Flowering trees add color and vibrancy to the landscape. When choosing the right flowering tree you should consider several factors: the shape, the height at maturity, the rate of growth, and preferred growing conditions. Some flowering trees are more suitable for providing shade, while others might be primarily ornamental.
Peach, Cherry and Plum
There are some types of peach, cherry and plum that are spectacular flowering trees. They have been bred to enhance the blossom rather than the fruit. These would include the sweet cherry, Japanese flowering cherry, rosebud cherry, Higan cherry, Yoshino cherry, Pissard plum and the persica peach. The flowers, which might be white or pink, grow in clusters and are from 1 to 2 inches in diameter. If the tree is double-flowered (meaning the flowers have extra petals or flowers within flowers), these are ornamentals as they do not produce fruit.
Horse Chestnut Tree
The horse chestnut tree produces impressive blossoms that are flower spikes that can be a foot long and an inch wide with red, white, pink or greenish yellow flowers. The flowers bloom in the spring and the tree looses its leaves in the early fall without changing colors. The tree's leaves and nuts are poisonous, and it is a messy tree throughout the year.
A fast-growing flowering tree is the albizia, also known as the mimosa or silk tree. The tree has several trunks, yet can be trained to grow with one if it is pruned early on. Its pink flower clusters begin blooming in early summer, last until early fall, and are especially popular with the hummingbirds. They can reach 35 feet in height, and their span is typically equal to or greater than their height.
For warm climates, the Buddhist bauhinia or orchid tree does well, yet does not tolerate cold weather. It makes a nice shade tree and its flowers resemble orchids that can be purple, white or pink. The tree is fast-growing and has several trunks, but can be trained to a single trunk if pruned when it is young. In India, the leaves and flowers of the tree are eaten as a vegetable.
The cassia, also known as the golden shower tree, is often grown in Hawaii, California and Florida. Its yellow flower clusters hang from the tree like bunches of grapes, beginning from mid-spring until early summer. The flower clusters are from 12 to 18 inches long. The tree will begin to bloom about three years after it is planted.
Flowering trees that adapt to colder climates (zones 4 or warmer) include the flowering almond with its pink blossoms, the pink flowering apricot, the prairie fire crabapple, the pink smoketree, and the royal paulownia tree. There are other smaller trees that are also known for their flowers, such as the dogwoods, magnolias and redbuds.