Variety Summer Sun


Article by David Marks

Summer Sun was raised in Norfolk at the John Innes Research Station, introduced in 1938 by Chris Bowers and Sons.

It has an attractive spreading shape and is a compact tree. Use the checklist below to decide if the Summer Sun 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 Summer Sun are produced mid to late season, ready for eating, on average, in the third week of July.
  • Fruits are of larger than normal size. They are dark red and have a sweet flavour with an excellent texture – not too firm but not too soft. Lots of flesh compared to other varieties.
  • The picking period is seven days.
  • This variety reliably produces a good amount of fruit.
  • Disease resistance is good with no significant problem areas.
  • Summer Sun is sometimes described as partially self-sterile but will produce a good crop even as a standalone tree. It can almost be considered as fully self-fertile.
  • It is fully hardy in all parts of the UK (however, see above about blossom) and a good choice for cooler areas.
  • It is also an excellent choice of tree for fan-training
  • Awarded a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 2004 and reconfirmed in 2014.

Summer Sun variety of cherries
Picture from public sector information licensed under the Open Government
Licence v2.0.


Summer Sun can often be found in your local garden centre and is also available online from several suppliers on Gisela 5 and Colt rootstock.
It is best grown on Gisela 5 rootstock in containers and small to medium sized gardens. 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.

Walcot Organic Nursery (click here for the relevant page) sell Summer Sun as an organically grown variety raised on Soil Association certified and DEFRA inspected specialist nursery. Not only is this an environmentally friendly method of growing fruit trees but you can be sure that it will establish quickly in your garden.


Summer Sun is in pollination group 3 to 4, partially self-sterile and and will benefit from a suitable pollination partner to produce the maximum amount of fruit. However, it is one of those varieties which will still fruit well as a stand alone tree. The following varieties produce blossom at roughly the same time (late April to early May) and are suitable for pollinating Summer Sun. They are easily obtainable in the UK:

  • Lapins, pollination group 2 to 3, eating variety
  • Van, pollination group 3, eating variety
  • Penny, 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 Summer Sun will grow to about 4m / 13ft tall when it has reached maturity after about 7 years. On Gisela 5 rootstock it will grow into a 2.5m / 8ft tall tree making it an excellent choice for small gardens and containers.


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 Summer Sun 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 Summer Sun 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 July for Summer Sun. 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.