Flowering Trees

Create stunning displays as well as cool shady spots for summer relaxation

Flowering trees not only add beauty to the landscape but also create cool shady spots around patios and decks for summer relaxation. And they also provide shadowy spaces in the garden for the shade-loving perennials no garden should be without.

When we hear the term flowering tree, we automatically think of the long-blooming spring beauties, such as dogwoods, cherries, crabapples, magnolias, and redbuds, that put on spectacular spring displays, their aromatic, bee-friendly blossoms set beautifully against burgeoning blue skies. But some trees, like crape myrtles, flower in a summer-long extravaganza. And although we highly recommend any of these classics, we also suggest trying something new, like a Japanese snowbell tree (Styrax japonicus). Practically unknown a few years ago, the Japanese snowbell has quickly become a spring-flowering favorite for its delicate appearance and multi-season interest. But most flowering trees offer more than just their spring blooms to recommend them. Many have fragrance, lush foliage, and seasonal features, like dripping drupes, festive fall color, beautiful bark, and/or stunning silhouettes.

Although flowering trees tend to stay in the 10- to 25-foot-range, trees are some of the largest and most permanent garden elements, so placement is important. You’ll want to carefully consider the growth rate, mature height, and crown cover of the tree, making sure there are no hardscapes that could be damaged by its expanding branches or roots. You’ll also want to think about the amount of sun or shade the tree will receive as well as the soil quality in which it’s planted. And don’t forget to keep in mind how the flower fall will affect the surroundings. With proper placement and care, flowering trees will grace your garden for years and years to come and provide food and haven for the honeybees, butterflies, and hummingbirds we all love.