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Make your own maraschino cherries! This is one of the best sweet cherries you’ll find anywhere. Tree is consistently productive. Fruit is perfect for canning jellies and jams or making homemade maraschinos. Best when picked fresh and popped into your mouth like candy. Resists cracking. Introduced to the U.S. circa early 1900s. Ripens in late June. Best organic pollinator: Stella. Best non-organic pollinators: Stark® Gold™, Whitegold® or any other sweet cherry variety, except Bing.

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Since 1816, Stark Bro’s has promised to provide customers with the very best fruit trees and plants. It’s just that simple. If your trees or plants do not survive, please let us know within one year of delivery. We will issue a one-time merchandise credit to your account equaling 125% of the original product purchase price. Read more about our warranty policy.


Bloom Color White
Bloom Time Early
Fruit Color Red
Fruit Size Medium
Ripens/Harvest Late June
Shade/Sun Full Sun
Soil Composition Loamy
Soil Moisture Well Drained - Average Moistness
Soil pH Level 6.0 - 7.0
Taste Outstanding
Texture Firm
Years to Bear 4 - 7
Zone Range 5 - 7

Zone Compatibility

This Variety's Zone Range 5 - 7
My Hardiness Zone ?
The USDA hardiness zones offer a guide to varieties that will grow well in certain climates. Each zone corresponds to the minimum winter temperatures experienced in a given area. Make sure that your hardiness zone lies within the zone compatability range of this variety before ordering.

Size & Spacing

Mature Size

When your tree matures, it will be approximately 15 - 18' tall x 15 - 18' wide.

Recommended Spacing

We recommend spacing these trees 15 - 18' apart to ensure room for growth.


This variety requires another one for adequate pollination.

Cross-pollination by a different variety is key to its growing and bearing success. Plant one of these varieties within 50' for best pollination.

Tools & Supplies

Having the proper tools and supplies when growing your own can make the difference between a good harvest and a great harvest! Here's a list that our experts recommend for this variety.

Planting & Care

Learn all about how to grow cherry trees in The Growing Guide. An entire section of our website dedicated to your growing success.

Shipping Information

Arrives when it's time to plant

Your success is our priority. We work hard to make sure that your order arrives at the ideal time for planting in your location based on your local climate conditions.


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Questions & Answers

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Browse 17 questions Browse 17 questions and 43 answers
Why did you choose this?
Stark Bro's Store
BILL D on Jan 24, 2021
Another variety
DIANA E on Oct 24, 2020
BILL D on Jan 24, 2021
Needed to add to collection of sweet cherry trees - this one will certainly be a keeper!
Peter M on Oct 29, 2020
Another variety
DIANA E on Oct 24, 2020
It was the only one available
Tonia H on Jul 19, 2020
Pollinate black tartarian cherry i already have
Bill K on May 22, 2020
I have one and I want to have another.
MARY D on May 21, 2020
Polinator and dwarf
Rebecca S on May 12, 2020
I don't have a sweet cherry and this was the smallest one I could find.
Jonathan O on May 11, 2020
Making our own Maraschino cherries sounds wonderful!
Gayle U on May 8, 2020
I am sending this to my friends family! She just passed away so it???s her remembrance tree for her family to watch and grow! They are sweet and smaller but I think her young kids will like seeing it.
Brigid H on May 8, 2020
These are good hardy trees, with good tasting fruit
Kenneth S on May 5, 2020
Linda on Apr 28, 2020
DANNY L on Apr 26, 2020
Want to try based on catalog description
Terry E on Apr 25, 2020
Love cherries
Jamie N on Apr 25, 2020
I wanted to try an Emperor Francis Sweet Cherry.
Chris V on Apr 21, 2020
I have pollination trees, and I think it???s a balance for my cherry trees.
Teresa P on Apr 9, 2020
great healthy growing tree, awesome taste!!
Daniel D on Apr 5, 2020
Sandra M on Mar 29, 2020
For fruit
Ace on Mar 23, 2020
Best tasting sweet cherry
ALAN J on Nov 6, 2019
Christmas gift for my Father in Law. Francis
Douglas O on Feb 23, 2019
Love sweet cherries and the blooms. We get a lot of late frosts, so they only produce every few years. But bumper crops on those years and lots of blooms on the others.
Gregory B on Feb 4, 2019
sounds like they will taste great!
Tauna P on Oct 9, 2018
I have one I planted 6 years ago and I got cherries last year. They are fantastic!
Joshua V on May 26, 2018
Pollinator for my Rainier cherry.
Wesley C on Apr 11, 2016
Trying to get something comparable to rainier cherries. Which are my wife's favorite cherries.
Dave on Feb 18, 2016
Needed to add to collection of sweet cherry trees - this one will certainly be a keeper!
Peter M on Oct 29, 2020
It was the only one available
Tonia H on Jul 19, 2020
A friend has a tart cherry tree and one sweet cherry tree. The tart cherry produces cherries. The sweet cherry blooms but does not produce cherries. She was told that if you have tart cherry trees you do not need sweet cherry trees to pollinate. Does she need a sweet cherry tree to pollinate?
Bill B on Jun 29, 2017
BEST ANSWER: In rare circumstances a tart cherry can pollinate a sweet cherry, but for real success, your friend needs another variety of sweet cherry with a similar bloom time to get sweet cherries. Tart cherry varieties are largely self-pollinating, which is why she's getting a crop of tart cherries.
is it self pollinating (emporer francis cherry)?
wes z on Dec 6, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Hi, Wes. No, this variety needs a pollinator. Best pollinators: Stark?? Gold???, Whitegold??, or any other sweet cherry variety, except Bing.
How do you know when they are ready to be picked?
Tracy S on Jun 9, 2018
BEST ANSWER: The sugar content rises significantly in the last few days of ripening, so wait to harvest the fruit until it is completely red. When the fruit is ready, it will be firm and fully colored. Sour cherries will come off the stem when they are ripe enough to be harvested, but sweet cherries should be tasted for maturity.
I have a Starkling Hardy and a lapkins on each side of my St. Francis cherry. Will wait her one be helpful with cross pollinating?
Lori E on Apr 14, 2020
BEST ANSWER: Don???t know the answer. Usually sour cherries don???t Need pollinators. Sweet cherries need specific ones.
Are there any other sweet cherry trees that will cross pollinate this kind?
Clay P on May 2, 2019
BEST ANSWER: There are many - any of the cherry trees on this page will work, except for Bing: //
Can this be planted densely and/or grow in a pot? Would cuttings grow?

I'm thinking of growing this as an espalier archway, ~2' spacing in each row.
Lewis G on Jun 14, 2017
BEST ANSWER: We would not normally recommend planting cherry trees densely because it might open them up to fungal diseases (due to lack of air circulation). Spacing them 2" apart would only be advisable if you are espaliering them virtually to a vine habit. A semi-dwarf tree can certainly be grown in a pot if pruned to size. You can grow additional trees from cuttings as long as you are very, very patient for them to grow and bear, which will be 6-9 years or longer.
Does this need to be acclimated or can you plant immediately?
Alexis S on May 1, 2020
BEST ANSWER: I recvd mine this time of year and planted it with the fruit tree ferltilizer they sell. Mine is here and starting to bud. I am in NE Michigan. Very happy!
Will Emperor Francis and Ranier cross pollinate?
Melissa L on Feb 13, 2021
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Yes, the rule of thumb for cherry pollination is any sweet variety will pollinate another sweet variety except Bing.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
What year can you harvest fruit?
Louiedahat on Jan 1, 2021
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. You can find the years-to-bear information in the Characteristics section, near the top of the page, underneath the description. This tree takes 4-7 years to bear after planting.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
I???ve lost the cherry tree again but it???s come out from under the graft. Will that be a cherry tree?
Tami D on Jun 10, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. If the graft has taken over, it may still be a cherry tree that grows but we can not guarantee a variety or if it will bear fruit.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
Will the Emperor Francis Cherry tree work as a pollinator for the Giant Antique Sweet Cherry tree? I see this is a potential pollinator for the Emperor Francis, but it is not stated if the Emperor Francis can pollinate this tree. Please advise because all the listed pollinators are sold out. Thank you.
Farmer G on May 19, 2020
Emperor Francis Sweet Cherry
Emperor Francis Sweet Cherry
Starking Hardy Giant Antique Sweet Cherry
Starking Hardy Giant Antique Sweet Cherry
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Rule of thumb for cherry pollination is Any sweet cherry will pollinate another sweet cherry and the tart cherries will pollinate another tart cherry.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
do you ship to canada?
Shoob on Apr 15, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Unfortunately, at this time we cannot ship products outside the United States, or to Hawaii.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
Is it ok to plant this late in the year in Northwest Indiana?
Jason S on Nov 5, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question. Because weather and soil conditions vary so much from year to year and even within your zone, it's best to think of your planting time as a range of favorable conditions instead of an exact time.

You can plant new plants and trees: 1) when the ground is not frozen, 2) when daytime temperatures are above freezing (32??F) and below 90??F, and 3) when extreme weather (blizzard, hail, torrential rain, etc.) is not in the forecast. Be sure to keep plants watered if you're transplanting in warm and/or dry weather.
Will a Lapins cherry tree pollinate the emperor Francis cherry tree?
Nicole F on Jun 5, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Yes, they are a good pollinating pair.
I'm looking for a fruit that comes from a tree. When I was a kid there was such a tree in my neighbors yard used to fill a kids wagon full of. Is there anyone anywhere that knows of this fruit. It was a red or purple tree the red fruit was slightly bigger then a cherry. It was bitter and firm like a pear?
Carolyn on Jun 14, 2020
do you know if emperor francis is a pollinator for Black York?
JENNIFER I. on Apr 20, 2020

Customer Reviews

4.0 / 5.0
33 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Tree shipped too late in the season
The tree arrived with the buds leaved out----all white from being in the dark. It never recovered or grew properly and died a few weeks later.
August 12, 2016
over 5 years ago
Very pleased in Northeast Kentucky
Purchased this last spring along with two other cherry trees (Royalton and Lapins) It's not yet mature enough to fruit, but the tree is growing great! I was extremely pleased with all the trees and berry plants that I've ordered from stark. One recommendation I'd make about the fruit trees: spend the extra money and order the "deluxe" tree. I've bought both standard and deluxe versions, and it is well worth the extra few dollars to start with a deluxe tree that is more mature. Can't wait till I start seeing some fruit!!
May 5, 2017
over 5 years ago
Picking up
The Japanese beetles tore into this tree last year but it’s looking great now. Had lots of blossems but did not produce any fruit. A late spring frost did not help
June 5, 2018
over 3 years ago
My tree is limping along
I followed the instructions and have 2 other cherry trees that seem to be doing fine, but this one keeps limping along. It's not dead, but grows poorly and minimally.
August 7, 2016
over 5 years ago
Emperor Francis Sweet Cherry
So far I like the Emperor Francis trees just fine. They are growing great. I bought them to be pollinators of Rainier trees so in 4 or 5 years we shall see how they do at that job. I've never tasted this variety but I'm guessing they taste like the Rainiers. Again, we shall see.
May 11, 2016
over 5 years ago
Emperor Sweet Cherry
It did not do well after planting and during the last spring summer growth time. I don't think it likes our NE Oklahoma weather. I think it prefers cooler and less sunny weather. It has blossomed some and is really taking off in the growth department this spring so far. It has real potential for the future. I would like to add that fruit tree spikes were used for all my trees.
May 10, 2016
over 5 years ago
emperor francis sweet cherry
Nice trees when they arrive. They start out great, Unfortunately, deer have destroyed them. We tried a 2nd year and deer got at them again so we give up. Were glad the had a meal and we live in town.
May 4, 2016
over 5 years ago
looks nice
2nd leaf and tree looks healthy. Should be fruiting next year hopefully.
May 29, 2016
over 5 years ago
Tree is growing great, Even with the moderate drought conditions this year and the heavy rain from last year. Still no fruit yet. But its only on its 2nd year. So we don't expect anything until possible next year anyways.
August 6, 2016
over 6 years ago
Perfect tree
The Emperor Francis Sweet Cherry tree is developing quite well. It has grown at least three feet, blossoms galore, cherries soon
July 2, 2017
over 4 years ago