Indiana has two USDA hardiness zones–5 and 6. The winter temperatures can get as low as minus 20 degrees F in zone five and minus 10 in zone 6. That 10 degree difference can cause damage to a tree that is not hardy in zone 5. Indiana gardeners can choose from trees that are hardy in the whole state and those in the south can pick a tree just for them.
Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is also known as tulip magnolia, tulip poplar, yellow poplar and whitewood. The tree grows from 70 to 150 feet tall and produces 5- to 8-inch long, bright green, tulip-shaped leaves that turn shades of yellow in the fall and 2- to three-inch long tulip-shaped flowers with yellow-green petals and an orange base. The flowers bloom from May through the middle of June and are followed by cone-shaped fruit. Tuliptree likes a moist, fertile soil and full sun. It is not a tree for a small property. Tuliptree needs room to spread out and makes a good choice for a shade tree in a large yard. Tuliptree can be grown in all of Indiana.
Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium) grows up to 15 feet high and 10 feet wide and produces medium to dark-green leaves that change to burgundy, red, orange, yellow or purple in the fall and small cream-white flowers that grow in clusters in early May. Green, yellow, and red-pink fruits appear when the flowers are done, turn to blue-black or blue-pink and last until December. Blackhaw grows in full sun, partial shade or full shade and prefers a moist well-drained soil, but can take poorly conditioned soils as well. Blackhaw can be grow in all of Indiana.
Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) is also known as the sorrel tree and the lily-of-the-valley tree. It grows from 30 to 60 feet tall and produces 10-inch long green leaves that turn red or scarlet in the fall. White lily-of-the-valley like flowers grow on drooping stalks that grow from 8 to 10 inches long. The flowers not only look like the lily-of-the-valley, they have a similar fragrance. The tree does its best in partial shade, but can take full sun and is adaptable when it comes to the type of soil. Sourwood can be grown in all of Indiana.
Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) is also known as grancy gray beard. The tree grows about 20 feet tall and produces dark green leaves, white, fragrant flowers in the spring and 1-inch long brown fruit in the fall. It grows in full sun or partial shade and likes a soil that is moist and well-drained. Fringetree can be grown in the warmer zone 6 in southern Indiana.