20 of the Best Flowering Trees for Your Landscape 

Cherry blossoms lining a path

A beautiful flowering tree can make your landscape stand out, especially when its branches light up with bright yellow, red, blue, purple, pink, or white blooms. Are you searching for the best flowering tree for your landscape? Explore some of the most show-stopping options, with a variety of flowers in a rainbow of colors, below.

1. Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus)

The profusely purple-blooming chaste tree is a southern stunner. It can be cultivated as a small ornamental tree or a tall shrub in warmer climates and coastal regions. In colder climates (zones 5 and 6), it will die back to the roots each winter and grow back a few feet as a small shrub in spring. Chaste tree won’t grow to any substantial height in cold climates because of the annual dieback. 

Chaste tree is especially desirable because it grows quickly, sometimes more than 2 feet per year, and its long spikes of tiny flowers last for several months. Flowers are usually lavender or purple, but they can sometimes be pink or white instead.  

  • Hardiness zones: 7-9
  • Sun exposure: Full sun 
  • Soil preferences: Needs soil that drains well and quickly 
  • Water needs: Does well in drought 
  • Bloom time: Late spring, early fall
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Mature size: 8-10 feet tall, 5-8 feet wide 
  • Potential hazards: Can become weedy and invasive 

2. Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

Crape myrtle, aka crepe myrtle, is one of the most popular flowering trees for landscapes, especially in the South. With a high heat tolerance, it produces beautiful bright blossoms in the summer sun when few other plants are blooming.

Because crape myrtles are so beloved, breeders have developed many different cultivars, some small shrubs and some towering up to 30 feet tall. Flowers are available in innumerable shades of pink, purple, red, or white. 

  • Hardiness zones: 7-10 
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Soil preferences: Tolerates most soils as long as they drain well
  • Water needs: Needs water once per week and sometimes twice per week in fast-draining soils 
  • Bloom time: Usually sometime in summer; exact bloom dates vary by cultivar 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: Cultivars vary by size; anywhere from 2-30 feet tall, 2-15 feet wide
  • Potential hazards: No hazards 

3. Dogwood (Cornus florida)

The flowering dogwood is a lovely ornamental tree with single or multiple trunks and a crown (top part of the tree) of spreading branches. It’s native to much of the Eastern U.S., south to Florida, north to Maine, and west to Kansas and Oklahoma. 

Dogwood flowers are bright white, pink, or a combination of the two. They stand out marvelously against the tree’s bare bark because they bloom before the tree sprouts new leaves in spring. Those same leaves will turn scarlet red when the weather gets cold again for an impressive show of fall color in your landscape. 

  • Hardiness zones: 5-9
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade 
  • Soil preferences: Moist and acidic sandy or loamy soils 
  • Water needs: Not drought-tolerant; needs weekly watering during dry spells 
  • Bloom time: Late winter to early spring in the South; late spring in the North
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: 20-40 feet tall, up to 20 feet wide 
  • Potential hazards: Direct skin contact with the tree can cause a rash

4. Downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)

With showy white blossoms and delicious purple berries, Downy serviceberry is another native to the East that can be an ornamental tree or tall shrub, depending on how you prune and train it. It’s in the same family as roses, and it has a few regional names, including Juneberry and shadbush. 

Downy serviceberry blooms profusely in spring before new leaves have appeared. Unfortunately, the flowers only last for about a week. Its juicy berries ripen through the season and are ready to pick in late summer (and they’re perfect for cobblers, pies, and jams). Serviceberry has more dazzling visuals to offer come fall, with vibrant red, yellow, and orange foliage.  

  • Hardiness zones: 4-9 
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade 
  • Soil preferences: Adapts to a variety of soils as long as it gets good drainage 
  • Water needs: Somewhat drought-tolerant but won’t thrive under constant drought stress 
  • Bloom time: March to early April 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: 10-25 feet tall, 10-15 feet wide 
  • Potential hazards: All parts of the plant except the ripe berries are toxic to goats, sheep, and cattle

5. Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Eastern redbud, aka American redbud, is enchanting in spring, when its leafless branches are covered with tiny pink blossoms. After the flowers, purplish-red, heart-shaped leaves emerge. They turn green in summer, then a brilliant golden yellow in fall. Even in winter, the rounded crown of the tree is quite elegant. 

  • Hardiness zones: 4-9
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade 
  • Soil preferences: Any moist, well-draining, nutrient-rich soil
  • Water needs: Keep the soil moist to a depth of 2 to 3 inches; watering schedule depends on your soil type, but you should water about once per week 
  • Bloom time: March-May 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: 20-30 feet tall, 25-35 feet wide 
  • Potential hazards: Contains saponin which can be toxic to fish but is not a danger to pets and humans unless ingested in very large amounts

6. Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

The aptly-named fringe tree explodes with tufts of delicate, lilac-scented white flowers in spring. From afar, these trees look like puffy clouds, but up close, bright green leaves provide a striking visual contrast to the fine fringe-like flowers.

Fringe trees are cold-hardy, surviving down to zone 4. They’re great for planting along a street or driveway in snowy areas because they’ve shown tolerance to road salt. 

  • Hardiness zones: 4-9
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade 
  • Soil preferences: Moist, well-draining, acidic soils
  • Water needs: Mildly drought-tolerant 
  • Bloom time: April-May 
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Mature size: 12-20 feet tall and wide
  • Potential hazards: None 

7. Golden chain tree (Laburnum anagyroides)

Next time you go to a party, forget the gold necklace and drape yourself in the brilliant yellow flowers of the golden chain tree instead. In late spring to early summer, trailing flower “chains” of rich yellow droop from every branch for a weeping willow-like look. 

As the golden chain tree matures, it forms a wide, spreading crown. Let it grow in an irregular form or prune it into a rounded shape for a more cultivated look. 

Golden chain tree’s flowers are beautiful and have a sweet fragrance, but don’t let them fool you. All parts of this plant are highly toxic to pets and humans. Other potential problems: It’s short-lived compared to other trees and doesn’t do well in intense heat.

  • Hardiness zones: 5-7
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade 
  • Soil preferences: Any well-draining, nutrient-rich soil; tolerates alkaline soils 
  • Water needs: Water once per week when there’s no rainfall 
  • Bloom time: May-June
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: 12-30 feet tall, 9-15 feet wide
  • Potential hazards: All parts of the tree are poisonous and can be fatal if ingested 

8. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)

There are hundreds of species of hawthorn trees, many of which are valued in landscaping for their year-round interest. First, fragrant clusters of tiny white, soft pink, or hot pink flowers cover every inch of the tree in spring. Then, from fall through winter, hawthorns bear red berries (sometimes black, orange, or yellow) that brighten your landscape and attract songbirds. 

Some popular species for home landscapes are:

  • Chinese hawthorn: Hardy in zones 6-9; grows up to 20 feet tall and 12 feet wide; white flowers
  • “Paul’s Scarlet” English hawthorn: Hardy in zones 5-8; grows up to 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide; hot pink or almost red flowers
  • Winter king green hawthorn: Hardy in zones 4-7; grows up to 35 feet tall and 25 feet wide; white flowers 
  • Hardiness zones: 3-9 (varies by species)
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Soil preferences: Needs fast-draining soil to prevent root rot 
  • Water needs: Water regularly during the first year after planting; drought-tolerant once established 
  • Bloom time: Mid through late spring 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: Varies between different species; anywhere from 15-50 feet tall, 8-35 feet wide 
  • Potential hazards: Many species have sharp thorns; common hawthorn (C. monogyna) is invasive in some regions

9. Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata)

If you’re familiar with typical lilacs, Japanese tree lilac is larger and grown as an ornamental tree instead of a shrub. With frothy clusters of creamy white flowers, it attracts a host of hummingbirds and butterflies in late spring and early summer. It grows into a round crown that can be more upright or spreading depending on your pruning techniques. 

Aside from the flowers, the Japanese tree lilac’s peeling, shiny reddish-brown bark is another visually striking feature. As the tree matures, the bark will fade to a grayish color. 

  • Hardiness zones: 3- 7
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Soil preferences: Any moist, well-draining soil; tolerates slightly acidic soils
  • Water needs: Keep the soil moist; needs regular watering during drought 
  • Bloom time: June
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Mature size: 20-30 feet tall, 15-25 feet wide
  • Potential hazards: Can become invasive once its seeds mature at about 15-20 years old 

10. Mountain ash (Sorbus americana)

Fluffy white flowers in spring and cheerful red berries in fall make mountain ash an East Coast favorite — among homeowners and birds alike. Native to the Northeast and as far south as Georgia, mountain ash is a smaller tree with a bushy, dense growth habit. In colder climates, it might not reach its maximum height and should be grown as a shrub instead. 

Beware that mountain ash trees often suffer from pests and plant diseases, such as boring insects and mildew. These issues, left unchecked, can kill the tree, so mountain ashes can be short-lived. 

  • Hardiness zones: 2-5
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade 
  • Soil preferences: Acidic, moist, and well-draining soils
  • Water needs: Needs about an inch of water per week in the absence of rain 
  • Bloom time: May-June 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: 10-30 feet tall, up to 15 feet wide
  • Potential hazards: Ingesting a large amount of berries can cause stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or kidney damage 

11. Oleander (Nerium oleander)

You’ll often see oleander as a shrub in landscapes, but you also can prune it as a small ornamental tree. Oleander has many benefits, from evergreen leaves to lovely pink or white flowers that bloom year-round in warm climates.

If you live in a smog-heavy city or the dry Southwest, oleander could be the perfect backyard addition: It tolerates poor soils, pollution, drought, heat, and salt. 

The biggest issue with oleander in the landscape is that it’s extremely poisonous. It’s definitely not a good choice if pets or small children often play in your yard. 

  • Hardiness zones: 8-11
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Soil preferences: Needs good drainage but tolerates nutrient-poor soils 
  • Water needs: Let the soil dry out between waterings to prevent root rot 
  • Bloom time: Blooms year-round, with the most flowers in warm weather 
  • Foliage: Evergreen 
  • Mature size: 4-20 feet tall, 3-15 feet wide 
  • Potential hazards: Highly toxic if ingested; invasive in some regions 

12. Pink weeping cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella var. ‘Pendula’)

Cherry trees are famous for their lovely light pink blooms that stand out on leafless branches, and the pink weeping cherry is a spectacular example. Its spreading branches grow in an umbrella shape, and trails of the little pink flowers droop down to the ground in an elegant waterfall in early spring. 

The pink weeping cherry tree does produce fruits, but they’re very small, and wildlife love to eat them, so they shouldn’t require any cleanup on your part.

  • Hardiness zones: 4-9
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Soil preferences: Moist and well-draining soils 
  • Water needs: Needs watering twice per week in summer but less frequently during cooler months 
  • Bloom time: Early spring 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: 20-30 feet tall, 20-30 feet wide
  • Potential hazards: Stems, leaves, and seeds are poisonous for pets and humans if ingested 

13. Prairifire crabapple tree (Malus ‘Prairifire’)

The Prairifire crabapple tree is beloved for its long-lasting pink flowers that bloom in spring and glossy maroon berries that ornament the tree in fall and winter. Its colorful leaves provide year-round interest. When the leaves first emerge in spring, after the flowers, they’re a deep purplish-red. They turn green in summer but maintain the deep red in their veins. In fall, they change to brilliant orange or yellow. 

  • Hardiness zones: 3-8
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Soil preferences: Tolerates most soils as long as they’re moist and well-drained 
  • Water needs: Water once per week or more often during the hottest part of summer 
  • Bloom time: April-May 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: 15-20 feet tall, 15-20 feet wide 
  • Potential hazards: Seeds, stems, and leaves are toxic for pets if ingested 

14. Red horsechestnut (Aesculus x carnea)

If you’re looking for a flowering tree that also can provide shade during the hot summer months, the red horsechestnut might be a good choice for you. It grows quite large compared to most other trees with showy flowers. The red horsechestnut’s flowers grow in upright spikes in dazzling shades of pink or red. They spring up from a backdrop of bushy, spreading branches covered in drooping green leaves.

Because it can grow so large, red horsechestnut needs a lot of space for planting, so it’s not an option for smaller yards. Another issue is the seed pods, which drop in summer and can be quite messy. 

  • Hardiness zones: 4- 9
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade 
  • Soil preferences: Moist soils high in organic matter with good drainage 
  • Water needs: Keep the soil moist; water regularly once per week in the absence of rainfall 
  • Bloom time: Mid-spring 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: 30-40 feet tall, 25-35 feet wide 
  • Potential hazards: Contains saponins, which are generally considered non-toxic but may cause gastrointestinal upset if consumed in large quantities 

15. Saucer magnolia (Magnolia soulangeana)

One of the most popular magnolias in home landscapes, the saucer magnolia blooms with cup-shaped pink and white flowers on bare branches in spring, filling your yard with that irresistible magnolia aroma. The rest of the tree is quite attractive, too, with smooth gray bark and large leaves that turn brilliant yellow in fall before dropping in winter. 

  • Hardiness zones: 4-9
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade 
  • Soil preferences: Prefers moist and well-draining acidic soil but tolerates dry or slightly alkaline soils 
  • Water needs: Needs frequent watering during the first year, then only needs watering during drought 
  • Bloom time: Usually blooms late February-April, but may continue blooming throughout summer and into the next winter 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: 20-30 feet tall, 20-30 feet wide 
  • Potential hazards: No hazards 

16. Smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria)

The flowers of the smoke tree have a distinctive look that sets it apart from other ornamental plants. Instead of individual flowers, this tree produces clusters of wispy little blossoms that resemble a cloud of smoke when viewed from afar. The flowers come in varying muted shades of tan, pale pink, bright red, and purple.

Even though it’s called the smoke “tree,” you’ll often see it grown as a sprawling shrub. But you can prune the lower branches and grow it as an ornamental tree with a wild and explosive or rounded and clean crown. 

  • Hardiness zones: 4-8
  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Soil preferences: Tolerates most soils 
  • Water needs: Drought-tolerant once established 
  • Bloom time: June-September 
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Mature size: 10-15 feet tall and wide
  • Potential hazards: Sap can cause skin irritation 

17. Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

A native to the Southeast, the southern magnolia has become an unmistakable symbol of the American South. It’s easy to understand why this tree is such a classic, with its grand appearance that includes huge, creamy white flowers and glossy dark green leaves that last through winter. 

The southern magnolia grows in an upright habit, and branches thick with leaves cover the tree from its thinner crown to its wider base. 

  • Hardiness zones: 7-10
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Soil preferences: Moist, well-draining, nutrient-rich soils
  • Water needs: Needs supplemental watering during periods of drought, but rainfall is usually sufficient 
  • Bloom time: Late spring-early fall
  • Foliage: Evergreen 
  • Mature size: 60-80 feet tall, 30-50 feet wide
  • Potential hazards: No hazards 

18. Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

The star magnolia is another favorite from this family of flowering trees. Like the saucer magnolia, this beauty drops its leaves in winter and bears its flowers on leafless, smooth gray branches. The large, daisy-like flowers are stark white and give the elegant impression of a fresh sprinkling of snow adorning the branches. 

  • Hardiness zones: 4-9
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade 
  • Soil preferences: Prefers acidic, moist, and well-draining soils
  • Water needs: Moderately drought-tolerant but may need watering during extended dry periods 
  • Bloom time: Sometime between late February and April, depending on the weather 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: 15-20 feet tall, 10-15 feet wide
  • Potential hazards: No hazards

19. Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

The tulip tree, aka tulip poplar or yellow poplar, looks like it belongs on an exotic tropical island, but it’s actually native to much of the Eastern U.S. That means it’ll give you all the eco-friendly, low-maintenance benefits of a native plant. It can grow very tall — up to around 90 feet — and it has an upright, spear-shaped growth habit with a thin crown and wide base. 

Tulip tree’s main appeal is its unique flowers. They’re large and cup-shaped, with light green petals with a bright orange ring around the bottom. A crown of yellow stamens reach out from the center of each bloom.  

  • Hardiness zones: 4-9
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade 
  • Soil preferences: Acidic, moist, and well-draining soils 
  • Water needs: Mildly drought-tolerant in humid climates but prefers for the soil to stay moist 
  • Bloom time: April-June 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: 70-90 feet tall, up to 40 feet wide 
  • Potential hazards: No hazards

20. Witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.)

Witch hazels are shrubs or small, spreading trees that produce fringe-like bursts of bright yellow or red flowers, depending on the species. Size and bloom time also vary by species, so, if you like the look of witch hazel, it’s easy to find one that suits your landscape’s needs.

The most popular witch hazel species for home landscaping are:

  • American witch hazel: Hardy in zones 4-8; grows up to 20 feet tall and wide; blooms October-December; yellow flowers
  • Chinese witch hazel: Hardy in zones 5-8; grows up to 15 feet tall and wide; blooms January-March; yellow flowers
  • Japanese witch hazel: Hardy in zones 5-8; grows up to 15 feet tall and wide; blooms January-March; yellow or red flowers
  • Ozark witch hazel: Hardy in zones 4-8; grows up to 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide; blooms January-April; yellow or red flowers 
  • Hardiness zones: 5-8 (some species are hardy to zone 4 or heat-tolerant to zone 9)
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil preferences: Prefers acidic, moist, and well-draining soil but tolerates a wide variety of soils
  • Water needs: Needs regular watering, especially in summer 
  • Bloom time: Varies by species; most bloom in late winter/early spring, but American witch hazel (H. virginiana) is a fall bloomer 
  • Foliage: Deciduous 
  • Mature size: Varies by species; some grow up to 20 feet tall and wide, while others stay closer to 10 feet tall and wide 
  • Potential hazards: Bark, leaves, and twigs are toxic to pets if ingested

How to get the most flowers out of your trees

All the trees on this list will produce some flowers each year, but certain site conditions and maintenance practices will help them bloom even more profusely than usual. 

For your trees to produce the most blooms possible, remember these tips:

  • Ideal planting conditions are a must: Your trees will produce more flowers when they’re growing in the right hardiness zone and soil type and when they’re getting enough — but not too much — sun and water. Pay attention to the care requirements listed under each tree, and choose one that’s the right fit for your yard.
  • In general, more sun = more flowers: Many of the trees on this list can grow in either full or partial sun, but the more sun they get, the more they’ll bloom. Intense summer heat can lead to flowers wilting, though, so the best light condition for flowers is full sun in the morning with light shade in the afternoon, the hottest part of the day.
  • Fertilize with phosphorus: Phosphorus is an essential plant nutrient that encourages blooming. If a soil test shows that your soil lacks this nutrient, use a “flower food” fertilizer that’s high in phosphorus to boost the number of flowers on your trees. Use caution with high-phosphorus fertilizers, though, because excess causes water pollution. 
  • Trim as needed: Regular trimming is essential for healthy new growth in trees. Healthy new growth means more and higher-quality flowers. See “Time Your Trimming” for information on how and when to prune your flowering trees.

FAQ about flowering trees 

1. Which flowering trees bloom the longest?

Flowering trees with longer than average bloom times include:

Chaste tree
Crape myrtle
Southern magnolia 

2. Which flowering trees grow the fastest?

Flowering trees that grow faster than average, usually about 1 to 2 feet per year, include:

Cherry trees 
Crape myrtle
Eastern redbud
Southern magnolia
Tulip tree

3. Which trees can be planted close to the house?

Smaller ornamental trees with shallow, non-aggressive roots are safe to plant near your house. 

Some flowering trees that meet these criteria include:

Crabapple trees
Eastern redbud 
Flowering dogwood
Saucer magnolia 
–Star magnoli
Weeping cherry trees

Check your tree’s mature canopy width to determine how far away you should plant it from your house. Most trees should be planted 10 to 20 feet away from your home’s foundation.

4. Which flowering trees don’t produce fruit?

If you don’t want to clean up fallen fruits, you should first look for hybrids and cultivars bred in such a way that they don’t produce fruit. You also can look for trees that produce small fruits or fruits that attract wildlife (who eat them), so you won’t have to worry about cleanup. 

Another option is to plant only “male” trees of dioecious species. Dioecious tree species include both “female” trees, which produce fruit, and “male” trees, which produce pollen to fertilize the female trees. By planting only “male” trees, you won’t have any fruits to sweep up. Fringe tree and smoke tree are dioecious. 

Find more plants for your landscape 

Once you’ve chosen the perfect flowering tree to take the starring role in your landscape, you’ll have to fill those supporting roles, too. If you’re searching for beautiful, interesting plants to include in your landscape, Lawn Love’s blog has you covered.

Check out:

After you’ve designed and planted your new landscape, you might find maintenance a little overwhelming. Let Lawn Love’s local lawn care pros sweat the small stuff for you, from lawn mowing to weed pulling to cleaning up leaves in fall. 

Main Photo Credit: kahraman-colak | Pixabay

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin is a writer and editor with a passion for sustainable, earth-friendly gardening and lawn care practices. When she isn't sharing her knowledge about lawn care and landscaping, you can find her curled up with a good book and a cat in her lap.