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Small Trees for Flower Beds

crabapples image by catbird338 from

Even small trees can add height in a landscape design while providing shade to plants growing beneath their canopies. Some small trees bloom before annual or perennial flowers surrounding them for an early touch of spring beauty, while other trees bloom in summer. When incorporating summertime blooming small trees in the landscape, choose plants for the flower bed whose bloom color will complement the tree’s bloom color.

Crape Myrtle

Crape myrtle varieties can grow as little as 18 inches tall up to 40 feet tall. Read the nursery plant label to choose a height suitable for the flower bed. Crape myrtle is a deciduous tree that grows in USDA zones 7 through 9 and needs full sun. The tree produces pink or white blooms during the summer. Its bark peels each summer and drops as thin, curled pieces. Allow dropped bark to decay for nourishment to plants, rake and dispose of it, or mow thin, dropped bark.


Crabapple produces red, pink or white blooms that appear in spring, early summer or late summer, depending on the variety. A crabapple tree grows best in full sun but can tolerate some shade. The tree height can be as low as 5 feet and up to 20 feet. Some crabapple varieties, such as Louisa and Molten Lava, are referred to as “weeping” since their branches droop down like an umbrella. This deciduous tree that grows best in USDA zones 4 to 8.

Anacacho Orchid

The shape of the springtime pink or white blooms of Anacacho Orchid resembles orchids. Hardy to USDA zone 8, Anacacho Orchid is a deciduous tree that can reach a height of 12 feet, can grow in full to part sun and needs well-drained soil.

Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn

Thornless cockspur hawthorn, a deciduous tree, can grow 15 to 18 feet tall and is cold hardy as far north as USDA zone 4. The tree produces clusters of small, white flowers in the spring that are followed in the fall by fruit that is less than 1 inch in diameter. The tree's bark peels in late summer and can be left to nourish the soil.

Texas Mountain Laurel

Hardy in USDA zones 7b through 10a, Texas Mountain Laurel is an evergreen tree that grows to 15 to 25 feet tall. In the spring, the tree produces fragrant clusters of drooping purple blooms. The tree produces large seed pods, about 8 inches long. Texas Mountain Laurel can grow in a range of sun exposures from full sun to part shade but needs well-drained soil.

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