The 10 Best Flowering Trees for Your Landscape

Star magnolia tree branches with white star-shaped flowers in sunlight

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Flowering landscape trees are the crown jewels of the residential landscape, offering shape, color, and shade. Few other plants can make such an impact in the spring and summer.  

Here are 10 varieties of flowering trees that will inject color into your landscape. 

  • 01 of 10

    Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

    Star magnolia tree with white star-shaped flowers in branches closeup

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Star magnolia is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring, with white star-shaped flowers that appear in March and April, before the leaves appear. This is a large shrub that grows to 15 to 20 feet, but it can be trained as a tree by pruning to retain a single stem to serve as the trunk. 

    Star magnolia makes a great specimen tree in the yard, or it can be used in woodland borders. When grown as a shrub, it is sometimes used in tall informal hedges. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4a to 8a
    • Color Varieties: White
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained loam
  • 02 of 10

    Dogwood (Cornus florida)

    Dogwood tree with white flowers growing on bare branches in sunlight

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    In addition to the showy spring flowers, Flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida) offer landscape interest in fall and winter as the glossy green leaves turn attractive shades of red and berries appear. Their interesting branching patterns show up best in winter after their leaves have dropped.

    This is a smallish tree, growing 15 to 25 feet. It is most often planted as a specimen tree or in small groupings in the yard. It also works well in woodland garden settings. 

    It is important to keep this tree in good condition, as stress can make it susceptible to several problems, the most problematic being spot anthracnose, a fungal disease.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5a to 9a
    • Color Varieties: White, Pink, Gold, Green
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
  • 03 of 10

    Weeping Cherry (Prunus spp.)

    Weeping cherry tree with drooping branches and light pink flowers against blue skies

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Several varieties of weeping cherry trees are available, and they are among the most treasured plants of spring. Two of the most popular are weeping higan (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula'), which grows 20 to 30 feet tall, and snow fountains (Prunus 'Snofozam'), which grows 8 to 15 feet tall.

    Weeping cherries need to be kept moist, especially in drought conditions. by using mulch around the base of the tree. Weeping cherries are typically planted individually as specimen trees, or in small groups. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8 (varies by species)
    • Color Varieties: Pink, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained soil
  • 04 of 10

    Kwanzan and Yoshino Cherries (Prunus serrulata 'Kwansan', Prunus x yedoensis)

    Kwanzan and yoshino cherry trees with small pink flowers and buds on branch

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Two upright cherries also deserve mention among the better flowering trees. 

    Kwanzan cherry (Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan') has an upright, rather than a weeping form, but it puts on an equally fine flowering show in spring. It grows 25 to 30 feet, and unlike many flowering trees, it also makes a good street tree. It is also used as a specimen tree or can be planted in small groups. 

    Similar is Yoshino cherry (Prunus x yedoensis). Yoshino is a larger tree, standing 30 to 40 feet tall, with a similar spread.

    Cherry trees need to be protected from strong winds, as the branches are brittle and prone to breaking. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White to light pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Saucer Magnolias (Magnolia x soulangiana)

    Saucer magnolia trees with bright pink saucer-like flowers on thin branches

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Saucer magnolia varieties offer large pink, white, or purple blooms and grow to 20 to 30 feet. Avoid planting this tree in southern exposures, as the flower buds may emerge too early and be prone to cold damage. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4a to 9a
    • Color Varieties: White. pink, purple, lavender
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Acidic, moist, well-draining loam
  • 06 of 10

    Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

    Eastern redbud tree with pinkish-purple flowers on long bare branches

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Like flowering dogwood, the redbud is indigenous to North America and is among the best flowering landscape trees of the spring. The flowers are not large, but they stand out because the blooms are among the first to appear in the spring on bare branches, coating them in a pinkish-purple fuzz.

    The redbud grows 20 to 30 feet high and wide, and has a variety of landscape uses as a specimen, street, or lawn tree, or in naturalized woodland settings. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4a to 9a
    • Color Varieties: Pink, Lavender, Red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
  • 07 of 10

    Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)

    Callery pear tree with dark branches and small white flower clusters

     The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    One particular cultivar of the Callery pear ('Bradford') earned the entire species a bad name since it has weak branches that snap off easily under wind, snowfall, or ice.  It is banned in some states as invasive. Newer cultivars are now on the market. 'Redspire' is one good choice, a thornless tree that grows 35 to 45 feet high, with white flowers that appear in spring before the leaves appear. Callery pears serve well as residential street trees or as shade trees in the landscape. The fall foliage is a beautiful yellow or orange. 

    Like apple trees, pear trees are prone to fire blight, a bacterial disease that creates a scorched look on the leaves. To prevent it, avoid heavy pruning and feed the tree only minimally to avoid excessively fast growth. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5s to 9s
    • Color Varieties: White
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained soil
  • 08 of 10

    Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)

    Hawthorn tree with pink blossoms.
    Nalin Nelson Gomes/Getty Images

    Hawthorn trees are one of the few flowering trees that provide color past early to mid-spring. This tree typically blooms in late spring to early summer. Plants in the Crataegus genus can bloom in pink, white, or red. Birds eat their berries in fall or winter. Besides the popular Washington hawthorn tree (Crataegus phaenopyrum), types with good cold-hardiness include:

    • Crataegus crus-galli: white flowers, 25 to 35 feet tall, zones 3 to 7 
    • Crataegus laevigata 'Crimson Cloud': red flowers, 25 feet tall, zones 4 to 8
    • Crataegus laevigata 'Double Pink': pink flowers, 18 to 25 feet in height, zones 5 to 8
    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8, depending on species
    • Color Varieties: Pink, white, or red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Golden Chain (Laburnum spp.)

    Laburnum

    Reimphoto / Getty Images

    If you're looking for a flowering tree with something other than the white or pink blooms found on most spring-flowering trees, consider the glorious golden chain tree. This tree is slightly fussy, requiring a sheltered location and attention to a variety of pests and diseases. But if you have the right location, these are fabulous trees that bloom in late spring, just as the hawthorns do.

    In the first few years, make sure to prune out secondary leaders, which will help the plant grow with a classic tree-like structure. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5b to 7b
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium-moisture, well-drained soil

    Warning

    All parts of a Golden Chain tree are toxic to people, dogs, and cats.

  • 10 of 10

    Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

    Crape myrtle tree branches with bright pink flowers clustered near leaves

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    If you wish to follow up all of that spring color with terrific summer color, consider crape myrtle. A popular choice for Southerners, they have a long blooming period (mid-summer to fall) and grow 6 to 25 feet tall, with a multi-stem growth habit that can be trained into a tree form. Numerous cultivars are offered in a variety of colors and sizes from shrubs to large trees.

    Proper pruning is essential to maintain an attractive year-round tree.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Pink, white, red, lavender
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Spot Anthracnose on Dogwood. Clemson University Extension Service

  2. Nursery Sale of Bradford Pears Banned. Penn State University

  3. College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences – Colorado State University. “Guide to Poisonous Plants.” Colostate.edu. N.p., n.d. Web.