Starking® Hardy Giant™ Antique Sweet Cherry

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A Stark Bro's Exclusive!

Enjoy large, abundant clusters of sweet cherries. This time-tested heirloom variety produces partially freestone cherries with mahogany skin and dark red flesh. Suitable for canning, perfect for fresh eating. Clouds of cherry blossoms will beautify your landscape in spring. Originates from Cedarburg, Wisconsin in 1926, introduced by Stark Bro’s in 1949. Ripens in June. Best organic pollinator: Stella. Best non-organic pollinators: Stella or Royalton™.

125% Survival Guarantee!

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 Pink, White
Fruit Color Red
Fruit Size Large
Ripens/Harvest June
Shade/Sun Full Sun
Soil Composition Loamy
Soil Moisture Well Drained - Average Moistness
Soil pH Level 6.0 - 7.0
Taste Sweet
Texture Firm
Years to Bear 4 - 7
Zone Range 5 - 9

Zone Compatibility

This Variety's Zone Range 5 - 9
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

The mature size of this variety depends on the version you choose to plant:
Standard 18 - 25' tall x 18 - 25' wide
Semi-Dwarf 15 - 18' tall x 15 - 18' wide

Recommended Spacing

The space needed for this variety to grow depends on the size you plant:
Standard 18 - 25'
Semi-Dwarf 15 - 18'


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

Estimated Delivery Date

This item is currently out of stock.

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 25 questions Browse 25 questions and 56 answers
Why did you choose this?
Stark Bro's Store
Sound good, familiar with Bing, wanted to try Stark's brand.
Vicki G on Dec 23, 2020
Love Sweet Cherries. Currently growing a Starkrimson and wanted to add variety 2.
Jim B on Nov 4, 2020
Sound good, familiar with Bing, wanted to try Stark's brand.
Vicki G on Dec 23, 2020
I choose it because it is heritage
Nadiya S on Dec 1, 2020
Love Sweet Cherries. Currently growing a Starkrimson and wanted to add variety 2.
Jim B on Nov 4, 2020
Paul K on Oct 21, 2020
Cherry cross pollination
Jerome H on Apr 28, 2020
look good
Edith K on Apr 28, 2020
BRENDA P on Mar 3, 2020
Wanted to see what the antique cherry taste like
Kathleen W on Feb 22, 2020
We just moved and left our orchard behind, this is these are the first trees at our new home.
SANDY W on Oct 16, 2019
I cut down a wild cherry tree this year that was hovering over my home threatening to crush the side of the roof .. maybe this fruit bearing variety of cherry tree if planted strategically will be a great replacement..
Eric B on Sep 2, 2019
For the taste and because it helps pollinate and good for zone I live in
Deborah P on Sep 19, 2016
Hoping they will grow into productive trees; so that, I don't have to keep paying an arm and let at the store.
Lorie M on Jun 3, 2016
Its reputation as well as its being a Stark variety and everything that I have bought with Stark as a forename is goooooooood!
Jackie L on May 19, 2016
large sweet fruit
Michael J F on May 13, 2016
Believe this is similar to the trees my grandfather used to have.
Robert R on May 10, 2016
one of the few for zone 9A Florida that the starkbros sell, so why not.
Lamar W on Apr 30, 2016
Remind me of the cherries I ate when I was a child.
Annette F on Apr 29, 2016
Wanted another cherry tree in the yard&this looked like one I would like,antique was a plus
Mark K on Apr 29, 2016
Suit my climate and my wife love cherry.
Pek H on Mar 24, 2016
I have been purchasing fruit trees and other products from Stark Bros. for many years. They offer the BEST warranty/guarantee for their products. They know their trees and other items they sale. The sales staff can answer any questions you may have especially what tree should thrive in your hardiness zone and their shipping fees are reasonable.
JAMES R on Mar 23, 2016
It is both disease resistant and heat tolerant
Virginia B on Mar 20, 2016
love to see their blooms, and the delicious fruit
charles s on Mar 16, 2016
I wanted an older variety and this one sounds like it just what I'm looking for in a sweet cherry.
Beth H on Mar 14, 2016
The traditional nature of the tree appealed to me as I always look for a hardy breed.
Timothy H on Mar 14, 2016
My family loves fruit and I love to take care of plants; all of these work for me and my family for our zone type. This way the plants are happy and we are happy.
Barbara G on Mar 9, 2016
We like sweet cherries and they are usually so expensive, thought we might try to raise them ourselves.
JUDY G on Feb 20, 2016
crossing my fingers this one grows zone, looks amazing, love antique
MARY L on Feb 18, 2016
this gives me 3 cherry trees. old saying is always plant in odd numbers.
JAMES G on Feb 18, 2016
I choose it because it is heritage
Nadiya S on Dec 1, 2020
Paul K on Oct 21, 2020
any cherries for zone 10A? Can I push the Hardy Giant into fruiting here?
tim n on Feb 23, 2016
BEST ANSWER: When growing fruit trees, it's best to aim for the optimum to be successful. Sweet cherry trees generally do not do well in low-chill, hot climates. I wouldn't want you to be disappointed if the tree grows well but is never fruitful for you.
How many chill hours does this particular cherry require?
kristine k on Apr 16, 2016
BEST ANSWER: About 800 chill hours.
I am in zone 9A the sweet cherry is zoned for here but the pollinator is not will it produce fruit still? What would be my best options with this tree?
Linda B on Oct 18, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question, it's a very good one. The "zone" refers to hardiness/temperature and successful growing, and really doesn't have anything to do with pollination. As long as the tree from which you want to harvest fruit is in the right zone, is of the same sub-species and has a similar bloom time, you are all set.
What are the age of these trees ?
Sharon A on Feb 20, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question! All of our bare root fruit trees are two years old when we ship them out.
what does partially freestone mean?
Melinda R on Apr 27, 2016
BEST ANSWER: The pit may 'cling' to the flesh, but not as much as a fully clingstone fruit would. It should still be easily removed.
How many inches a year do these trees grow?
Rudy C on Dec 17, 2019
BEST ANSWER: didn???t see any growth this year.....should be a few inches every year
Will my Whitegold sweet cherry tree work as a pollinator for the Starking Hardy Giant Antique Sweet cherry? I also purchased a dwarf size starkrimson sweet cherry tree.
Heather R on Jun 5, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Both the Whitegold and Starkrimson sweet cherry trees will be able to pollinate the Starking Hardy Giant sweet cherry tree. You should be all set for cross-pollination!
Is it possible that this tree in dwarf form would bear this year?
Thank you so much.
esther T on Mar 15, 2016
BEST ANSWER: You can find the years-to-bear information in the Characteristics section, near the top of the page, underneath the description. The years-to-bear information is also summarized for all our fruit & nut bearing products in these 3 articles: | |
Will a Bing cherry tree pollinate this tree?
Slim C on Jul 13, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Yes pollination rule with cherries is any sweet variety will pollinate another sweet variety.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
Last year had app. 2 dozen cherries this year no flowers no cherries?
Clinton J on Jun 3, 2020
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question. First, do a soil test to check the pH (it should be between 5.5 - 6.5 for apple trees) and see which nutrients it might be missing. Then fertilize accordingly. Is the tree getting at least 6 hours of full sun? Are your trees compatible pollinators, or the same variety? If the latter, that's why you're not getting a crop. There are other reasons a tree might not be bearing fruit as you expect. This article details some basic fruit tree requirements for fruit production.

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
Starking Hardy Giant Antique Sweet Cherry
Starking Hardy Giant Antique Sweet Cherry
Emperor Francis Sweet Cherry
Emperor Francis 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!
Can you keep these cherry trees in the original containers? Will they grow that way?
Erica W on Apr 28, 2020
BEST ANSWER: You can grow almost anything in a container! This excellent article will answer your questions and provide good advice. Please see "Growing Fruit Trees in Containers" // But the small container they are shipped in are not for growing purposes and you will need to replant it.
I am looking for a schmidt sweet cherry tree for my home in the state of Washington in Lewis County?
Dale K on Jan 29, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Unfortunately, we are no longer offering this product.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
What variety do I purchase to help produce cherries?
Stella P on Aug 2, 2019
BEST ANSWER: We recommend Stella or Royalton???, which are both outstanding cherries in their own right.
Would a bush cherry pollinate this?
RW-in-DC on Jun 11, 2019
BEST ANSWER: No, it will not. They are different species.
Do I need a second tree for pollination for this tree?
Katmamik on Jun 2, 2019
BEST ANSWER: You will need a second tree of a different variety for pollination. We recommend Stella or Royalton because they have very similar bloom times.
what cherry tree is needed for cross polination with a Starking Harty Giant Antique Sweet Cherry tree?
Sally M on May 27, 2019
BEST ANSWER: There are many varieties you can use, but we recommend Stella or Royalton.
The Starking Hardy Giant Antique Sweet Cherry is listed as a recommended pollinator for the Bing Sweet Cherry. Does that mean the Bing Sweet Cherry will be an appropriate pollinator for the Starking Hardy Giant Antique Sweet Cherry?
TreePlanter on May 2, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Yes, it will. They have similar bloom times and can therefore cross-pollinate.
will a Royalton and a Hardy Giant Antique cross pollinate?
hambone on Oct 23, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Yes, recommended for each other
Does the Starking?? Hardy Giant??? Antique Sweet Cherry need a pollinator or is it self pollinating? I live in zone 8B.
Carl N on Oct 13, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for contacting us. This variety is not self pollinating. Best pollinators: Stella or Royalton???
Is this tree disease resistant?
Peter G on Jul 18, 2017
BEST ANSWER: This is an heirloom variety which was discovered long ago for its flavor and beauty, and long before hyrbridizing for disease-resistance was common. It's very analagous to heirloom tomatoes; they're not disease-resistant, but the care you take to keep disease away (which can be completely organic) is worth the extra effort for the flavor and quality of the end product.
will this tree pollinate a blackyork cherry (eastern bing)?
Peggy A on Jun 1, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Yes, it should. They are both late bloomers.
When do they generally blossom... Early, mid, or late in comparison to other cherry varieties?
SEArkansas on Oct 4, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question. This is an early to mid-season bloomer and is very easy to pit.
I'm in zone 9B, so the recommended tree for cross pollination won't work in my zone. Can I cross this cherry tree with the Sam Sweet Cherry Semi-Dwarf instead?
Ashley F on Jan 22, 2020

Customer Reviews

4.2 / 5.0
28 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Replacement tree
The Antique Sweet Cherry tree I ordered and received in the spring of 2016 grew good until late summer then I noticed that it looked a little wilty. In spring of 2017 it did not come back with new growth so I started cutting it back from the top down to see if there was green wood. The graft was completely dead, but there was new growth coming from the root stock.
I called for a replacement tree. The Customer Service was excellent and quick for getting my no-charge replacement. I had also ordered two other cherry trees on the original 2016 order and both of those trees are doing very well.
May 23, 2017
over 5 years ago
I ordered the tree and had to get a replacement after it died. Very courteous customer service. The tree is doing fine in its second season. Just remember that you need a pollinator.
May 5, 2017
over 4 years ago
I planted both the Hardy Giant and an Emperor Francis sweet Cherry trees from Stark Bros. nursery in March of 2013.
The trees have done very well even though the caliper was very small when planted. In 4 years they have grown to a pruned 10' in height (I won't let them get any taller) Each year they seem to put on a little bit more bloom, with only a few cherries so far. I am hoping that they will continue to flourish and put on a good crop next year. I have planted many other fruit tree' from Stark Bros. and they have always done well and if they didn't they stood behind the product with replacement trees or vines. Good job!
July 8, 2017
Growing Well!
Planted last spring? This spring, has nearly doubled in size and looks great. Can"t wait for cherries!!
May 19, 2017
over 5 years ago
Tough plant.
Last year it was attacked by aphids, this year it was caterpillars. It shrugged off both attacks, and has doubled in size to well over seven feet in just over a year. We got four other cherry trees at the same time as this one - all are doing well, the Antique is doing the best.
July 6, 2017
over 4 years ago
Growing well
Vigorous growth when it woke up this spring. Looks really good.
May 17, 2017
over 5 years ago
Starking Hardy Giant Antique Sweet Cherry
Haven't seen any fruit yet, but the tree is growing wonderfully.
May 26, 2016
over 5 years ago
In good shape when received
I would recommend this tree as I know a couple of folks that have them. The flavor is great. Ours however, did not survive the replanting. We had a drought situation last year and I am not sure that any new planting would have survived.
May 22, 2017
over 5 years ago
Growing well Nice plant and roots. Arrived in great shape & good time. Fay
May 3, 2017
over 5 years ago
It is growing well.
The tree is healthy and growing well. It appears to be a good addition to my cherry tree groce.
May 13, 2017
over 4 years ago