Grafting Prunus Serotina

About 4-5 years ago I asked the question if there is a plum or cherry compatible? This is a link that describes p. Serotina Prunus serotina - Wikipedia . If I could find something to graft to the cherry it would be great because it grows extremely well here. It would be a fantastic rootstock. I’ve never found a compatible scion yet. A post on another gardening group I belong to recently became active again and reminded me of a tree I could never find a way to graft!

It occurs to me that you might be able to graft with an interstem; I wonder -
think prunus tomentosa would work?

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I have an interest but no knowledge in this area. Around here the borderline invasive Prunus is cerasifera, the so-called cherry plum. Looking into previous posts I see that you have investigated many cherry/plum issues extensively. My only contribution here is: what about Prunus cerasifera as an interstem? I’d really like to have a black cherry tree but it would have to be out of the fenced area someplace and just grown for its own sake…unless this grafting thing has a solution. I’ll be watching.
Edit: Looks like another contributor was typing while I was, and suggesting an interstem. I hope something develops here. Thanks for the post.

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It’s a good thought but I think I have tried tomentoso and besseyi. Those rootstocks are very compatible with Asian plums and I have a couple now grafted over to Asian plums.

Prunus serotina has 4 variants:

Prunus serotina var. alabamensis (alabama cherry)
Native to:
Southeastern U.S.A.: United States - Alabama, - Florida, - Georgia, - South Carolina

Prunus serotina var. salicifolia (capulin cherry)
Native to:
Southern Mexico: Mexico - Guanajuato, - Mexico, - Michoacan, - Queretaro
Central America: Guatemala

Prunus serotina var. serotina (black cherry)
Native to:
Eastern Canada: Canada - Quebec, - Nova Scotia, - Ontario, - New Brunswick
North-Central U.S.A.: United States - Illinois, - Iowa, - Kansas, - Minnesota, - Missouri, - Nebraska, - North Dakota, - Oklahoma, - Wisconsin
Northeastern U.S.A.: United States - Connecticut, - Indiana, - Maine, - Massachusetts, - Michigan, - New Hampshire, - New Jersey, - New York, - Ohio, - Pennsylvania, - Rhode Island, - Vermont, - West Virginia
Northern Mexico: Mexico - Chihuahua, - Coahuila, - Durango
South-Central U.S.A.: United States - Texas
Southeastern U.S.A.: United States - Alabama, - Arkansas, - Delaware, - Florida, - Georgia, - Kentucky, - Louisiana, - Maryland, - Mississippi, - North Carolina, - South Carolina, - Tennessee, - Virginia

Prunus serotina var. virens (verdant cherry)
Native to:
Northern Mexico: Mexico - Chihuahua, - Durango, - San Luis Potosi, - Sonora
South-Central U.S.A.: United States - New Mexico, - Texas
Southwestern U.S.A.: United States - Arizona

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“many” years ago when I lived in an apartment in “the city.”( for a very short time)
I was really wanting to learn to graft, there was a large wild black cherry tree next to the building ,and I was a rock climber then ,so i repeled out of a upper window ,on a rope , cut that tree back hard , and grafted ,everything I could onto it.
As I remember , there were ; peach, plum ,cherry and I forget what all on there , and they grew , many took. Grew well for that season.
I moved out in the fall and never went back.
Google earth shows the tree is gone.
Always wondered what people thought as they looked out the upper windows at that tree years later. No idea how long they grew ,etc.


Was anything found that would graft successfully to Prunus serotina? Does Adara plum or anything else work?
I have a large tree I am removing soon, it has declined over the last 10+ years and is a goner. I intend to put Cornelian cherry there. I have several seedlings adjacent to my fence that are about 4-10 feet tall, they are also going down. If there is something that will graft, I’ll try a bark graft. I assume watersprouts will happen, too.

Friend in NJ recently told me he was doing some crossbreeding between P.serotina and Mexican cherry, P.salicifolia.
Pretty sure he’s got salicifolia selections grafted on serotina understock .

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That’s a great find by your friend. I have searched all the Prunus phylogenic trees/maps available on Google images and not one mention of salicifolia on a single one of them.

You do find this eventually via Google:


Thanks for the update, Lucky!

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Awesome! I took that and searched further, found this:
Looks like capulin cherry is used as rootstock for northern cherry, which I assume means the European-type. But the capulin is not very hardy, so even if it can be grafted serotina 》capulin 》northern sweet or sour, it’s not going to work for me.

Hi Francy,

That link doesn’t work. I googled “Purdue Capulin Cherry” but a lot of stuff comes up.

It appears Prunus salicifolia is all over the map as to zones. That tells me it’ll depend on provenance of seed selected (or grafting wood) is going to be extremely-important. It’s the same as other trees all over the world. The breeding Lucky’s friend is doing must be from a high altitude or “northerly” provenance. I haven’t looked at the range of the species’ myself.

I would think “northern cherry” is not referring to Prunus avium since P. avium does not graft to serotina… this is all a bit confusing now to me w/o having read your link.

I’d like to know or see what hybridization (salicifolia (x) serotina) looks and tastes as, or how/what the best-tasting Capulin cherry/salicifolia are like. And are there any selections in the nursery or Academia arenas.

I can’t figure out the link- it worked for me on a different device. Here is more info from USDA, references Prunus salcifolia as a variety, a separate Prunus serotina race from Central America, but also the only hybrid on record. Prunus serotina Ehrh
Definitely not a tree to worry about for converting to another fruit, and I have never been able to get any of its own.

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var. salicifolia… thank you Francine. I understand much better now. I thought it was it’s own species’ and I might have known better because I grafted so many ornamentals over the years that the word salicifolia is a common word to me. It means “willow-like-leaves.” Usually, another species of plant has a cultivar with leaves that resemble willow so it’s cultivar name is Salicifolia. Quercus robur ‘Salicifolia’ is one I know of right off hand.

There could be a chance someone would name a species “willow-like-leaves” but usually or always that falls as a ‘varietal’.

I am really doubting now that Prunus serotina var. salicifolia is going to have any hardy land population races, but, I’m going to see what Lucky has to say about his friend in MI.

@Lucky_P would you fill in any gaps I’m not currently seeing, please?


I feel like a broken record today suggesting this nursery like I’m getting paid to advertise for them haha. Fruitwood has P. salicifolia in stock, calling it Capulin cherry and varieties Fausto and Merritt. That’s as far as I can help other than a zone 8 hardiness with no winter chill required based on their website.

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Nanking cherry might also be a great dwarfing interstem, it’s supposed to be very graft compatible.

We will know soon!

Multiple varieties of Cherry, peach, Asian plum, apricot, and a myrobalan plum cultivar!

Next I’ll do another with Hardy almond, Nanking cherry, American plum, and any that look successful here so far.

I will test prunus Virginiana, and padus, as well.


Curious to see how these pan out. @Trav
If you get a chance and have some you might try pin cherry, Prunus pensylvanica too. It seems like a good match vigor-wise and doesn’t sucker. I’ve been curious to try chokecherry, virginiana, but it seems like keeping suckers at bay might be a real effort.