Flowering trees and shrubs add color and seasonal interest to large or small landscapes. Larger species are often available in smaller than normal, or dwarf forms, making them well suited to small landscapes. Some species are showy, because of interesting bark or foliage, even after the blooming season is complete. Pay close attention to cultivation preferences of trees and shrubs to ensure optimum health and performance.
The saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana) is a small, deciduous tree with an upright, openly branched form. It reaches 25 feet tall with equal spread. Saucer magnolias have large, saucer-shaped, pinkish-purple and white flowers that bloom in early spring. They are hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9. Grow them in full sun or partial shade on nutrient-rich, well-drained, moist soils.
Bradford pears (Pyrus calleryana), also known as flowering pear, are many-branched, deciduous trees growing 30 to 40 feet tall with 25-30 foot spread. Bradford pear tree's form is pyramidal to oval-shaped as they mature. Its short-lived, showy white flowers appear in spring, along with emerging foliage. In fall, Bradford pear foliage becomes bright red-purple, especially in cool climates. Bradford pears prefer well-drained soil and sunny locations in USDA zones 5 through 9.
White dogwoods (Cornus florida), or flowering dogwoods, are deciduous trees reaching 40 feet tall. The showy part of dogwood blooms is not the small clusters of greenish-white flowers, but the large white petal-like bracts that surround them. These blooms are produced in spring before foliage emerges. Dogwoods prefer full sun to partial shade, in nutrient-rich, well-drained, acidic soils. Dogwoods are very sensitive to drought or waterlogged conditions and other environmental stress. These trees are hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9.
Krume azaleas (Rhododendron x obtusum) are dense, evergreen shrubs, reaching 4 to 6 feet height and equal spread. Its leaves are dark green and flowers in many colors, depending on the cultivar. Its funnel-shaped flowers appear in spring. Azaleas prefer partial shade and nutrient-rich, well-drained, acidic soils and grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 9. Rhodendron eriocarpum is a dwarf type, growing only 2 to 3 feet tall and may be used as a ground cover, according to North Carolina State University Extension.
Butterfly bush (Buddlei davidii) is a deciduous shrub growing 5 to 10 feet tall with 6 to 8 foot spread. It is large and rounded, producing small purple, lavender, lilac, white, yellow or pink flowers in 4- to 10-inch clusters called panicles from summer to fall. This shrub is attractive to bees and butterflies. Butterfly bush prefers sunny locations and moist, well-drained soils, but is tolerant of various soils. It is a rapid grower and adapted to USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9.