morello cherries
morello cherries
(Image credit: Jeppestown)

Cherries fall into two categories: sweet cherries and sour or acidic cherries. While some people enjoy eating acidic cherries fresh from the tree, the fruit is more often used for jams, jellies and pies. English Morello cherries are sour cherries, ideal for cooking, jams and even making liquors. Read on for more information about English Morello sour cherries, including tips on growing these cherry trees.

Cherry Morello Information

English Morello cherries are the most popular cooking cherries in the UK, where they have been grown for over four centuries. English Morello cherry trees also grow well in the United States.

These cherry trees grow to about 20 feet (6.5 m.) tall, but you can keep them pruned to a considerably shorter height if you prefer. They are highly ornamental, with showy blossoms that remain on the tree for an exceptionally long period of time.

They are also self-fruitful, which means that the trees do not require another species nearby to produce fruit. On the other hand, English Morello trees can serve as pollinators for other trees.

English Morello sour cherries are very dark red and can even border on black. They are smaller than typical sweet cherries, but each tree is productive and produces a large amount of fruit. The juice of the cherries is also dark red.

The trees were introduced to this country in the mid-1800s. They are small with rounded canopies. The branches droop, making it easy to harvest English Morello cherries.

Growing Morello Cherries

You can start growing Morello cherries in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. The trees are small enough that you can include two in a small garden, or else build a flowering hedge with them.

If you are considering growing these cherries, keep in mind that they ripen very late in cherry season. You may still be harvesting cherry Morello fruit in the end of June or even July, depending on where you live. Expect the picking period to last about a week.

Plant cherries Morello in rich, well-draining soil. You may want to offer the trees fertilizer since English Morello trees need more nitrogen than sweet cherry trees. You may also need to irrigate more often than with sweet cherry trees.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.