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Flowering Trees in Montana

By Regina Sass ; Updated September 21, 2017
Redosier dogwood flowers make their appearance in spring.
dogwood image by rebekah gonzalez from Fotolia.com

Gardeners in Montana may not have as wide a choice of flowering trees as gardeners in the warmer climates do, but the trees that are available will make a dramatic statement in any garden plan. Plant flowering trees where they can be seen and appreciated--on the front lawn as a specimen plant, for shade by a patio or in the yard where they can be seen from the house.

Redosier Dogwood

Redosier dogwood (Cornus sericea) is a deciduous tree that grows from 6 to 10 feet tall and just about as wide. The medium- to dark-green leaves are oval shaped, grow from 2 to 5 inches long and 1 to 2 1/2 inches wide and become purple-red in the fall. The white flowers appear in May and June, growing in clusters from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter and producing fruit that is white to pale blue in August and September. Plant redosier dogwood in full sun or a very light shade and a moist soil. The plant is hardy in all of Montana.


Smoketree (Cotinus coggygria) is also known as smoke bush, Venetian sumac, European smoketree, fustet and Hungarian fustic and is a member of the cashew family. The tree grows from 15 to 30 feet tall and produces green, oval-shaped leaves that grow from 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long that turn yellow, orange, purple and red in the fall. The flowers are complex, appearing in early summer as small yellow-green blooms growing in clusters that are surrounded by long pink filaments that make the flowers look like soft-pink clouds. The flowers produce small, brown, kidney-shaped berries. Plant the smoketree in full sun to get the best color out of the leaves, but the plant will survive in partial shade as well. The tree prefers a soil that is moist and well-drained, but never wet. Smoketree is hardy in USDA Zone 5 in Montana in the western part of the state.

Russian Olive

Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) grows from 15 to 20 feet tall and about the same in width. The tree produces oblong, silver-gray leaves that grow from 2 to 4 inches long, small flowers that are white, cream or gray and small round or oval yellow fruit that is a food source for local birds. Plant Russian olive in full sun and a soil that is dry to moist and well drained. The tree is hardy in all of Montana except for small areas in Zone 2.