About the Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms

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.
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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.

It's still too early to guess with any confidence when Washington DC's famous cherry blossoms will bloom in 2022. We won't start getting a sense of the timing until into the new year.

In 2021, Washington DC's famous cherry blossom reached peak bloom on March 28. They're now done for the year.

You can find the most recent updates here.

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.

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

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Cherry Blossoms on April 15 2013 01 COPYRIGHT HAVECAMERAWILLTRAVEL.COM  678x453 - About the Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms

Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms April 14 2015 10 COPYRIGHT HAVECAMERAWILLTRAVEL.COM  678x453 - About the Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms

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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
2018

Want to Help Support DC's Cherry Trees?

If you'd like to help support the care and upkeep of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin, the Trust for The National Mall has launched an Endow a Cherry Tree Campaign. Donations go to the official Cherry Tree Endowment, which will give the National Park Service additional resources to fund the care, maintenance, and possible replacement of the cherry trees. You can find more information here.

The Trust is dedicated to marshaling private support for maintaining and improving the historic National Mall area. I'm not affiliated with the Trust--just an admirer of their efforts.

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