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The Carmine Jewel Cherry Tree

The Carmine Jewel cherry tree is a self-pollinating dwarf or bush cherry with small, tart-flavored fruit. Popular among gardeners, landscapers, and cherry enthusiasts. The fruit is renowned for its dark red color. The tree gives a heavy yield and is resistant to frost. 

Carmine Jewel Cherry Tree

A cross between the prunus fruticosa (European dwarf cherry) and cerasus (sour cherry), the Carmine Jewel cherry tree is the perfect size for courtyards, urban lots, and indoor/outdoor containers. Just one of these dwarf cherry cultivars is generally sufficient for the average household. Plus, they take up far less space than alternative varieties.

During the spring, the Carmine’s white and pink blossoms will impress neighbors and delight your family. These exquisite blooms become delicious Carmine Jewel cherry fruits, renowned for their flavor and appearance. Local pollinators will love your cherry tree as much as you do as it becomes an integral part of your neighborhood ecosystem.

History of the Carmine Jewel Cherry Tree

The Carmine Jewel cherry treebegan as a cross between the sour cherry and European dwarf cherry. In the 1940s, Dr. Les Kerr interbred the two varieties at Morden Research Center. His work was later taken up by Dr. Stewart Nelson and Rick Sawatzky. In the 1970s and 80s, these two worked to produce a cultivar that had the best fruit and cold-resistance in a dwarfed size.

By 1985, the tree was nearing its true birth. Sawatzky continued the work with Dr. Cecil Stushnoff, now incorporating the Minnesota North Star cultivar into their crosses. These led to the 1999 production of the self-pollinating Carmine Jewel with its bigger, redder, sweeter fruit, all in a compact size.

Tree / Fruit Characteristics 

There are numerous reasons why the Carmine Jewel dwarf cherry bush has ascended to such popularity. Its tasty fruit is famous for its sweet, tart flavor that exemplifies the classic dessert cherry. The wait time is quite short at only two or three years, making it a great pick for more eager gardeners. Plus, its stunning white and pink blossoms make up for the wait. 

The Carmine Jewel grows much more like a large shrub than a classic cherry tree. Its glossy green foliage is a pointed oval shape with gently serrated edges. The tree’s compact size makes it a cinch to integrate it into your lawn or garden. This cultivar is extremely cold-hardy and relatively easy to grow. 

Maintenance is simple and the bush gives a surprisingly high yield for its size. This all-around kind of cherry should be allowed to ripen to deep red. Leave it on the bush until fully ripe, as cherries do not ripen once picked. These sweet, mouth-puckering sour fruit will be ready to pick in July. 

Planting Zones

The Carmine Jewel cherry tree is an incredibly hardy plant that stands up to major climatic shifts. The Carmine Jewel grows well in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8. This makes it a great choice for growers in climates that experience more extreme highs and lows.

Size and Spacing

One of the major benefits of the Carmine Jewel cherry tree is its truncated size and shape. Your full-grown tree may be as tall as 2.5 meters (about 8 feet) and about as wide, but that is where this cultivar tends to max out. You should put about a tree’s worth (between 6 and 8 feet) of space between each Carmine Jewel to ensure branches and roots have sufficient space to grow. 


Carmine Jewel Cherry Blossoms
Carmine Jewel Sour Cherry blossoms

The Carmine Jewel dwarf cherry tree is a self-pollinating variety. This means you can plant just one tree and still harvest delicious cherry fruit. Planting two or more cherries is recommended if you care about harvest size. That is because cross-pollination can improve fruit size and production. 

That said, a great benefit of this variety is only needing one tree. Carmine Jewels are perfectly capable of producing a harvest suitable for any recreational gardener. If you do decide to plant additional trees, keep them within 15 meters (about 50 feet).

Carmine Jewel Cherry Tree Care

Carmine Jewels are some of the easier fruit-bearing trees to care for. A vital part of this tree’s popularity is its simple, no-fuss maintenance. There is no need for a second tree for pollination: one tree will bear fruit all by itself. If you want to increase your harvest or tree size, planting additional Carmine Jewels nearby can help.


The Carmine Jewel wants to have full sun. You should plant it where it gets direct sunlight for at least eight hours per day. More than this is unnecessary, but less can lower your tree’s yields. 


You should water your Carmine Jewel regularly during the summer, especially if it is in a container. Pay closer attention to watering during the hottest days of the year. The tree’s soil should be well-drained and loamy. Outside of the peak hot season, water sparingly but deeply.


Pruning A Cherry Tree

You should prune your Carmine Jewel cherry tree once every growing season. There is no need to go wild: just prune the canopy to give each branch plenty of room for airflow. Proper airflow between branches helps prevent pest infestations, certain diseases, and fruit rot. 

You can also prevent potential issues with pests and disease with a proper spraying program. Stopping problems at their onset is much easier and more affordable than waiting until they grow out of control. 

Spotted Winged Drosophila, or SWD, are one of the worst pests to watch out for. These flying pests like to lay eggs inside cherry fruits. Pruning helps remove shady spots for these insects to hide and helps increase the efficiency of spray treatments.

Common Uses For The Fruit

Carmine Jewel cherries are delicious added to baked goods, preserved, frozen, or eaten raw. Try a classic recipe or use your imagination to use up these abundant fruits.

What Do Carmine Jewel Cherries Taste Like?

Carmine Jewel cherry fruits are smaller than other varieties but pack a real flavorful punch. These little fruits have a firm texture once fully ripe that conceals an unmatchable sweet, tart taste.


Vanilla Almond Cherry Cake
Vanilla Almond Cherry Cake (click on image for recipe).

These cherries are a phenomenal option for pastries and desserts. They are also commonly used to ferment cherry wine. These are a prime choice for cherry pies, tarts, cake toppers, juices, jams, and preserves. Their balanced flavor of mostly sweet with some tartness is popular in a wide variety of recipes. Carmine Jewel cherries also make a fine addition to many mixed drinks.

Check out our other cherry recipes on Minneopa Orchards.

Eating Raw

It is not uncommon for the Carmine Jewel to become people’s favorite cherries. Few fruits are as scrumptious plucked right off the tree. Bushes can produce 15, 20, or even 30 pounds each harvest as they mature, so you will have plenty to eat and share. Store them with stems intact if you plan to save them for later, and keep them at 0 C (32) F in perforated plastic bags.

If you like ice cream with cherries on top, this is your fruit. The firm, glossy feel and balanced taste make it a perfect choice for topping frozen desserts on a hot day. 

Canning / Freezing / Drying 

Carmine Jewel cherries hold up well when frozen, canned, or dried. Cherries remain fresh while frozen for about six months. Canned cherries often last much longer without losing much in flavor or quality.

Health Benefits of Sweet Cherries

Carmine Jewel cherries have loads of vitamin C and antioxidants that make them a healthy addition to most diets. Regular consumption may help prevent certain cardiovascular diseases and preserve overall cardiovascular health. 

Where To Buy Carmine Jewel Cherry Trees

You can buy Carmine Jewel cherry trees from professional growers like Nature Hills Nursery

Where To Buy Carmine Jewel Cherries

Carmine Jewel trees may be tougher to find than other varieties, owing to their popularity but also their newness. This cultivar is only a few decades old, meaning it is less widespread than alternatives. Looking online is your best bet, though be sure to check early in the season to have your best chances of finding them. 

Wrapping Up The Carmine Jewel Cherry Tree

Carmine Jewel dwarf cherry trees are an increasingly popular backyard and commercial cultivar. Their compact size, large yields, and delectable red fruit make them an appealing choice among its older counterparts. Since they are easy to maintain, they are a great choice for newcomers. 

Carmine Jewels are beautiful as decorative trees, too. Their size is a perfect match for urban gardening or areas without much room to spare. Existing landscapes will be enriched by beautiful white and pink cherry blossoms. Wildlife will also love to find refuge beneath its canopy. Whether you are an experienced grower or want some fresh fruit while your family plays in the yard, the Carmine Jewel is a fantastic fit.

Excited for more cherry content? Then visit our cherry page for more planting tips, growing guides, recipe ideas, and more!