We’re used to the green shades and textures of evergreens and the seasonal leaf changes of deciduous trees. But blooming trees expand beyond typical green to add a range of colors to your yard. Turn to these ten popular flowering trees to brighten your shade with color.
Dogwoods produce white or pink blooms in early spring. They thrive near water, either along streams or creeks or in areas with regular rainfall. Height depends on variety and can range from shrub height up to forty feet. Varieties also cover several growing zones. Pacific dogwood thrives from Southern British Columbia to Southern California. Flowering dogwood thrives mostly in the eastern US in USDA growing zones 5 to 8 but may appear in the wild in Southern Ontario.
Magnolias sport leathery leaves and large showy flowers in pink, white, or purple. These are among the oldest known flowering plants, with fossil records dating back more than 100 million years. Southern magnolia is a common variety. The saucer magnolia is hardy and can be grown in Canada. Depending on the cultivar, magnolia tree height ranges from fifteen to eighty feet.
These trees bloom spectacularly in spring, loaded with copious white and pink blossoms. This showy display is short-lived, lasting about a month. Spring isn’t the only season of interest for these trees; many varieties boast brilliant red and golden leaves in the fall. They grow to twenty to thirty feet and some varieties produce fruit mostly eaten by wildlife. Yoshino, Kwanzan, and weeping cherry trees are popular North American varieties.
The springtime blooms of crabapples range from deep red to pink to white and last only about four to five weeks. Fruit appears from fall to winter and may be gold, orange, pink, or red. Wildlife feasts on fruits that can also be harvested to make jelly. Mature height depends on variety and may range from ten to forty feet. Cultivars of this tree can be found throughout North America.
Serviceberry trees offer year-round interest with white blossoms in the spring, edible summer fruit, red or gold leaves in the fall, and showy gray bark during winter. These adaptable plants grow well in full sun to partial shade and reach ten to twenty feet tall. They are robust and thrive in most North American growing zones. Downy serviceberry and Canadian serviceberry are popular varieties.
Hawthorns are hardy trees, requiring little maintenance once established. They tolerate sun or shade and most soil types. Their springtime white flowers look like apple blossoms, but some varieties have pink to dark-red blooms. Fruits appear in fall and winter and are mostly eaten by wildlife. Most varieties grow no larger than twenty-five feet. Native varieties of this tree are found in both the US and Canada.
These sun-loving trees come with green or purple leaves and produce puffy flowers in the spring, inspiring the name. Flowers may be creamy white, pink, or purple. They offer fall interest with deep-hued red, yellow, or purple leaves. Smoke trees reach ten to fifteen feet at maturity. This adaptable tree tolerates most soil types; it is drought tolerant but can also manage in wet environments. Smoke tree grows well in US and Canadian growing zones 4 to 8.
Oleanders love sun and bloom in the height of summer. Varieties flower with pink, red, yellow, or white blooms. These trees cannot survive in locales with temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so they are best suited for the southern US and other temperate zones. These drought-tolerant plants range from ten to twenty feet tall. Oleander is salt tolerant, so they excel in coastal settings. Hardy Pink is a popular pink variety and Algiers is a popular red-bloomed option. (It is also poisonous, so deer will leave it alone.)
Redbuds prefer well-drained soil and partial shade. These trees feature early to mid-spring blooms that last about two to three weeks. Blooms are pink, red, or purple. Most sport green leaves during the summer that turn brilliant orange or red in fall. Redbuds grow between twenty to thirty feet tall and require minimal care once established. Redbuds are native to the eastern US and parts of Ontario. The Eastern redbud is a popular variety.
Crape myrtles prefer sun and tend to grow best in the southern US. They bloom for months in the height of summer and come in a wide range of both leaf and bloom colors. Leaves range from dark purple that appears almost black to bright green, while flowers may be white, red, salmon, pink, or purple. Crape myrtles provide winter interest with peeling bark that adds texture to a late-season garden. Varieties range from ten to thirty feet tall. Arapaho is a popular variety that blooms red, while Natchez is a popular white-blooming option.
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