Belcarra Garden Club
BC, Canada

BC Cherry Trees

by Les Bramley and Nora Boekhout

More about cherry trees!  It seems that not many of the people who Les has been chatting with were aware that BC plays a prominent part in the world’s evolution of cherries.  BC grows 95% of the cherries in Canada! It seems there are over five thousand acres of cherries here and we produce 16,000 tons of cherries annually! 70% of the world's total cherry production are Canadian Non-GMO varieties. It’s another feather in our BC caps, says Les, and so he pursued the topic for this month’s article.

Cherries arrived in BC in 1892 when 500 trees were planted by Lord and Lady Aberdeen at Vernon's Coldstream Ranch.  It was the construction of the Grey Canal that allowed water loving plants like cherry trees to thrive in the Okanagan Valley.

cherry trees
image from Types of Cherry Trees: Leaves, Flowers, Fruit (Pictures) (

BC has three regions which are blessed with ideal conditions: the Okanagan Valley, the Creston  Valley and the Similkameen Valley. 
The Summerland Research Station was established in 1914. Eighty percent of all commercial cherry varieties worldwide have their origins from our Summerland Research Station.  No wonder Les says, "That's pretty impressive!"  Some of their varieties are Stella, Sweetheart, Stacato, Sentennial and Lapins. The Summerland Series Cherries are: Sweetheart, Santina, Skeena, Lapins, Sandra Rose, Sylvia, and Sonnet. Apparently it takes 20 years to develop a new cherry!  It may take 7 years for a tree to grow to maturity. The latest success, Staccato, has helped grow the industry by five times in just 13 years!

In the1930s Little Cherry Disease struck cherry trees across BC. and quarantine measures were put in place.  This disease results in small bitter fruit. In 1969 an orchard in Penticton was infected and by 1977, fourteen hundred cherry trees throughout the Okanagan had to be removed. The Provincial Government continues to monitor for Little Cherry Disease.

In 2014 a trade agreement was made with China and the fruit has become a boom crop. Now orchards are popping up all the time to satisfy local and international demand.

BC Cherries


We can only hope that changes in climate, which have decimated our BC Okanagan wine crops this past winter, will not have too drastic an effect on our beloved BC cherries.  For now, enjoy those cherry pies!


This information has been collected from a number of websites, which you can view online below.



BC Cherry Association
Cherry Varieties - BC Cherry Association

BC Cherry Association

Summerland Varieties Corp.
Summerland Varieties Corp – Intellectual Property Management for World-Class Tree Fruits​

BC Food History
BC Cherries - The British Columbia Food History Network (

photos of BC cherries

We Heart Local BC
Surprising (and sweet!) facts about BC cherries – We Heart Local BC

Tons of Facts
25 Interesting And Fascinating Facts About Cherries - Tons Of Facts

Types of Cherry Trees with Their Leaves and Flowers – Identification Guide (Pictures)
Types of Cherry Trees: Leaves, Flowers, Fruit (Pictures) (

Outforia: Types of Cherry Trees
15+ Different Types of Cherry Trees (Chart, Pictures and Facts) (

BC Gov. -Tree Fruits
Tree fruits - Province of British Columbia (

BC Agriculture in the Classroom Factsheet
GrowBC_2014_Cherries.pdf (


Looking for cherry farms?  Find a list here.
Sales Directory - BC Cherry Association

Coldstream Ranch- home of our first BC cherries
Coldstream Ranch

Little Cherry Disease
Pests | BC Tree Fruit Production Guide (


Taste of Home Recipes
31 Recipes to Make with Fresh Cherries (


Don't forget our last month's article on growing cherry trees from seed!

 Back to Belcarra Garden Club