Jan, Joel, Joy Dr. Meader cherries

Wondering if anyone had better luck than I did with Jan , Joel, or joy cherries?
" Meader Bush Cherries

(Prunus japonica x Prunus jacquemontii)

Meader bush cherry in bloom
Meader bush cherry (‘Joel’) in early bloom

Cultivars tested

‘Jan’, ‘Joel’, ‘Joy’

Description and site preference

Type and size – shrubs, generally less than 4 feet
Hardiness zone – 3-8
Exposure – full sun to partial shade
Soil – all but wet soils
Drainage – moderate to well-drained

Economic factors

Years to harvest – 1-2
Maintenance – intermediate
Life of planting – 20+ years
Machine harvest potential – high
Suitable markets – juice, processed

Notable features

Nutritional highlights – unknown
Adaptability – good
Pest issues – similar to other tart cherries
Invasive potential – none
Environmental benefits – unknown

Integration characteristics

Shared management – high
Shared equipment – high
Shared processing – intermediate
Co-marketing – intermediate with other processed products

Integration potential – good

Could be incorporated in a hedgerow integrated system and provide shared management, including mechanical harvesting.

Dormant Meader bush cherry
Dormant Meader bush cherry

History and background

Selected and introduced by E.M. Meader of the University of New Hampshire, these hybrid cherries have similar characteristics. They all ripen in late August and early September, with the potential to extend the tart cherry season. They have a distinctive flavor that is somewhat of an acquired taste but could be enjoyed as a fresh fruit.

Observations at Carandale Farm

‘Jan’ was acquired from Raintree Nursery in 2003. Plants were small but adapted well and produced a crop the following year. It is a low-growing shrub that suckers readily but has never exceeded three feet in height. ‘Jan’ needs to be cross pollinated by ‘Joel’ or ‘Joy’ for good fruit set.

‘Joel’ and ‘Joy’ were acquired from St. Lawrence Nurseries in 2004. These tissue-cultured plants adapted very well. Both are taller than ‘Jan’ (about four feet) and do not have as much suckering. ‘Joy’ is considered self-fruitful; ‘Joel’ requires cross pollination. Fruit yield has been consistent and good.


These plants have received little attention over the last 9-10 years but still persist in the Carandale test plot. Because of its small stature, ‘Jan’ is not as competitive and will require more attention as a commercial crop. With pruning and pest management, the Meader hybrids could be a sustainable crop. Late ripening could help extend the tart cherry season. Their potential to be machine-harvested could give them a place in an integrated system. But these plants will have to compete with the new Romance series of bush cherries coming out of the Canadian breeding program.


Edible Landscaping: Joy Bush Cherry
"-http://uncommonfruit.cias.wisc.edu/meader-bush-cherries/. They are very inexpensive if they work for you Joel Bush Cherry - Hartmann's Plant Company | Wholesale Store.
“ Meader Bush Cherries — Prunus japonica X Prunus jacquemontii

Joy — 3 to 4 ft. Jan — 1 to 2ft. Joel — 1 to 2 ft.

$13.00 each, $57.50 for Package of 5 (your choice: may mix Joy, Jan & Joel)

Developed by E.M. Meader of the University of New Hampshire, these three cultivars produce a firm-fleshed, tart cherry on a 4 foot bush. The fruit ripens in August, thereby avoiding heavy bird pressure. About as hardy as Nanking cherry, (minus 30 F,) although snow cover may afford additional protection. Loaded with fruit in the late summer and with flashy red autumn color, it makes a striking landscape plant. For a hedge, plant 3-4 feet apart. Joy and Joel are self-fertile; Jan requires one of the other two for pollination.”-http://www.sln.potsdam.ny.us/bcherries.html

Carmine Jewell is still working good for me in Kansas but I want to try Juliet Dwarf Sour Cherry, Sour Cherries, Dwarf Sour Cherries for sale
The infamous montmorency sour cherry tree works at nearly every location. What’s working for you? Meader cherries been anyone’s favorite?

Edible landscaping said this " Joy Bush Cherry

Prunus jacquemonti x japonica

After 25 years of “patience and persistence,” fruit breeder Elwyn Meader of New Hampshire introduced Joy. At 4’ tall these fall bearing bush cherries are easy to care for. Their bloom and form resemble flowering almond. They’ll fruit a year after planting. The sour cherry like fruits ripen in late summer and are not bothered by birds. When planted together they should be spaced 3’ to 4’ apart in well drained soil that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day.They are easy no spray fruits, highly resistant to powdery mildew and cherry worms. They are very hardy(-31 degrees F in Buckfield Maine) and are low chill tolerant in the south and west.Joy is self fertile. Space 3-4’ circle. Zones 3-8."


Hey Clark,

These work well for me. They bloom a bit early so can have years they don’t produce. But they’re super productive and make an excellent jam. Okay for fresh eating too.


That’s excellent @SMC_zone6 Steven I ripped them out once and noticed some survivors the other day were growing close to the original spot I grew them in.

Do you think they’re coming back from the roots or seedlings?

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I’m also interested in these cultivars but would like to hear some positive reviews from folks in our area.

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My guess is I left some roots in the ground and they came back from those.

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I’ve seen these for sale as well but haven’t heard much about them. seeing they were bred next door in NH means they should do well in Maine. have CJ, nanking, juliet and montmorency. all are growing well.

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I have 2 Joy cherry plants (zone 7b) They are good and bear fruits the second year in 1 gallon containers. pretty amazing.

from July 2018



What did you think of the flavor?

Do you grow all 3 for pollination?

Hi @roth2000
I can not comment too much about it (lack of comparison to other sour cherry). Kid ate them all fresh.

Hi @clarkinks
It’s completely self-fertile for Joy.
The only reason I have 2nd plant is because vendor sent me wrong plant. they suppose to send me Juliet.

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Those are pretty cherries! What potting mix do you use? If it’s not too much trouble, can you share your fertilizing routine? Thanks!

Hi @MegF

Thank you. Honestly, this is the plant i did not pay too much attention to. I used miracle-gro potting mix. in between watering, maybe some soluble kelp extract.

It seems bear fruit on the last year’s growth.


All 3 varieties have ripened this weekend. I can’t say which I prefer, but I can say the bushes that produced less have superior cherries by quite a bit (implying they could certainly use a thinning). Flavor is similar, yet different, to prunus cerasus. They are probably less acidic, but not by much. Texture is much different. They have a dryness to them even when they are juicy. Maybe it’s astringency, but it’s much more pleasant than something like a redcurrant. The skin is thicker, making them a little chewy. They are pretty good, and are one of the few tart fruits that don’t (temporarily) wreck my enamel in a few sensitive spots (the other being seaberries). Maybe it’s a different type of acidity, maybe is has more calcium. I don’t know.

The best thing about them is that they were (again) completely untouched by plum curculio in spite of them never being sprayed. Additionally, they were the only thing that wasn’t regularly sprayed with (only) kaolin clay. Pressure was so high in some nearby areas that some of those sprayed were still hit hard. I’m assuming they were ignored because they ripen later than your typical cherry so they stay small for quite awhile (at least in this climate).

Fruit fly damage was practically nonexistent this year, but last year they got around 20% or so… I don’t remember.

I’ve read that birds are less interested in red berries later in the season. I have noticed this as well, but there are nearby elderberries that are starting to ripen. Maybe they prefer them over the cherries.

They bloom between American hybrid plums and prunus cerasus sour cherries, or along with peaches, but bloom times are significantly more compact here in the north.


I’ve considered putting in some of these but i already have 8 cherry bushes I’ve put in already. i have red and white nankings, romeo. juilet and carmine jewel , montmorency and lutowaka rose cherries. i don’t think ill have a shortage of cherries in the near future.


Looking to be a good year on my Meader cherries. Taste-wise, these aren’t as good as the romance series cherries, and they bloom earlier, which can be a problem some years, but they make an excellent jam and are great in baked goods. An easy plant-it-and-forget-it fruit if you have the space.


And about how much space would that be? I bought a Joel and a Jan this spring and planted them way to close. I will relocate them when there dormant this winter but how much space do you think they really need?

Mine are about five feet wide by five feet tall. I’ve had them for at least four years now.

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Here in Kansas my Joel has cherries it’s about 2’ -3’ tall and very old in poor soil. I suspect the montmorency or romance cherries were close enough to act as pollinators if that’s possible. Ofcourse I have now indicated what I’m up to long term. If you think I might be trying to cross them your right.

Bush Cherry ‘Joel’ (Prunus japonica x Prunus jacquemontii)
Hybridized by renowned plant breeder Dr Elwyn Meader of Durham, NH, Bush Cherry ‘Joel’ grows 4’ tall by 3’ wide and ripens in late summer to escape spring frosts and bird damage (supposedly birds cause less fruit damage in late summer since there are other tasty things for them to eat). Similar in size and flavor to a Montmorency tart cherry, the fruits ripen in late August. The fresh cherries can be processed into jams, jelly, pies or cherry juice. Tart cherry juice or dried tart cherries contain high levels of antioxidants that are beneficial to human health. Cherry plants start bearing fruit in 2-3 years and will have a productive life of 20 years. Bush Cherry ‘Joel’ is self-fertile, plus it has good vigor and disease resistance. Pink flowers appear in spring making it highly ornamental as well as an excellent plant for edible landscaping in the home garden. This is Joel covered in fruitlets


This full grown joel cherry is still pretty small but this one could not be happier. An autumn olive growing beside it has made all the difference in the world. Anyway these are cherries in various stages of ripening. So why grow Joel you might ask? Because its a true dwarf. If someone only has room for a 3’ to 4’ cherry this is your cherry. The romance series are nearly considered trees at my location.