Prunus 'First Lady'
Common Name: cherry 
Type: Tree
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 20.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Dark rose pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Street Tree, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy


Best grown in moist, moderately fertile, well-drained loams in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best flowering is in full sun. Prune after flowering if necessary but generally requires little pruning.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Prunus is a genus of about 200 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs found in north temperate areas, the Andes of South America and in mountainous areas of Southeast Asia. Some are grown for their showy flowers, colorful foliage and/or attractive bark; and others for fruit, which includes cherry, plum, apricot, nectarine and peach.

Genus name from Latin means plum or cherry tree.

‘First Lady’ is an ornamental flowering cherry tree that features a profuse bloom of rose pink flowers in early spring. It typically grows to 20-30’ tall with an upright, almost columnar habit. This hybrid was developed by Dr. Donald Egolf of the USDA in 1982, selected for further evaluation by USDA in 1988 and finally introduced and released into commerce by the U.S. National Arboretum in 2003. Parents of this hybrid are Prunus x incam ‘Okame’ (female parent) and Prunus campanulata (male parent). Campanulate, semi-pendulous, single, dark rose-pink flowers bloom in late March to early April. Red calyces provide interesting post-bloom ornamental color for three weeks after the flowers drop. Flowers give way to ovoid dark red drupes. Glossy dark green leaves.


Susceptible to a large number of insect and disease pests. Potential diseases include leaf spot, die back, leaf curl, powdery mildew, root rot and fireblight. Potential insects include aphids, scale, borers, leafhoppers, caterpillars, tent caterpillars and Japanese beetles. Spider mites may also be troublesome.


Flowering tree for the landscape. Specimen or small groups. Good selection for streets, parks or other public areas.