Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 24, 2015

There’s noticeable progress in the cherry blossom buds, but the trees still have a way to go before flowering.

Photo of Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015 taken by David Coleman.
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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.

Despite the odd nice day recently, we've still mostly had lower-than-average temperatures. And that's slowing all the area's flowers down. I've come across some scattered clumps of daffodils out, but most of them haven't come out yet. With the chill in the air and the slalom courses around the potholes on the roads, spring has made a pretty unconvincing start so far.

Around the Tidal Basin, the cherry blossom buds are getting more pronounced but still have a way to go. There's noticeable progress since the last update, but it's still early in the process.

The parking lot on the eastern side of the Tidal Basin, off Maine Ave SW, is now closed for the cherry blossom festival. A few tents have been set up, but nothing is open yet except for the National Park Service concession kiosk. The paddle boats are open for business, but customers aren't exactly lining up to take them out while there's still a chill in the air.

The fountain in the World War Two Memorial is back in action, but the Reflecting Pool is still drained. I asked several NPS rangers if they knew when it would be refilled and none could give me an answer. So far as I can work out, it depends on progress on some repair work that's going on.

If you're looking for an early preview of flowers, there's a small cluster of trees starting to bloom across the street from the Tidal Basin, next to the World War One Memorial. Details are below.

In another illustration of how much it varies from year to year, on this day in 2012, the show was pretty much over already.

There haven't been any changes to the peak bloom forecasts. You can always find the latest peak bloom predictions on the forecasts page.

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

There is one small group of trees flowering with white and pink blossoms just back from the Tidal Basin, over next to the World War One Memorial. There are lots of different varieties of flowering cherry and fruit trees in the area, and I'm not sure what varieties these are. Perhaps some of the flower experts reading this might be able to identify them from the photos and let us know in the comments.

And before you get worried that the main event has started, these 4 or 5 trees are very much outliers. Most of the trees have quite a way to go before they start flowering.

If you want to find these for yourself, head to the MLK Memorial. Cross the street at the lights towards the DC World War One Memorial. Once on the other side of the street, they're at about 45 degrees to your right, about 50 yards in (map below).

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossoms March 24, 2015

Here's a map showing where they are:

38 thoughts on “Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 24, 2015”

  1. I have some bad news. The tree at the WWI memorial is not a cherry tree. Bummer. We were at the indicator tree yesterday and it’s in stage 2 (Peduncle Elongation). It’s supposed to be 72 degrees F tomorrow and so hopefully we’ll see more action.

    Reply
  2. Thank you so much for all these cool information! Besides the trees close to the MLK memorial, I was wondering what the indicator tree that you mentioned previously is looking like recently, not sure if you got a chance to check it out? Do you mind providing an address for that tree as well? My fiancΓ© will be in town next weekend but it seems like it might be raining then, but hopefully we can still see some blooming!Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. Thank you so much for the update and beautiful pictures.. we’re coming around 4-6th April..hope some trees are blossoming πŸ™‚

    Reply
  4. I have always wanted to visit Washington DC during the Cherry Festival .I will be visiting the Nation’s capitol between April 3-7th this year. Will there likely be any cherry trees in blossom then, even if it is not peak blooming time?

    Reply
    • The best chances will be at the later end of your visit. While it is pretty remarkable how they all come out at roughly the same time, it’s still not precisely the same time. So there’s a good chance that you might catch some trees starting earlier than others.

      Reply
  5. I am saddened because I have planned my Vacation to early for the Cherry Blossoms. I have wanted to see them for a few years now….I finally talked my husband into going to DC…Hopefully we still have some fun doing all the stuff there is to do there…even though I will be a bit broken hearted.Good thing is…Just about everything on our to do list is FREE….loooooove it!

    Reply
    • Yes, DC is certainly full of great things to do and see. And even if the cherry blossoms might not be out, many of the other early flowers and trees should start soon. Enjoy your visit!

      Reply
  6. Thank you for the information. I’ve never been to DC so I’m wondering if we still can see the cherry flower by 4/17? How long do they usually last after peak time? is there any chance the peak time would be delayed until 4/17-4/18 this year?

    Reply
    • It’s possible, but unless the forecasts change it’s going to be right at the end and most of the flowers will be on their way out. The trees typically look great for at least 2 days after the peak bloom. By 3-4 days they’re starting to fall off. But it varies a little based on things like, wind, storms, rain, hot weather, etc, and not every tree is on precisely the same schedule. So if the peak bloom comes on April 14, which is the end of the current forecast window, there should be something to see on April 17, even if they’re past their prime. But if they bloom earlier than that, the chances reduce.

      Reply
  7. Dear David,

    Thank you for all these wonderful images with updates. Eagerly waiting for your next update. We hope to see a lot more action by next week.
    I believe all the paddle boats are already sold out on their website. I hope we can still get one and enjoy beautiful views from the lake.

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  8. Thank you for your updates. I am planning a visit for April 13th & 14th and hopefully hitting the peak bloom date. Do you recommend a particular area around the Tidal Basin or in East Potomac Park that has the most clusters of trees or a good vantage point for the most picturesque photos? I don’t want to overlook a really pretty spot.
    Thanks πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • You really can’t go wrong. The trees are all the way around the Tidal Basin, and it’s basically circular, so you can just wander around the whole thing in a loop. Some of the oldest trees are over by the MLK and FDR Memorials, with their branches hanging out over the water (there are also a few with overhanging branches over next to the Jefferson Memorial). If you’re there in the very early morning and it’s clear around sunrise, the side over by the MLK and FDR Memorials catch the early sun. The opposite side gets the later afternoon sun.

      Reply
    • There’s a small group of a few cherry or fruit trees flowering near the World War One Memorial. They’re not the main cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin. I’ve added a map above.

      Reply
  9. Me and my friends with family planning to visit DC for cherry blossom festival and of course for blossoms on 4th and 5th April, so can you please update me that it is the right time or its early to see flowers….
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • The current peak bloom forecasts range from April 9 to April 14. If it ends up being on the early end, there’ll probably be some early flowers to see by April 5, although most of the trees won’t yet have reached full bloom. It’s also possible the forecasts might be revised before then.

      Reply
  10. We’re trying to plan our engagement pictures to coincide with the cherry blossoms if possible. Our options are April 12 or April 18 — which do you recommend for the best chance of great pictures?

    Reply
  11. We are coming up on Saturday, March 28 to try and find some blossoms…are our chances pretty good. Trying to check something off the bucket list!

    Reply
  12. Thank you for responding to my previous inquiry on the March 19th update. Looks like I lucked out with these trees! What I’m wondering now is that by the time the sun comes out, will these flowers be blown away and the next ones not in yet? When do you think I should go see them? Can it wait until Sunday (3/29), the only sunny day forecast for the entire time I’m here?

    Reply
  13. I am coming to Washington D.C. on April 4th and was wondering if the water is turned on at the Roosevelt Memorial as well? Thanks!

    Reply
    • It wasn’t when I was last there on Tuesday. I’ll make a note to check for the next update, which I hope to be in a few days.

      Reply
  14. . My family was originally suppose to go this week end the 27-31 but we decided to change the date to Easter for the blossom. Although it still may be early. Id just like to thank you for your update

    Reply
  15. Thanks for the update. I am learning photography and will be there in 1 week. It may be a little early for the blossoms though. Where is the best place to photograph the White House? And I have heard that with the recent fence jumpers that there is now 2 fences… which would make it difficult to photograph I would imagine. Is that the case? And surely they will have the reflecting pool filled up in time for the festival ???
    Trent

    Reply
    • Yes, the White House is a tough one. You have two options, the north side next to Lafayette Park or the south side next to the Ellipse. Both have extra security around the fences, so you’ll be looking through bars either side.

      Reply
  16. I could be right, Yoshino Cherry blossom peak bloom might actually end up being April 24, April 26, April 28, or even May 14 this year. April 11, April 14, or even April 18 might be a bit too early for cherry blossoms this year. Therefore, I believe April 18, 1958’s all time latest record is in danger of being broken this year.

    Reply

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