Trees, like many plants, typically prefer to flower in full sun areas rather than in shade. If you are looking for a flowering tree for a shady spot in your landscape you need to choose a hardy, easy-to-grow tree. There are several shade-loving trees that work as well in the shade as they would in full sun.
The rosebay rhododendron, Rhododendron maximum, is from the Ericaceae family. It is hardy to zone 4. This is a multistemmed evergreen that grows to 8 to 15 feet tall on average. Its strap-like leaves are dark green and leathery, and 4 to 8 inches long. The rosebay rhododendron flowers in June. The flowers are 1 ½ inches wide; pink, white or rose in color; and bloom in clusters. Plant this rhododendron in partial shade to full shade in moist, well-drained acidic soil. Propagate the rosebay rhododendron via seed or stem cuttings.
Nannyberry, Virburnum lentago, is from the Caprifoliaceae family. It is hardy to zone 2. This is a multistemmed, deciduous shrub/small tree that grows to 12 to 15 feet tall on average. Its simple leaves are light-to-dark green, glossy and 2 to 5 inches long. The leaves will get purplish-red in the fall. Nannyberry flowers are white, in clusters, bloom in May, and are 3 to 4 ½ inches wide. Plant this viburnum in sun or shade in moist or dry soils. It is very adaptable. Propagate nannyberry via seed or cuttings.
Carolina silverbell, Halesia tetraptera, is from the Styracaceae family. It is hardy to zone 5. This is an irregularly shaped tree that grows to 30 to 40 feet tall on average. the leaves are deciduous and simple, 2 to 5 inches long and dark green. The plant will turn yellowish-green in the fall. Carolina silverbell blooms in May, and its flowers are in clusters, white and bellshaped. Plant this halesia in full sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained acidic soil. Propagate Carolina silverbell via cuttings, seeds or a tissue culture.
Umbrella magnolia, Magnolia tripetala, is from the Magnoliaceae family. It is hardy to zone 5. This is a deciduous tree in loose form that gets 15 to 30 feet in height. Its leaves are lime green and 1 to 2 inches long, and may turn yellow or brown before falling off in the fall. The umbrella magnolia's flowers are 6 to 10 inches wide, cream colored and bloom May to June. The fruit is red and green in September and October. Plant this magnolia in full sun or in partial shade in moist, organic soil. Propagate umbrella magnolia via seed.
Blackhaw viburnum, Viburnum prunifolium, is from the Caprifoliaceae family. It is hardy to zone 3. This is a deciduous shrub/small tree with slow growth and medium texture. It will get up to 15 feet tall. Leaves are 1 ½ to 3 ½ inches long, dark green, and will turn purple in the fall. Flowers are white, showy, and in clusters 2 to 4 inches wide. Pink drupe fruits will turn black when mature. Plant this viburnum in any soil in sun or partial shade. Propagate blackhaw viburnum via seed.