Flowering trees welcome spring, a first hopeful burst of color and softness, stunning beauty overtaking what was once a twiggy and gray-brown landscape. First a few pops of yellow forsythia, then the true stand outs— Magnolias and the Cherries. Soon, others, like Dogwoods, Redbuds, and Crab apples will bear their formidable colors.
Nothing is more stunning than a mature flowering tree in full bloom. “Flowering” trees will not grow as fast or provide as much relief from the hot summer sun as a “shade” tree, but they do cast shade in time as well as provide much character and beauty to yards and gardens. Ever blooming for years to come, memory makers, and welcome signs of lasting warm weather.
Below enjoy our 5 most popular Spring Flowering Trees. Each of them will add great beauty and structure to your landscape. We have some gorgeous cultivars!
The dainty flowers appear along the length of the branches in April before the leaves emerge. The leaves themselves are lovely and heart shaped. Can tolerate full sun, but prefers at least some shade in hot summers. Good understory tree. Very few insect and disease problems. A native US species.
Cercis canadensis ‘Covey’ or ‘Pink Heartbreaker’ – Small weeping variety with rich purple flowers. Kids can hide inside these draping branches. Interesting form in winter despite not having leaves. Nice with a light at night.
Height: 4 to 10 Spread: 4 to 10
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ – Rich purple flowers with new foliage that is a brilliant scarlet-purple color maturing to maroon.
Height: 15-20’ Spread: 20-25’
Cercis canadensis ‘Appalachian Red’– Stunning vivid pink flowers all along the branches brighten the early spring.
Height: 15-20’ Spread:15-20’
We carry several specimen varieties. They bloom in April and enjoy full sun. Many varieties have excellent fall color. Watch for caterpillars chewing leaves.
Prunus x ‘Okame’ – earliest cherry to bloom before the leaves emerge. Slightly taller than wide.
Height: 20-25’ Spread: 20’
Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’ -laden with soft double pink blossoms as the leaves emerge. Vase shaped.
Height: 20′ Spread: 20′
Prunus yedoensis ‘Yoshino’– white, sometimes tinged pink. Grows slightly wider than tall.
Height: 20-25’ Spread: 25-30’
Prunus pendula ‘Pendula Rosea’ – Weeping, pink flowers along the stems. Graceful arching branches. Beautiful when lit at night.
Height: 15-to 25’ Spread-15- to 25’
Prunus x ‘Snow Fountain’– Weeping, white flowers. Similar to the above with lighter flowers and a much smaller size.
Height: 8 to 15’ Spread: 6 to 8’
Classic April blooms are a harbinger of spring & many are wonderfully fragrant! They enjoy full sun, but will also take light shade. Easy to grow and usually free of insects and diseases.
These varieties are very hardy and lose leaves in winter.
Southern Magnolias are evergreen and different than the ones listed below and not as hardy in New England.
Magnolia x ‘Black Tulip’ – flowers are deep burgundy, tulip shaped
Height: 15-20’ Spread: 6-10’
Magnolia ‘Galaxy’– Flowers are rose-pink to reddish-purple, similar to Black Tulip with lighter flowers.
Height: 20 to 30’ Spread: 10 to 15’
Magnolia × loebneri ‘Dr. Merrill’– Flowers are white, blushed with pink. One of the first trees to bloom in spring. Sometimes flowers can be damaged by frost.
Height: 25-30’ Spread: 25-30’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ – Beautiful bi-colored flowers. One of the prettiest of all trees. Chris Kennedy’s favorite Magnolia.
Height: 15-20’ Spread: 15-20’
Magnolia x ‘Butterflies’ – Relatively unusual yellow flowers emerge just before or as the leaves emerge. Somewhat vigorous and slightly taller than wide.
Height: 20-25’ Spread: 15-20’
Bloom in May. Many have attractive small fruits that are aesthetically pleasing to humans and edible and alluring to birds and pollinators. Some varieties have nice fall foliage. Native. All flowering crabapple perform best in full sun. Can tolerate some shade, but can be more disease prone. Very durable trees that tolerate winds and tough dry conditions once established.
Malus ‘Coralburst’– One of several dwarf varieties. This one is very tight, great fro small spaces. Buds start out a stunning, rich, coral pink and unfold to a soft rosy pink. The tomato red fruits are prolific and remain throughout the fall into winter. – They enjoy full sun. Fragrant.
Height: 8-10’ Spread: 10-12’
Malus ’Prairifire’– Clear red- pink flowers and abundant Fall fruit. New foliage is plum colored. Fruits are dark red. Lightly fragrant. Slightly taller than wide.
Height: 20’ Spread: 15’
Malus ‘Royal Raindrops’ – raspberry pink flowers, purple bronze foliage throughout the summer, attractive tiny red fruits enjoyed by birds in winter. Slightly taller than wide.
Height: 20’ Spread: 15’
Malus ‘Sugar Thyme’– Soft pink buds open up to pure white flowers. Fruit resembles small apples. Fragrant.
Height: 14 to 18’ Spread: 11 to 15’
Malus ‘Donald Wyman’ – Pinks buds fade to pure white. Grows wider than tall. Terrific yellow fall color. Fruits remain attractive throughout winter and they dry on the tree and are not messy.
Height: 15-20’ Spread: 20’
Classic beauties of spring! Most have terrific fall foliage and interesting form in winter. All can tolerate full sun, but prefer part shade. Water well in hot dry summers. Do not plant in soggy or clay soils. There are three main classes of Flowering Dogwoods. Early blooming Florida dogwoods, late Flowering Chinese Dogwoods and the Rutgers hybrid Dogwoods that bloom in between.
Cornus florida – Flowering Dogwood – First dogwoods to bloom before the leaves emerge. All good years all you see is flowers. Covered in colorful white or pink bracts that appear to float in the air. All originate from a native American species. Various species. Can get a disease called Anthracnose.
Height: 25’ Spread: 25’
Cornus x ‘Venus’ – Large 6” showy white flowers in late spring. In Fall the foliage turns reddish purple in the fall. Strawberry like fruit. Rutgers hybrid, blooms mid-spring as leaves emerge. More vigorous than kousa. Disease and insect resistant.
Height: 20’ Spread: 20’
Cornus ‘Constellation’ or ‘Celestial’– Same as above, slightly smaller flowers.
Height 25’ Spread 25’
Cornus ‘Stellar Pink’– Same as above, light pink flowers.
Height: 25’ Spread:25’
Cornus kousa – Chinese Dogwood – flowers in June after the leaves emerge. Flowers start green, then turn creamy white, then almost pure white. Sometimes they tinge pink before they fall. One of the longest trees to bloom, typically 4-6 weeks! Large showy raspberry looking fruit. Nice deep red fall foliage. Attractive peeling bark, very noticeable on mature specimens, especially in winter. Worthy of lighting at night. Not as vigorous as other flowering dogwoods. Be sure to see our specimen tree near the entrance at Kennedy’s.
Many of these trees Kennedy’s regularly stocks. Or they can be found on the Bower & Branch website. Kennedy’s has partnered with Brower & Branch’s trusted network of quality growers. Trees are shipped to Kennedy’s within 1-2 weeks of placing an online order. We offer local delivery & planting services.
The above list and information was compiled by Chris Kennedy, MCH and Susan Anthony.