14 Flowering Trees for Year-Round Color

Stage year-long color with trees that bloom in different seasons.
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Photo By: Image courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.


©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Felder Rushing

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

‘Leonard Messel’ Kobushi Magnolia

This early spring beauty (Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’) blushes a rosy pink and grows into a small tree up to 30 feet tall. Landscape use: Place where you’ll easily see the color from indoors. In northern zones, avoid planting it against a southern wall, where heat might promote too-early flowering that late spring frosts can destroy. Hardy to Zones 5 to 9.

‘Venus’ Dogwood (Cornus x ‘Venus’)

Large flowers at least 6 inches across make this traditional spring favorite awe-inspiring. This photo compares Venus blooms (top) to a typical white flowering dogwood (bottom). Give Venus part shade in the South; full sun up North. Landscape use: Small tree grows 15 to 18 feet tall. Site it where you’ll be able to see the flower show from indoors. Strawberry-like fruits linger well into fall. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

‘Oklahoma’ Redbud (Cercis reniformis ‘Oklahoma’)

Beautiful pink-red blooms transform bare branches into magic wands in early spring. The green heart-shape leaves of Cercis reniformis ‘Oklahoma’ turn gold in fall. Landscape use: A good tree for a small yard or sidewalk planting. Use beneath tall trees or position it solo in a yard. Hardy in Zones 6 to 9.

Double Flowering Plum (Prunus triloba var. multiplex)

Frilly double pink blooms cover branches in spring before leaves appear. Position this beauty where you’ll see it from indoors, but still plan to cut a few branches for bouquets. Landscape use: Widely adaptable small tree; often grown as a tall shrub (to 12 feet). Use as part of a planting border, or try it as a lawn tree. Hardy in Zones 3 to 8.

Higan Cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’)

Beautiful blush pink blossoms appear in spring and again in autumn. The spring show is the strongest, with more dispersed flowers in fall. Frost ends the flower show. Landscape use: Small tree suitable for small gardens, such as entry, sidewalk or patio areas. Hardy in Zones 5 to 8.

American Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

Often called a “dogwood alternative” in landscape circles, the native American fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) flowers in late spring. White blooms form a fringe on the tree. Red fruits beckon birds. Need both male and female trees for fruiting. Landscape use: Include in wildlife gardens or native plant designs. Hardy in Zones 3 to 9.

‘Evereste’ Crabapple (Malus ‘Evereste’)

Pink flower buds open to white blooms that linger through spring. Flowering is well-timed for pollinating apple trees. Landscape use: Small tree ideal for small yards, entry gardens or sidewalk plantings. Look for ones sold on M-27 rootstock that grow 4 feet tall—perfect for pots. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Glossy dark green leaves of Magnolia grandiflora host large white blossoms in spring, followed by a smattering of flowers all summer long. Height varies from 20 to 80 feet, depending on variety. Landscape use: Falling leaves and fruit can be messy on a lawn. Plant as part of an ornamental bed where these droppings blend in as leaf litter. Hardy in Zones 6 to 9.

‘Golden Eclipse’ Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata ‘Golden Eclipse’)

Japanese tree lilac packages the beauty of lilac shrubs in a tree form, growing 18 to 24 feet tall. Cream-colored flowers start opening in late spring and extend the show into early summer. Landscape use:  A favorite street tree. Makes a good choice for smaller yards. Hardy in Zones 4 to 7.

Japanese Horse Chestnut (Aesculus turbinata)

Flowers appear in tall spikes in early summer and beckon pollinators and hummingbirds. Aesculus turbinata is a tough urban tree that withstands streetside conditions. Landscape use: Place as a shade or specimen tree in a front or backyard. Include in a wildlife garden. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Smoke Tree (Cotinus coggygria)

Sometimes called smoke bush, smoke tree adds color and texture to summer scenery. The flowers are tiny and appear in early summer, but each bloom has a long pink filament attached to it, which creates a smoky look all summer long. Purple-leaf varieties are striking. Landscape use: Showcase as a specimen tree or include in a planting bed. Fits into small yards easily. Hardy in Zones 5 to 8.

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

Flowers open in clusters at the ends of branches. Crape myrtle flower color runs a wide range, depending on variety. Most blooms appear in summer and linger into fall. Bark is beautiful, too. Landscape use: Plant as a street tree, along driveways or in entry gardens. Fits neatly into small spaces. Hardy in Zones 7 to 9.

Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus var. latifolia)

Also called sage tree for its aromatic leaves, chaste tree is a native small tree growing to 10 to 20 feet tall. Bright blue flowers start opening in early summer and continue until frost. Strongest flower show occurs in June in the South and August in the Northwest. Landscape use: Well-suited for a small yard, deer-resistant plantings or gardens designed for seasonal color. Hardy in Zones 6 to 9.

Seven-Son Flower (Heptacodium miconioides)

White flowers blanket seven-son flower (to 20 feet tall) in late summer and early fall. Pink flower bases linger for weeks after. Landscape use: Good choice for drought-tolerant landscape or seaside plantings. Use in wildlife gardens. Hardy in Zones 5 to 8.