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Kinds of Ornamental Trees

By Amber Kelsey ; Updated September 21, 2017
Persimmon trees bear orange fruits.

Gardeners often plant ornamental trees to add color or textural interest to their lawns and gardens. If you would like to plant an ornamental tree, select a variety according to its intended use, mature size, bloom information, appropriate hardiness zone and general requirements. Many different kinds of ornamental trees do well in American landscapes.

Willowleaf Pear

The willowleaf pear (Pyrus salicifolia), a member of the rose plant family (Rosaceae), ranges from 10 to 15 feet in both height and spread. This smaller ornamental tree performs well as a specimen tree for lawns in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 4 to 7. The willowleaf pear tree requires well-drained, moist soils in partly to fully sunny locations. This pear variety adapts to various soil conditions but prefers moist, well-drained soils in partly to fully sunny locations. Pink buds emerge to white blossoms in April, followed by small, yellow-green pears. Willowleaf pear foliage emerges a silver color, but turns silver-green with maturity. Willowleaf pear trees sometimes suffer from fireblight disease.

London Plane Tree

London plane trees (Platanus x acerifolia) range from 75 to 100 feet in height and 60 to 75 feet in width. Hardy in zones 4 to 8, this Platanaceae family member prefers moist, humusy soils in full sun positions. Dark brown bark sloughs off to reveal a cream-colored inner bark. Older trees typically feature mottled bark patterns. The deep green leaves change to non-showy, yellow-brown shades in the fall. Clusters of tiny flowers appear in April, with the female trees displaying red flowers and the male trees blooming yellow flowers. The female trees also produce pairs of fuzzy brown fruiting balls that mature in October. Canker, anthracnose and Japanese beetles occasionally affect this tree. The London plane tree makes a nice ornamental tree for larger lawns and gardens.

Japanese Apricot

The Japanese apricot tree (Prunus mume) belongs in the Rosaceae plant family and reaches up to 20 feet in both height and spread. These ornamental trees naturally occur in south Japan and generally grow well in USDA Zones 6 to 9. Japanese apricots like well-drained, loamy or acidic soils that receive full sun. Fragrant, pink blossoms with yellow stamens appear from February through March. The edible, yellow or green apricots mature in the summer. This apricot variety occasionally suffers with brown rot, bacterial canker and aphid infestations. Gardeners often plant Japanese apricot trees along patios, walkways or decks.


The persimmon tree (Diospyros virginiana) originated in the eastern regions of the United States and thrives in USDA zones 4 to 9. This fruit tree reaches heights of up to 60 feet with spreads up to 35 feet. The persimmon tree blooms white to yellow-green blossoms in May and June, followed by edible, orange, red or purple fruits that ripen in the autumn. Persimmon trees also bear thick, gray bark and shiny, green leaves that turn yellow-green in the fall. Leaf spot sometimes occurs. This tree tolerates various soil conditions, but prefers sandy, moist soils in partly to fully sunny locations. Gardeners often use the ornamental persimmon tree in landscapes and fruit gardens.