Popular varieties of cherry bushes include the Carmine Jewel, Crimson Passion, Nanking cherry and the Meader bush cherries. Most of these popular cherry bushes are the result of hybridization.
Meader bush cherries, developed by E.M. Meader of the University of New Hampshire, are hybrid cherries known as Joy, Jan and Joel. These bushes produce bright red fruit in the summer that ripens in August. They reach up to 4 feet in height and can be used as hedges. Pollination for the Jan variety occurs if planted with one of the other two varieties. Joy and Joel are self-fertile.
The Carmine Jewel and Crimson Passion bushes are the result of studies conducted by Dr. Les Kerr in the 1940s. These bushes grow in clay and alkaline soil. They produce dark red to black fruit in July, with a sugar content that increases if left on the bush until August. The Carmine Jewel produces up to 20 pounds of fruit and reaches a height of 6 to 8 feet. The Crimson Passion bush is shorter and produces less fruit than the Carmine Jewel, but its fruit has a higher sugar content.
Introduced to North America in 1882, the Nanking cherry is originally from central Asia. This adaptable and long-lasting bush interacts well with other plants and survives under most conditions. At least two bushes must be planted together for pollination. The Nanking cherry produces abundant flowers and fruit in early summer.