Peak Bloom Predictions Revised Again

Both the National Park Service and the *Washington Post*'s Capital Weather today revised their peak bloom predictions, pushing them back even further. Both are now predicting April 8 to 12.

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.

Both the National Park Service and the Washington Post‘s Capital Weather today revised their peak bloom predictions, pushing them back even further. Both are now predicting April 8 to 12.

While February was warmer than normal and got the buds off to an early start, it has been cool weather since, and so far in March we’re about 3.5° below average. That has kept things moving at a glacial pace. And after crunching their weather forecast data looking ahead, both the NPS and Post have concluded that it’s just not going to be warm enough in the next couple of weeks to bring most of the trees to full bloom.

As you can see from the photos below, all taken this morning, the trees are at quite a range of stages. While the indicator tree is in full bloom and there’s a small handful of scattered trees that are starting to show some flowers, the vast majority are still in earlier bud stages. So it’s likely to be a rather drawn out blooming process, with some trees blooming well ahead of others.

Here are some examples with photos taken this morning around the Tidal Basin.

These are on one of the old Yoshinos a few trees to the east of the MLK Memorial statue.

You can find more photos from this morning here.

Last updated March 23, 2018

View Comments

  • Your updates are very helpful, thank you! Unfortunately, we already made plans to be there during the previously predicted peak period. Do you have any expectation of roughly what percentage of the trees will be in full bloom by March 31?

    • Not sure what percentage, but it will still be a minority. The warmer temperatures expected later this week will help bring more out.

  • How long past the Bloom "cuspid" do the blooms last ? Can they last until the weekend of
    April 21st ? Thanks

    • Probably not. In the right conditions (calm, cool, dry) they can last a week or more after peak bloom. In the wrong conditions (windy, rainy, hot, stormy) they can disappear within 3-5 days. Using photos from past years, I've put together a photo timeline that shows the type of thing you can expect here. But your timing might be good to catch another variety that blooms later. There are fewer of them, but they're particularly pretty. They're the Kwanzan cherries, and I have more on them here.

  • As the new prediction, the peak bloom will be April 8-12. Will the peak still be possible to come earlier, such as April 3-5? Tia!

    • There's a good chance. The magnolias are on the verge of fully blooming now but in the cool weather aren't opening up. The best place for regular updates on them is the Smithsonian Gardens Instagram feed here.

  • Thanks for all these updates!

    Do you know what’s happening with Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms? Are they still on track to bloom 2 weeks after Yoshino or is there a chance they might bloom at the same time?

    • It's still too early to tell. It's unlikely to be at the same time, but how much later varies quite a bit. It can be as little as 4 days and up to a month after. The average is about 15 days.