About the Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms Near the Tidal Basin

The Kwanzan cherry blossoms are particularly pretty and tend to come out 10-14 days after the Yoshinos. So if you miss the end of the Yoshino cherry blossoms’ bloom, the Kwanzans can offer beautiful consolation.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
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2023 Peak Bloom

The NPS judged that the Yoshino cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin reached peak bloom on March 23, 2023. They're now done for the year..

If you find that you’re too late for the main cherry blossoms, you might still be in luck with the Kwanzan cherry blossoms. They bloom a week or two after the most famous ones. There are fewer of the Kwanzans, but they’re especially pretty.

The most famous, oldest, and numerous, around the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park/Hains Point are the Yoshino cherry blossoms (Prunus x yedoensis). There are over 1,400 of that variety around the Tidal Basin.

But there’s more than one type of cherry blossom; around the Tidal Basin and National Mall there are another ten varieties of cherry trees. And they don’t all bloom at exactly the same time. Some, like the Higan cherry, bloom in the autumn and often carry flowers through winter and into early spring (and often spark some confusion about early blooming because of that).

The Kwanzan cherry blossoms bloom a little later than the Yoshinos. Their average peak bloom date is around April 22, and the historical average (going back nearly a century) is that they reach peak bloom 15 days after the Yoshinos reach peak bloom. It does vary year to year, though, and sometimes it has been as little as 4 days later, while other times up to a month. So if you miss the end of the Yoshino cherry blossoms’ bloom, the Kwanzans can offer a very pretty consolation.

You might also see these referred to as Kanzan, without the “w.”

They have a much darker pink, 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). And there are also far fewer people crowding around them.

Kwanzans are actually quite common in the region, and you’ll notice them all over the place once you start looking. They can even in the most unlikely of places–there are actually quite a lot lining the I-66 highway, for instance–and they’re popular in residential neighborhoods. You might also hear of them under different names, including Sekiyama cherry trees and, more properly, Prunus serrulata ‘Kanzan’. All refer to the same type of tree.

If you’re down near the Tidal Basin, there’s over 400 Kwanzan cherry trees split between a large grove and some smaller groves on Hains Point/East Potomac Park. 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.

If you’re heading down to take photos of the ones next to East Potomac Park, they get the afternoon sun but are in the shade in the early morning. There are parking spots right next to them, and there are rarely many people about. It’s also a very nice area for a quiet walk or bike ride. If you’re after morning sunlight, there are a half dozen or so next to the playing field in West Potomac Park along the bend of West Basin Drive.

There are also about 44 Kwanzan cherry trees around the Tidal Basin interspersed with the others.

Photos of the Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms

Kwanzan Cherry BlossomsPin
Kwanzan Cherry BlossomsPin
Kwanzan Cherry BlossomsPin
Kwanzan Cherry BlossomsPin
Kwanzan Cherry BlossomsPin
Kwanzan Cherry BlossomsPin
Cherry Blossoms on April 15, 2013Pin
Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms - April 14, 2015Pin
Photo of Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms at East Potomac Park Washington DC - April 12, 2021 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms at East Potomac Park Washington DC - April 12, 2021 taken by David Coleman.Pin
Photo of Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms at East Potomac Park Washington DC - April 12, 2021 taken by David Coleman.Pin

How to Find the Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms

And here’s where you can find some of them (the markers):

DC Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms Peak Bloom

Here are the historical peak bloom dates for the Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms. The data published by the NPS on this is incomplete, but this is what’s available.

Based on this data, the Kwanzans reach peak bloom on average 15 days after the Yoshinos, but as you can see there is wide variation–sometimes it has been as little as 4 days later and sometimes as much as a month. Just as with the Yoshinos, temperatures are the big factor in determining the bloom’s timing.

YoshinoKwanzanDays Later
1921March 20April 1728
1922April 7April 2013
1923April 9April 2213
1924April 13April 2613
1925March 27April 1519
1926April 11April 2413
1927March 20April 2031
1928April 8April 2618
1929March 31April 1414
1930April 1April 2221
1931April 11April 209
1932April 15April 2914
1933April 9April 2314
1934April 15May 116
1935April 1April 2625
1936April 7April 2114
1937April 14April 2612
1938March 25April 1521
1939March 30April 1415
1940April 13April 2613
1941April 12April 2513
1942April 5April 1611
1943April 4April 1713
1944April 9April 2617
1945March 20March 288
1946March 23April 210
1947April 12April 2715
1948March 28April 1013
1949March 29April 1618
1950April 9April 2920
1951April 6April 2519
1952April 9April 2112
1953March 27April 1418
1954April 6April 1913
1955April 2April 1917
1956April 6April 2822
1957April 8April 2315
1958April 18April 268
1959April 6April 2014
1960April 14April 2511
1961April 2April 2927
1962April 7April 2922
1963April 3April 1815
1964April 11April 2615
1965April 15May 217
1966April 5April 1712
1967April 6April 1913
1968March 30
1969April 9
1970April 16
1971April 8
1972April 11
1973April 11
1974April 3
1975April 3April 1916
1976March 23April 1220
1977March 26April 1015
1978April 12April 2311
1979April 2April 1513
1980April 6April 2721
1981April 3April 2825
1982April 7April 2619
1983April 7April 114
1984April 3April 1310
1985April 7April 158
1986April 2April 1412
1987March 28April 710
1988March 31April 99
1989March 29April 68
1990March 15April 117
1991March 29April 810
1992April 7April 1710
1993April 11April 3019
1994April 5April 1813
1995April 2April 1513
1996April 4April 2218
1997March 26April 813
1998March 27April 59
1999April 5April 2015
2000March 17April 1024
2001April 6April 1711
2002April 2April 1715
2003April 2April 1816
2004March 31April 1818
2005April 9April 2011
2006March 30April 1718
2007April 1April 2019
2008March 29April 1820
2009April 1April 1918
2010March 31April 77
2011March 29April 1618
2012March 20
2013April 9
2014April 10
2015April 10
2016March 25
2017March 25

35 thoughts on “About the Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms Near the Tidal Basin”

  1. I follow your forecast every yr and enjoy it very much. I know things have changed down there quite a bit in regard to parking and since I’m handicapped and require a power chair to get around, I was wondering where the best places to park would be for me

    • Hi Jim. There’s still just as much parking as there has ever been, but a few years ago they converted most of it to metered parking. But there are a few designated areas for accessible parking–I have some specific information on that here

  2. Hello,

    I will be out in the DC area from April 22 – April 29. Will there still be any Yoshino cherry blossoms left or will they all be gone by then? Also if they are gone, is it predicted that the Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms will be in bloom during that time? Thanks.

    • The Yoshinos will be done by then. The timing should be good for the Kwanzans, but I haven’t seen a current peak bloom forecast for them.

  3. Hi David, We plan to be there in April 6th to April 8. Is that still Cherry flower for us to see. Do you have any pictures of Cherry flower after pick bloom, how much left on the trees? Your advise is greatly appreciated. Your photos so beautiful!

    • The most recent peak bloom prediction I’ve heard from the NPS for them is for April 10-13. If that holds it’ll be perfect timing. They tend to do things at a bit more leisurely pace than the Yoshinos and stay out a little longer, so timing isn’t usually quite so critical with them. I’ve been checking in on them over the past few days and there’s really nothing new to see since last week’s update. As we get closer and start seeing some movement I’ll be posting more regular updates on them.

      • Thanks so much for the reply. I know it’s not quite the show that the other cherry blossoms put on, but are the Kwanzans spread out? Is there a site where I can see what they look like along the Tidal Basin?

        • They’re very pretty, though. There’s a map lower down on the page that has pink marking where some of the larger clusters are. Most of them aren’t directly on the banks of Tidal Basin itself, but they’re nearby.

  4. Can someone give me the status on the Kwanzan Cherry’s this year? What do they look like now? Are they near peak bloom?


  5. Is there any parking lots in East Potomac Park to see Kwanzan cherry blossoms? or do we have to park somewhere and walk to that park?

    Thanks very much!

    • There’s parking right next to both–within 50 feet or so of the trees. For the ones next to the FDR Memorial there’s parking along West Basin Drive, Ohio Drive, and the parking lots under the 14th Street Bridge. For the ones next to East Potomac Park, there are parking spots all the way around Hains Point and you should have no problem pulling up right next to them. Now that the Yoshinos have finished around the Tidal Basin you won’t have much problem with crowds and parking is much easier.

  6. Hi David — Monday April 4th here ….. When do you expect the Kwanzan trees to be in peak bloom this year ? … We will be arriving on April 10th. From what I read, they usually bloom 15 days after the ‘ Y ‘ trees. So am I looking right on target for the ‘ K ‘ trees ??? …. Thank you. Tom

    • It might be a bit on the early side by a few days. I hope to swing by them again later this week and will post some new photos.

      • Thank you for your prompt reply, David. We will be booking a last minute flight from Denver CO just to see the blossoms, so I’m hoping to do so either this weekend or next. Would next weekend be a better choice, or will it then be too late? We missed the Yoshinos. 🙁 Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Your photos are beaauutiful!

      • Thanks, David. I did see the photos and read your post regarding them taking 10-14 days post Yoshino bloom. Just trying to figure out which dates to fly in to catch the Kwanzans.

        • I’m afraid I don’t follow the Kwanzans as closely and am much less familiar with their patterns. There aren’t as many of them and they’re a bit more out of the way a little distance from the Tidal Basin. I hope to get down there tomorrow morning to take another look. And the NPS has a list of the historic bloom dates that will at least give some idea of historical averages relative to the Yoshinos.

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