Everyone loves flowers. When they cover a tree with beauty and color they are a spectacular addition to your property and they add beauty and value as well. Part of the skill in creating a beautiful garden is to have stability with change. Evergreen Trees, Shade Trees and Hedges give a stable structure and Flowering Trees bring change with the seasons. That way the garden is always alive and different with something new to see and enjoy. Flowering Trees will turn a simple garden into a thing of beauty with the great variety of colors and forms they offer. Most are just small trees so they don’t take up a great deal of room and you can grow several on the average property. With good choices you can have one tree or another flowering in your garden throughout the spring and summer seasons with the bonus that some have great fall color too.
Flowering Trees can be planted in many different parts of your garden. They make beautiful specimens standing on the lawn. An avenue along a driveway or walkway is a glorious sight. Planted among shrubs and flowers they are a lovely backdrop or an accent for the shorter plants and they look beautiful on the edge of more natural areas, like woods, if you are lucky enough to have that on your property. They can also be used for screening and planted in a row to hide an ugly view or give privacy.
In a larger garden a group of three or five clustered on the lawn is beautiful and in the smallest property there is always room for one small tree to brighten up the garden. If you have a small garden then you want to get as much as possible from everything you plant, so if you are thinking of planting a tree why settle for a tree that just has green leaves when you can have one that bursts with bloom each spring or is in flower all summer? For a smaller garden flowering trees are the best tree choice anyway, since they are generally smaller than shade trees, which can grow too large for a very small garden.
Choose The Right Flowering Tree
Flowering trees come in many shapes and sizes, as well as different colors and blooming seasons. So it is worth taking a little time to consider your needs before choosing a tree, so that your choice will be a good one.
Size: Flowering trees come in a wide range of sizes. Most grow to around 20 feet, although some can reach 30 feet in time and others remains smaller and grow no more than 12 or 15 feet tall. Some, like the Crape Myrtles, can be controlled in their size by pruning, while others are best left to grow to maturity on their own. Choose a tree that will make a statement without overcrowding your lot. If you have a small garden obviously a smaller tree makes sense. Be sure to allow enough room from your house for the planting spot you have. You should allow a little more than half the spread of the tree as clearance from your house when you are planning where to plant your new flowering tree. So if you are interested in a tree that has a 20 foot spread, plant it at least 12 feet from your house. Don’t be fooled by the size of your tree when you plant it, even the largest trees start off small. Most of the Flowering Trees at the Tree Center grow no more than 30 feet tall, but if you have the space or the desire for a larger tree you will find several beautiful larger flowering trees – Royal Empress Trees for example – in our Shade Trees section.
Structure: Some flowering trees have a single, straight trunk, while others prefer to grow with several trunks, so consider what is best for you. If you want a dual-purpose flowering and shade tree, a single trunk will make it easy to have a good crown on your tree that will throw lots of shade. Multi-trunked trees look very picturesque and make beautiful specimens in a lawn or planted with other trees or shrubs, but it can be hard to get a picnic table underneath one. It is possible with pruning to turn a tree that normally has several trunks into one with only a single trunk, but it is easier to choose something that will do that naturally.
Form: Having a variety of shapes in the plants in your garden is an important way to paint a beautiful living picture in your garden. Take a look at what you already have, or are planning to get. Are most of your plants rounded in shape? If so, perhaps you need something more upright to create an accent. Cascading forms, like the White Weeping Cherry are also a terrific way to add interest to the garden. They create an air of elegance and refinement, or give a more Oriental look if that is the direction you are going in. Vase-shapes are also interesting and some of the cherry trees are like that.
Color: Some people want their gardens to be a riot of color and don’t care about the shades they are using. They happily mix yellow with pink as long as it looks cheerful. Other people are more careful in putting colors together, so that the yellow plant is at least a long way away from the pink one, or they stick to certain complementary colors. Of course, since not all flowering trees are in bloom at the same time you can have one color palette in spring and another in summer, and having your garden change palettes with the seasons is a great way to keep it always interesting.
White is especially useful and can be used in several ways. Some gardeners might have a whole section of their garden that is only white which creates a very calm elegant look, especially in the early evening. White is also a good color to separate other colors that don’t get along too well, so if you have some color problems with your existing plants, slipping a white flowering tree between them could solve it. White also looks especially beautiful against a dark background like a hedge or a planting of evergreens, and so do other pale colors, while dark colored flowers can just disappear. Think of the colors of your house too and consider how your new flowering tree will look if it is going to be planted in front of the house.
Hardiness: Always check your hardiness zone before looking at our selection of flowering trees. We have trees for every zone in the country, so not everything will be an ideal choice for your particular location. In cooler areas our various flowering cherries are ideal choices. Not only do they prefer growing in cooler areas, but the blossoms will last longer in cooler spring conditions. For hotter areas our amazing range of Crape Myrtles are where you should be looking – there are good reasons they are called the flower of the South.
Soil and Moisture: Is your soil acidic or alkaline? Some plants, like Pink Dogwood, prefer slightly acid soil conditions, while the Flowering Cherries are happy in an alkaline soil. If you naturally have dry summers and you don’t have irrigation, then some plants will not like your garden, while others, like Crape Myrtles of Western Redbud, will thrive in drier conditions.
Season of Bloom: Do you spent the summers away from home a lot? When do you spend the most time in your garden? Since space is always limited, it makes a lot of sense to choose plants that flower when you are going to be around to enjoy them. Check the season of bloom for your choices and if it is when you are always away on holiday, maybe you will get more pleasure from a different choice. Of course, if you have the room, why not plant both? Your annual plans may change by the time the tree reaches maturity.
Spring Flowering Trees
After the long sleep of winter we are ready to see our gardens come alive again and there is no better way to do that than with flowering trees. Many trees just can’t wait to flower at the first hint of spring and they are covered in blooms before the leaves even appear. This intensifies the color effect, since the tree is all color with no green at all. The miracle of those bare twigs bursting into bloom is nature’s great gift to us.
If you need tough, easy to grow flowering trees for spring, then the Cleveland Flowering Pear Tree and the Aristocrat Pear Tree are great first choices. These beautiful trees have come to us from China, and they are literally smothered in pure-white blossoms every spring before the leaves appear. These are tough trees that will take poor soil, limited space, urban conditions and still thrive and be beautiful every spring. Not only that but they will give us fantastic fall color as well – two seasons of beauty from just one tree.
Tourists travel thousands of miles to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan, but we can have that beauty in our own gardens so easily. At the Tree Center we specialize in Cherry Trees and we have a whole range of them available to turn spring in your garden into a spectacular flower show. From pure white or the palest blush pink to the flamboyant strong pinks of the Kwanzan Cherry Tree, there is a flowering cherry size and color to suit everyone. They vary in size from the 30 foot tall Okame Cherry Tree to the much smaller cascading White Weeping Cherry. This tree and the Yoshino Cherry too are especially beautiful because they bring a different form to your garden. Most trees have branches that grow more or less upright, but in these trees the branches cascade down towards the ground and will even trail across rocks or down a bank. This habit makes them especially beautiful and they are really stunning planted near a pond or stream as they seem to flow right into the water.
Native Flowering Trees
Native trees are especially valuable in the garden not only for their beauty but because by planting them we are preserving parts of our natural landscape. They are natural places for native birds too and may be a valuable source of food for them. Unlike some non-native species they won’t produce seeds that become a nuisance and if they do start to grow naturally in your area, you will be adding to the gene pool and helping to keep the species alive.
The Redbuds are gorgeous native Flowering Trees that bring beauty to wild places and gardens every spring. There are two Redbuds. The Western Redbud comes from California and Arizona, but it will grow right up the west coast and east as far as Delaware. It just needs to be somewhere where the nights get cold in winter to flower well. The Eastern Redbud looks very similar, but grows naturally throughout the east and up into southern Canada. It does best in areas with rainfall all year round, so between these two trees there are very few places where you cannot enjoy the beauty. They make small trees with attractive twisted branches and in early spring they are just covered in blossoms of a spectacular and unique purple-pink color. The heart-shaped leaves that follow are beautiful too and make these small trees a fantastic addition to your garden.
Other native Flowering Trees are the Dogwoods. We normally carry a large variety of Dogwood trees including: White Dogwood, Cherokee Brave Dogwood, Cherokee Princess Dogwood and the Kousa Dogwood. This tree grows wild throughout the east, from southern Maine to northern Florida and into Texas. It is a lovely small tree that lights up in spring with colorful flowers. Wild trees are usually white, but dedicated gardeners have produced beautiful forms with delicious pink flowers that are much more spectacular than their wild brothers. These trees will grow well in most gardens that are not too cold or too hot and will give a spectacular display every spring.
Summer Flowering Trees
When summer rolls around, many of the flowering trees have spread their leaves and we need to turn elsewhere to keep up the flowering display. This is where the Crape Myrtles start to shine. These tough, fast-growing trees were brought to America a long time ago from China and Japan. They proved to be great plants for the southern states and thrived so well they quickly became a symbol of the South. Unlike many other flowering trees they flower all summer long right up to the first frost, so they are a great way to add summer color to your garden. Plant breeders and gardeners have worked to increase the color range, so now there are lilac colors like the Muskogee Crape, terrific hot pinks like the Pink Velour Crape Myrtle, reds like Dynamite Crape Myrtle and the elegant white Natchez Crape Myrtle. Some are medium-sized trees while others are small enough to brighten up the smallest garden, like the Strawberry Dazzle Crape Myrtle.
How To Care For Flowering Trees
Once you have chosen the right location and planted your flowering tree, remember to keep it well watered during the first growing season while it spreads its roots out into the soil. The surrounding soil may be damp, but as long as the roots are still only in the root ball they can become dry. So those early waterings should be close to the trunk of your new tree. As the tree matures, move the watering area away from the trunk and further out where the ends of the branches are. Some flowering trees always like moisture while others will be able to take some drought conditions once they are mature.
To get the best from your flowering trees regular fertilizing is a good idea. Liquid fertilizers for trees are best when your tree is young and will help it put on plenty of growth in its early years. Older trees are best fertilized with a granular-type fertilizer sprinkled in the root-zone area in early spring. Summer flowering trees can benefit from a second feeding in early summer. The root-zone is the area often called the drip-line. It is where the edges of the branches are and you should scatter the fertilizer in a broad band in that area. The feeding roots are there and by putting it in that location they will be able to get the maximum benefit from the food.
If you are planting your flowering tree in your lawn, remember that young trees grow fastest and do best if they don’t have to compete with grass, so keep the area over the roots free from grass until your tree has grown to a good size. The easiest way to do this is to put down a big circle of mulch around your tree. This will also conserve moisture and provide some nutrients as well. Make the circle a little bigger than where the ends of the branches reach to. This will also protect the bark of your tree from being damaged by string-trimmers, which can easily damage the thin bark of a young tree. Once your tree is big enough for you to let the grass grow right up to it, the bark will be thick enough to not get damaged.
Flowering Trees have so much to offer that it’s impossible to choose just one and no garden can have too many!