Varieties of flowering trees ranging from evergreen flowering trees such as Magnolia Grandiflora species to deciduous flowering trees such as Cherry Blossom Trees and Ornamental Pear.
Exotic flowering trees that require tropical to sub tropical conditions can look great in the right climate. Many others thrive in a cold climate we provide a guide to the best flowering trees for the garden.
You can grow them in the garden, and for those with limited space, some can also be grown in pots and containers.
Choose the right tree for the right Zone
It is important to identify the right tree for your particular landscaping situation and climate zone.
So for zone 8, some popular trees include the Eastern Redbud, Japanese Flowering Cherry, Flowering Dogwoods and the deciduous Magnolias.
Crabapples are popular from zone 4 – 9.
As we move to warmer zones including Florida, Frangipani, Hibiscus, Crape Myrtle and Tibouchina come into consideration.
In California, the Callistemons or ‘Bottlebrush’ with the wonderful red flowers are a useful smaller flowering tree. And the flowering Eucalyptus, Corymibia ficifolia are also worth consideration.
Uses for flowering trees
Useful in landscaping both as feature trees in the garden you can use ornamental flowering tree in a number of ways.
Some are grown for the flowers alone, others for the fragrance and a few for the foliage. However trees has other uses in the garden so consider these as well.
- As a feature in the lawn.
- To act as a focal point in the corner of a garden.
- To give shade.
- As features either side of an entrance, path or set of garden steps.
- To help create a microclimate for underplanting, especially when using deciduous flowering trees that are ideal for spring flowering bulbs as well as shade loving summer flowering perennials.
- To line a driveway, Pyrus or ornamental pears are popular for this.
Choosing the right flowering tree for your garden
With so many worthwhile trees to choose from, as usual a few factors need to be considered:
- Size – The right sized tree for the size of the garden. This is also important when planting near power lines.
- Climate – Choose a tree that will grow well in your USAD climate zone
- Soil – The type of soil and drainage are always important, poor drainage will quickly kill some trees.
- Sun / Shade – Some tree grow well in full sun, other better in light shade, some will not flower in shade.
- Root system – As with all trees, consider the aggressiveness of the root system, especially when planting near drainage lines, paths and foundations.
Top Ten Flowering Trees
- Evergreen Magnolias – Magnolia Grandiflora Species and Cultivars. If you are looking for an evergreen flowering tree then Magnolias are a great choice. The Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora or Bull Bay) and its cultivars such as Magnolia Little Gem, Magnolia Kay Parris and Magnolia Teddy Bear are all great flowering trees.
- Flowering Dogwoods – Very useful in smaller gardens Cornus species and cultivars make excellent specimen trees, flowers vary from white to red.
- Aesculus x carnea – These are the ‘Horse Chestnut’ hybrids, A.hippocastanum x A.Parvia. Wonderful spreading trees with brilliant red flowers in spring. They also make excellent shad trees.
- Deciduous Magnolias – Fantastic flowers, and a huge variety to choose from. Look for Magnolia denudata, Magnolia soulangeana cultivars. Magnolia liliiflora, Magnolia heptapeta or Yulan Magnolia are widely used and Magnolia stellata is a very popular form. Deciduous Magnolias are also called Saucer magnolias, Japanese magnolias and Oriental magnolias.
- African tulip Tree – Spathodea campanulata is a spectacular flowering tree for warmer areas. Fast growing, long blooming also called the ‘Flame of the forest’.
- Yellow poinciana – Peltophorum pterocarpum with is umbrella like crown and attractive fragrant flowers (zones 10 – 11)
- Ornamental ‘Callery’ or Flowering Pear Trees – Pyrus Calleryana, ussuriensis and salicifolia are all good flowering trees. Ornamental Pears are used for both autumn color and beautiful spring blossom. Different cultivars have different growth habits, Pyrus calleryana ‘Capital’ has a narrow or upright growth habit. The weeping variety Pyrus salicifolia is worth a place in the garden.
- Illawarra flame tree
- Brachychiton acerifolius is a spectacular flowering tree with bright red flowers during spring to early summer. Semi deciduous in nature and growing to 30 – 50 ft.
- Golden rain tree – ( Koelreuteria paniculata, Pride of India or Varnish tree) Drought tolerant, yellow flowers in summer, growing to 20 – 25ft and with showy seed capsules after the flowers. Does well in full sun.
- Catalpa Species – Catalpa Speciosa (Western Catalpa, Indian Bean), Catalpa bignonioides (Southern Catalpa). With a broad umbrella shaped canopy and white bell shaped flowers during spring. Catalpa Bignonioides Aurea has yellow foliage. Catalpa bungei is another worth looking for.
Other Flowering Trees Include:
- Crape Myrtle
- Davidia involuctra (Dove Tree)
- Persian Lilac Tree – Syringa x persica, Sourwood – Oxydendrum arboretum
- Tulip Tree – Liriodendron tulipifera
- Albizzia (Silk Tree)
- Prunus or Flowering Cherries
- Chionanthus virginicus (Fring Tree)
- Laburnum x watereri (Goldenchain tree)
- Paulownia tomentosa (Empress tree)
- Stenocarpus sinuatus (Firewheel Tree)