The South’s lush landscapes are often dotted with trees that provide not only shade, but colorful flowers. Trees that flourish in this region are designed to withstand the excess sun and humidity common in southern climates. The blooms of these flowering trees are favorites of birds and insects, making the trees appealing to the nature lover who wants to draw wildlife.
Magnolia trees are practically synonymous with southern landscapes. These waxy-leaved trees are known for lining neighborhoods in many regions of the southern United States. Depending on the type of tree, flowers can form in white, yellow, pink, purple or even red. Their large, aromatic blooms feature heavy petals that are delicate when handled. Magnolias can be evergreen or deciduous. Magnolias grow better in full sun or partial shade. Some smaller magnolia trees, such as the sweet bay magnolia, can even grow well in a container garden environment.
Crape Myrtle Trees
One of the most commonly seen flowering trees in the southern United States is the crape myrtle tree. These trees come in a variety of striking colors such as red, yellow, white, pink, peach or purple. The flowers even grow in various sizes to give even more variety to gardeners. Crape myrtles thrive in the south because they require only infrequent water and can withstand very sunny environments. Depending on the type of crape myrtle, the tree can grow anywhere from 3 feet to more than 20 feet tall. They are hardy plants with the tendency to bloom all year long.
The serviceberry is a flowering tree that often peppers southern landscapes. This tree blooms small, white flowers with yellow centers in the early spring in the south. It is also known to landscapers as “Juneberry” or “shadbush.” It is also often referred to as the “downy serviceberry” due to the sometimes fuzzy texture of the tree’s leaves. Some varieties of the serviceberry can reach as tall as 25 feet, with leaves ranging from 2 to 4 inches in length. Along with its flowers, the serviceberry produces sweet berries that are safe for animal and human consumption.
The cabbage palmetto, also known as the Sabal palmetto, is so special to the South that it is considered the state tree of South Carolina and Florida. The cabbage palm is grown all over the region, extending from North Carolina and down into the Florida Keys. This tropical-looking tree is perhaps best recognized for tapered leaves hanging in a fan shape from long stems, but the cabbage palm flowers annually from April to August. The blooms are small and creamy white.
- Southern Living: Magnolia: Essential Southern Plant
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: U.S. National Arboretum Plant Photo Gallery: Crapemyrtle Quick Guide Chart
- The Garden Helper: The Official Flowers, Trees, Birds and Capitols for All Fifty States
- Smithsonian Marine Section at Fort Pierce: Species Name: Sabal Palmetto