moved my trip a week later this year, and saw the cherry blossoms from just past peak bloom to falling paddles. Thanks for the great works, it helped a lot, and I am sure it helped a lot others too.

  • I was at DC yesterday hoping that the cherry blossoms would still be pretty fill, unfortunately with the wind yesterday there were none. I was a bit disappointed, but you can't control nature, so I will be checking next year and get down there ASAP once peak arrives!