Variety Sweetheart



Article by David Marks

Sweetheart is one of the most recent cherry varieties, it was raised in Canada, British Columbia at the Summerland Research Station, introduced in 1990. The parents of Sweetheart are Van and Newstar.

Use the checklist below to decide if the Sweetheart 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 Sweetheart are produced very late in the season season, ready for eating, on average, in the second week of August.
  • Fruits are of average size. They are red to dark red and have a sweet flavour with an excellent texture. There is a background acidity to the taste which is very pleasant to most people.
  • This an eating variety of cherry but can also be used used for jams and cooking although it will tend to loose its shape and form.
  • The picking period is longer than average (possibly the longest of all cherry trees) and lasts for at least two weeks, often into very early September.
  • This variety reliably produces a large amount of fruit, some seasons the fruits require thinning to avoid branch damage.
  • Disease resistance is good although mildew can be a problem in some areas.
  • Sweetheart is self-fertile and always produces a good crop even as a standalone tree.
  • 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 2014.

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


Sweetheart can often be found in your local garden centre and is also available online from several suppliers on Gisela 5 and Colt rootstock.  We recommend growing it on Colt rootstock in most situations. 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.


Sweetheart is in pollination group 3 to 4, self-fertile and does not need a pollination partner. It can be used to pollinate the following other cherry tree varieties in the UK:

Blossom of cherry tree Sweetheart
Blossom of Sweetheart Cherry tree

  • Lapins, pollination group 2 to 3, eating variety
  • Van, pollination group 3, eating variety
  • Penny, pollination group 3 to 4, eating variety
  • Summer Sun, 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 Sweetheart will grow to about 3m / 10ft tall when it has reached maturity after about 7 years. It can easily be pruned to reach a maximum height of 2m / 7ft. On Gisela 5 rootstock it will grow into a 2m / 7ft tall tree but will need more care than if grown on a Colt rootstock.


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 Sweetheart 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 Sweetheart in the first year according to the suppliers instructions. Prune annually in later years, in mid July. 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.