Flowering Trees for Your Backyard
Flowering trees just might be the best of both worlds! You get the height and size of a tree, plus the beauty of blooms and sometimes even sweet aromas. Check out our nine favorites and get tips for growing trees in your yard.
Liriodendron tulipifera • Zones 5 to 9
Though hard to see from a distance, the tulip tree’s unique early-summer flowers are sure to dress up your yard. The cup-shaped blooms have greenish-yellow petals with orange bases. But be patient: Most types won’t begin to flower for 10 to 12 years.
Prunus spp. • Zones 2 to 10
Whether you prefer flowers or fruit, you’re in for a treat if you plant a cherry tree. Popular backyard choices are the ornamental purpleleaf sand cherry (Prunus x cistena), a shrubby variety with pink flowers and purple leaves, and the Sargent cherry (Prunus sargentii), a prolific bloomer.
Tree Growing Tip from our Experts: Transplant cherry trees in spring. Select a protected spot to reduce the risk of snow or frost damage.
Lagerstroemia indica • Zones 7 to 9
Crepe paper and crape myrtle have more in common than their pronunciations. The blossoms not only resemble the delicate paper, but the tree comes in almost as many colors, with flowers in endless shades of pink, red, white or purple. Fall brings a kaleidoscope of foliage, with reds, oranges and yellows mingling on the same tree. In winter, the smooth, peeling bark adds a subtle charm to the landscape.
Chionanthus virginicus • Zones 3 to 9
We don’t know which we like more: The fringe tree’s captivating silhouette or its panicles of sweetly scented creamy-white flowers. This tree usually starts from seed and grows very slowly, reaching only about 20 feet. But even at an average of 6 inches a year, this delicate tree is worth the wait.
Magnolia grandiflora • Zones 7 to 9
Big, bold and beautiful‚ the southern magnolia is a legend in the Deep South. In fact, it holds the honor of being the state tree and flower of Mississippi, and is the state flower of Louisiana. It’s the granddaddy of flowering trees, with lemon-scented white blooms that reach up to 1 foot across. And its glossy deep-green leaves are just as impressive—up to 10 inches long.
Cornus florida • Zones 5 to 8
The flowering dogwood could have inspired the phrase “a breath of spring.” Though its true flowers are small and green, its surrounding colorful bracts put on a glorious show. To avoid pests and disease, plant dogwood in areas where the foliage can dry well after exposure to dew or rain.
Cercis spp. • Zones 4 to 10
After a long winter, the sight of a blooming redbud tree reminds us that spring is on its way! An early-spring showstopper, this tree bursts with a profusion of red, pink, purple or white blossoms before leaves emerge. Plant yours in a spot that has room to spread out, as redbuds are wider than they are tall.
Tree Growing Tip from our Experts: Redbud’s flower clusters appear not only on new growth, but also on the trunk and older branches.
Golden Chain Tree
Laburnum x watereri • Zones 6 to 8
Though it’s small in stature, the golden chain tree demands a second look. In spring, graceful chains of yellow blooms drip from its branches. This tree makes an impression when standing alone, but it’s even more impressive when planted as part of a group. One caution, however: All parts of this tree contain a compound that can be fatal if eaten.
Malus spp. • Zones 2 to 9
This beauty’s spring blossoms are often so lavish that they hide entire branches. The flowers give way to leaves and then fruit to keep the color show going, sometimes through winter. New varieties provide the famous flowers and resist common ailments, too.