Variety Penny


Article by David Marks

The Penny cherry tree was raised in the UK at the East Malling Research station and was first introduced in 2001. It achieved its primary purpose of producing fruit late in the season and is commercially grown in the UK.

Use the checklist below to decide if the Penny cherry tree variety is correct for you and your garden. If this is not the correct variety, see our cherry tree varieties page, to select another variety which may suit you better.

  • The fruits of Penny are produced late season, ready for eating, on average, in the second week of August. In combination with an early or mid season variety Penny extends the cherry picking season.
  • Fruits are of large size. They are dark red and have a sweet flavour.
  • The picking period is seven days.
  • The parents of Penny are Colney and Inga.
  • This variety reliably produces a good amount of fruit.
  • Disease resistance is about is good with no significant problem areas.
  • Penny is self-sterile and needs a pollination partner to produce fruit. If you are looking for a late season cherry variety which is self-fertile (i.e. produces fruit as a single tree) then we can highly recommend the variety Sweetheart.
  • It is fully hardy in all parts of the UK (however, see above about blossom) and a good choice for cooler areas.
  • Awarded a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 2014.


Penny is can sometimes be found in your local garden centre and is also available online on Gisela 5 and Colt rootstock.  It can be bought as both a potted tree (generally more expensive) all year round or as a bare-rooted tree from October to March (cheaper). We would recommend buying bare-rooted.


Penny is in pollination group 3 to 4, self-sterile and and needs a suitable pollination partner to produce fruit. The following varieties produces blossom at roughly the same time (late April to early May) and are suitable for pollinating Penny. They are easily obtainable in the UK:

  • Van, pollination group 3, eating variety
  • Summer Sun, pollination group 3 to 4, eating variety
  • Sweetheart, pollination group 3 to 4, eating variety
  • Stella, pollination group 4, cooking variety
  • Sunburst, pollination group 4, eating variety
  • Morello, pollination group 4, cooking variety


On Colt rootstock Penny will grow to about 4m / 13ft tall when it has reached maturity after about 7 years. With an annual prune it can easily be kept to 2.4m / 8ft high for a manageable tree in most gardens. On Gisela 5 rootstock it will grow to approximately 2.4m / 8ft.


Click on the box below to see the full range of cherry tree varieties which we have reviewed in detail. Click on any one of them to see the full variety review.



The following are the key rules for growing this variety, click here for more detailed information about growing and pruning cherry trees:

  • Plant and grow in a full sun position.
  • The best time to plant Penny is in late autumn to early winter. It can be planted at other times of year but will require watering more frequently to ensure it establishes well.
  • Plant the tree to the same depth as it was in the pot. If planting bare-rooted trees you will see a natural soil mark just above the roots which indicates the correct depth for planting.
  • Spread an 8cm / 3in layer of mulch around the base of the tree but not touching the main trunk. A mulched circle of about 1m / 3ft will be sufficient. This will retain moisture in the soil below and greatly help the tree to establish well.
  • Water very well immediately after planting.
  • Stake the tree for the first two years of its life on a Colt rootstock. If planted on Gisela 5 rootstock the tree will require staking for its life.
  • In the first summer after planting the tree, water well if conditions become dry.
  • Prune Penny in the first year according to the suppliers instructions. Prune annually in later years, immediately after the fruit has stopped being produced which will be about the third¬† week of August for Penny. See our detailed article on pruning cherry trees.
  • An annual mulch in late Spring will help to retain moisture and an even supply of water.
  • If any pests or diseases appear treat them as soon as possible. Consult our cherry tree pest and disease page for detailed information on identifying and treating problems.