Finding small trees that have conspicuous flowers in the spring or summer and keep their leaves to provide landscape interest through the winter can be difficult. Many pines, spruces and other attractive needled evergreens don't have noticeable flowers. Small flowering trees like crabapples, cherries and redbuds are deciduous. But not all gardeners working with small spaces should lose heart. A few small flowering trees are evergreen in USDA hardiness zones 7 and higher.
Star Fruit Tree
Star fruit trees (Averrhoa carambola ), native to India and Indonesia, are evergreen in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11, where the minimum winter temperature stays above 30 degrees F. They are garden plants in Hawaii and Florida, and outdoor potted plants in warm weather elsewhere in the United States, where they will overwinter indoors.
Trees stand 20 and 30 feet and wide. They have rounded crowns with dense 6- to-10-inch medium green leaves. Tiny, fragrant rose-colored flowers appearing between the leaves and stems bloom through the year. Yellow or orange edible fruit long follows the flowers. Trees overwintering indoors may not bear fruit, the Missouri Botanical Garden says. Plant star fruit in acidic, evenly moist, well-drained loam and full sun. It benefits from wind protection.
Cornus elliptica is a dogwood variety in hardiness zones 7 to 9, with a minimum annual temperature of 0 degrees. Native to Asia and China, it stands 15 to 20 feet high and up to 15 feet wide. Glossy bright green leaves provide purple autumn color. Old leaves fall from the trees in spring as the tree's new growth and leaves appear.
A late bloomer among dogwoods, this tree has four-petaled, creamy white blooms with yellow-green centers in June and July. One-inch red fruit follows the flowers. Plant this tree in full sun or partial shade and organically rich, moist, well-drained sandy soil. Protected locations are best for trees in the colder areas of its hardiness range.
Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), a 10- to 25-foot tree native to China, grows in hardiness zones 8 to 10 with a minimum temperature of 10 degrees. While it's hardy and evergreen to that temperature, anything lower than 28 degrees may kill loquat's bloom or fruit.
One of the few trees that bloom late in the year, loquat has dense clusters of fragrant white flowers in November and December. They can be up to 6 inches long. Loquat has large--up to 12 inches--wrinkled leaves with dark green surfaces and pale green undersides. Small, juicy orange or yellow fruits follow the flowers, ripening between February and April. Edible right off the trees, they are delicious added to salads or used in preserves, sauces, and pies.
Plant trees in fertile, moist well-drained loam and sun to part shade. In cold climates, they work as outdoor container plants in warm weather and will overwinter if brought indoors. Indoor plants prefer a sunny location, reduced watering and temperatures between 50 and 75 degrees.
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