12 Terrific Trees You Need to Plant Now

 If you look at the plants around you or visit a garden center, you may see the same trees over and over again. There are many species that would make a suitable addition in many conditions but are not as well used in garden designs.

Some of the following species are ones that I have chosen since they should be planted more. I have also included some of my all-time favorites like nectarines and Rainier cherries.

  • 01 of 12

    American Persimmon

    • Latin Name: Diospyros virginiana
    • Family: Ebenaceae
    • Other Common Names: Eastern persimmon, common persimmon, sugar-plum, possumwood or simmon
    • Native to: Eastern and midwestern United States
    • USDA Zones: 4-9
    • Size: 30-60' tall and 20-35' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun for best results. Partial shade is also tolerated.

    Did you know that the Japanese persimmon you may see in stores (Diospyros kaki) has a sibling that is from North America? You need to let it fully ripen before it is eaten or it may be too...MORE tart.

  • 02 of 12

    Flowering Dogwood

    • Latin Name: Cornus florida
    • Family: Cornaceae
    • Native to: Eastern North America
    • USDA Zones: 5-9
    • Size: 15-40' tall and wide
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • More dogwood trees, shrubs and subshrubs

    The flowering dogwood is a beautiful tree with petal-like bracts in white, red or pink.

  • 03 of 12


    • Latin Name: Jacaranda mimosifolia
    • Family: Bignoniaceae
    • Other Common Names: Blue trumpet tree, fern tree, black poui, blue jacaranda, Brazilian rose wood
    • Native to: South America
    • USDA Zones: 9-11
    • Size: 5-50' tall and 15-60' wide
    • Exposure: Full sun
    • Growing profile for the jacaranda

    If you have ever been to a tropical or subtropical city and seen streets lined with purple flowering trees, you have likely met the jacaranda.

  • 04 of 12

    Japanese Maples

    • Latin Name: Acer palmatum
    • Family: Sapindaceae
    • Other Common Names:
    • Native to: China, Japan and Korea
    • USDA Zones: 5-9
    • Size: Varies widely according to cultivar; many are 15-25' tall and wide
    • Exposure: Full sun to full shade
    • Growing profile for the Japanese maple

    There are thousands of Japanese maple cultivars available for sale, so there is likely one to suit everyone's taste. This is also an excellent species to consider if you have a location with full shade, as many other plants would...MORE not do well under those conditions.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Dove Tree

    • Latin Name: Davidia involucrata
    • Family: Nyssaceae. Sometimes Davidaceae or Cornaceae.
    • Other Common Names: Laundry tree, handkerchief tree, ghost tree and pocket handkerchief tree
    • Native to: Southwestern China
    • USDA Zones: 6-8. If you are in Zone 5, look for the vilmoriniana variety
    • Size: 20-60' tall and 20-40' wide
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Growing profile for the dove tree

    The most striking feature on this tree is its flower. They do in fact resemble a dove as well as a...MORE handkerchief or a ghost.

  • 06 of 12

    Littleleaf Linden

    • Latin Name: Tilia cordata
    • Family: Tiliaceae
    • Other Common Names: Little leaf linden, small-leaved linden, small-leaved lime
    • Native to: Europe and western Asia
    • USDA Zones: 4-7
    • Size: 50-80'+ tall and 20-60' wide
    • Exposure: Full sun to light shade
    • Growing profile for the littleleaf linden

    If you are growing fruit trees, plant a littleleaf linden nearby. Bees go crazy for the sweetly perfumed flowers and be drawn to your garden. They will also visit your fruit trees and pollinate them.

  • 07 of 12


    • Latin Name: Prunus persica var. nectarina
    • Family: Rosaceae
    • Native to: Probably Asia
    • USDA Zones: 5-9
    • Height: Up to 20' tall depending on cultivar chosen.
    • Exposure: Full sun
    • More about the nectarine and other Prunus trees and shrubs

    Did you know that the nectarine is simply a mutated peach? Sometimes the DNA of a peach tree changes on a bud and it produces fruit that was hairless and sweeter. That is a win-win in my book!

    The flesh can be either yellow or white, with the latter considered to...MORE be sweeter than the former. White cultivars are also not as acidic. Each cultivar will be either clingstone or freestone, referring to whether or not the flesh is firmly attached to the pit inside.

  • 08 of 12

    Rainier Cherry

    • Latin Name: Prunus avium 'Rainier'
    • Family: Rosaceae
    • Native to: This was created at Washington State University
    • USDA Zones: 4-7
    • Height: 30'-35' tall; can be shorter with careful pruning
    • Exposure: Full sun

    I fell in love with eating fresh cherries when I met the Rainier cherry while on my internship in Oregon. It was created by crossing a 'Bing' cherry with the 'Van' cultivar.

    You will need a different cherry cultivar available for cross pollination as it is not able...MORE to pollinate itself. Possible choices include 'Bing', 'Black Tartarian', 'Lambert', 'Lapins', 'Van'. You will also have to get 800-900 chill hours every winter.

    These drupes are red and yellow and delectably sweet. National Rainier Cherry Day is celebrated on July 11th.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12


    Eastern redbud facts:

    • Latin Name: Cercis canadensis
    • Family: Fabaceae
    • Other Common Names: Judas tree, redbud
    • Native to: Eastern and midwestern United States
    • USDA Zones: 4-9
    • Size: 20-30' tall and 20-35' wide
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Growing profile for the eastern redbud
    Western redbud facts:
    • Latin Name: Cercis occidentalis
    • Family: Fabaceae
    • Other Common Names: California redbud
    • Native to: California, Nevada and Utah
    • USDA Zones: 6-9
    • Size: 15-25' tall and wide,
    • Exposure: Full...MORE sun to part shade
    • Growing profile for the western redbud

    I grew up in Southern California where there are plants blooming throughout the year. When I moved to Utah, the winter seemed especially bleak and drab. I appreciate trees like the eastern and western redbud who are eager to burst into bloom early in the year. 

  • 10 of 12

    Serbian Spruce

    • Latin Name: Picea omorika
    • Family: Pinaceae
    • Native to: Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • USDA Zones: 4-7
    • Size: 40-60' tall and 15-25' wide. Can be taller in native region.
    • Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Growing profile for the Serbian spruce

    More people should consider growing a Serbian spruce. This species can handle drought conditions and still look especially elegant for an evergreen.

  • 11 of 12

    Tricolor Beech

    • Latin Name: Fagus sylvatica 'Roseo-Marginata'
    • Family: Fagaceae
    • Other Common Names: Roseomarginata European beechtri color beech, tri-colored European beech
    • Native to: The species tree is from Europe
    • USDA Zones: 4-7
    • Size: 24-40' tall and 30' wide
    • Exposure: Part shade is best
    • Growing profile for the tricolor beech

    The leaves on variegated trees can help create a focal point in your landscape and the tricolor beech is well suited for this purpose. The foliage has a mix of green,...MORE white and pink.

  • 12 of 12

    Weeping Birches

    • Latin Name: Varieties of Betula pendula
    • Family: Betulaceae
    • Other Common Names: Silver birch
    • Native to: Europe
    • USDA Zones: Depends on the variety
    • Size: Depends on the variety
    • Exposure: Full sun. Some varieties can take part shade.
    • 12 Birch Trees and Shrubs
    • If you are in the market for a weeping tree, consider a weeping birch. I find them to be especially graceful and love the way the leaves and branches flutter in the wind.