Most people think of trees blooming only in springtime, though many species flower throughout summer. When creating your landscape, consider adding varieties of trees that bloom throughout the entire year, including summer. This will assure a colorful landscape after the trees of spring have finished their blooming period. When everything else is suffering through the summer heat, your flowering trees of summertime will be showing their best.
Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), also called swamp magnolia, flowers all summer long. It grows well in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9 and is a North American native. It acts as an evergreen in southern areas of its planting range and as a semi-evergreen in cooler northern sections. Flowers are 2 to 3 inches in size, are cream colored and have a lemon scent. The foliage is gray green and aromatic.
With its multi-trunk habit, sweetbay magnolia is suitable for use as a large specimen tree or shade tree. It works well in native and butterfly gardens as it attracts birds, and swallowtail butterflies use it as its larval food. Trees grow up to 60 feet in height with a spread of 20 feet, and grow best in full sun to partial shade conditions. Sweetbay magnolia prefers growing in moist to wet sites, so it requires regular and deep watering.
Crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) is an attractive small tree that fills with masses of pink flowers throughout summer. It is well suited for growing in zones 8 through 10. The long plumes of flowers attract butterflies and birds are attracted to the fruit. Trees are suitable for use as specimens, in mixed gardens or planted inside large containers. It also works well in butterfly gardens.
Trees prefer growing in full sun, though it will tolerate partial sun conditions. Tolerant to a wide variety of well-draining soil mediums, crepe myrtle will develop root rot and die if planted in saturated sites. Trees do require regular weekly watering for best growth. It reaches a mature height of 10 to 30 feet with a spread of 15 to 30 feet.
Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) is a small tree that fills with long, upright plumes of purple flowers throughout summertime. When blooming, the flowers almost cover the foliage. Trees grow well in zones 8 through 10 and cooler regions should grow the tree in a large container for protection in winter. The twisting habit of the trunk and the tree’s gray bark make it suitable for use as a specimen tree or in butterfly gardens as both hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the blooms.
Trees grow relatively fast, reaching a mature height of 10 to 20 feet with the same spread. It tolerates a wide range of well-draining soils, and has a high tolerance to drought conditions. Chaste tree tolerates growing in full sun to partial shade conditions.