Napoleon Bigarreau cherry treesPrunus avium
- Picking season: Early early / mid July
- Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
Napoleon is a well-known traditional large white cherry, and a typical "bigarreau" or firm-fleshed variety. The flavour is sweet/sharp, tangier than most of the modern varieties, and of very good quality.
Napoleon is usually classified as a white cherry, on account of its pale golden white flesh.
Napoleon Bigarreau organic cherry trees - graft to order
Custom graft varieties: Order before end of December 2023 for delivery in December 2024.
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1Maidentree on Gisela 5 rootstock
(2m-3.5m after 10 years)
2Maidentree on Gisela 6 rootstock
(3m-5m after 10 years)
3Maidentree on Mazzard Alkavo rootstock
Very large tree
(5m-6m+ after 10 years)
Growing and Training
As is often the case with fruit varieties, the ones with the best flavour can be the most difficult to grow. Napoleon's weak point is its susceptibility to infections of bacterial canker. You can minimise the likelihood of this happening by keeping pruning to an absolute minimum, since pruning cuts are an entry point for the disease.
On a more positive note, Napoleon is a prolific bearer, and the tree is generally very hardy. It also flowers later in the spring than most varieties, which helps the blossom escape early frosts.
The cherries ripen over a long period, allowing several pickings to be made - a particularly useful quality in cherries, which are always best when eaten straight from the tree.
Napoleon requires a pollination partner, one of the modern self-fertile varieties such as Stella or Sunburst is a good choice.
Despite its name, the Napoleon cherry is not French - it originates from Germany where there is a long history of cherry cultivation.
Napoleon Bigarreau variety is one of the ancestors of the first self-fertile cherry, Stella. As a result a very large number of modern cherries are descended from it.
Napoleon Bigarreau characteristics
- Gardening skillAverage
- Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
- Flowering group5
- Pollinating othersAverage
- Climate suitabilityTemperate climatesWarm climates
- Picking periodlate July
- Picking seasonEarly - early / mid July
- Season of use1-3 days - in a fridge
- Food usesEating fresh
- CankerVery susceptible
- Fruit splittingVery susceptible
- Country of originGermany
- Period of origin1750 - 1799
- Fruit colourYellow / Red