By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Growing flowering trees or shrubs may seem like an impossible dream in USDA plant hardiness zone 3, where winter temperatures can sink as low as -40 F. (-40 C.). However, there are several flowering trees that grow in zone 3, which in the United States includes areas of North and South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and Alaska. Read on to learn about a few beautiful and hardy zone 3 flowering trees.
Here are some popular flowering trees for zone 3 gardens:
Prairiflower Flowering Crabapple (Malus ‘Prairifire’) – This small ornamental tree lights up the landscape with bright red blossoms and maroon leaves that eventually mature to deep green, then puts on a display of bright color in autumn. This flowering crabapple grows in zones 3 through 8.
Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) – Small but mighty, this viburnum is a symmetrical, rounded tree with creamy white blossoms in spring and glossy red, yellow, or purplish foliage in autumn. Arrowwood viburnum is suitable for zones 3 through 8.
Scent and Sensibility Lilac (Lilac syringa x) – Suitable for growing in zones 3 through 7, this hardy lilac is greatly loved by hummingbirds. The fragrant blooms, which last from mid spring to early fall, are beautiful on the tree or in a vase. Scent and Sensibility lilac is available in pink or lilac.
Canadian Red Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) – Hardy in growing zones 3 through 8, Canadian Red chokecherry provides year-round color, beginning with showy white flowers in spring. The leaves turn from green to deep maroon by summer, then bright yellow and red in autumn. Fall also brings loads of deliciously tart berries.
Summer Wine Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolious) – This sun-loving tree displays dark purple, arching foliage that lasts throughout the season, with pale pink flowers that bloom in late summer. You can grow this ninebark shrub in zones 3 through 8.
Purpleleaf Sandcherry (Prunus x cistena) – This small ornamental tree produces sweet-smelling pink and white flowers and eye-catching reddish-purple leaves, followed by deep purple berries. Purpleleaf sandcherry is suitable for growing in zones 3 through 7.
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The tree was introduced by Dr. Daniel Dayton, University of Illinois, in 1982 as a disease-resistant cultivar. His misspelling of the name was intentional.
Crabapple trees are actually members of the rose family, Rosaceae. As with roses, there is a never-ending desire to develop a new form and give it a fanciful name. This has resulted in approximately 800 cultivars of crabapples.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization. A million members, donors, and partners support our programs to make our world greener and healthier.
Do you live in a warmer climate? Are you searching for flowering trees to liven up your landscape? You’ve come to the right place. I’m going to provide a list of gorgeous trees that will brighten up the dullest of yards.
Don’t worry about scorching temperatures. These trees should produce beautifully even under hotter conditions.
Planting flowering trees is a wonderful, and frugal, way of revitalizing your home. Here are some choices for flowering trees in planting zones seven and higher.
When you think of warmer climates, you may also think of citrus trees. I love the idea of planting gorgeous trees in my yard which also function.
Citrus trees can do both. They produce beautiful blooms throughout the year, depending upon variety, and also delicious fruit. If you want beautiful trees to bloom and produce something edible, consider growing any variety of citrus. Most citrus trees are hardy in zones nine through eleven.
I live in planting zone eight, and we have an abundance of sourwood on our property. If you raise bees, as we do, you’ll learn to appreciate such a tree. As the bees harvest from the tree, you’ll get sourwood honey in return. It’s a delicious treat.
However, if you’d only like the tree for aesthetic purposes, it can provide in this way as well. It can grow to be thirty feet in height, and it produces bell-shaped blooms which hang down from the foliage. The foliage is used for making tea as well. This tree is hardy in planting zones five through nine.
Dogwoods have many varieties, but they’re gorgeous trees which seem to fit in well with most landscapes.
Their bloom color varies by type, but it’s common to see them in white or pink. They’re also known for being hardy from planting zone three through eight.
The chitalpa tree is one which is sure to standout in your yard. To begin, it looks like any other tree with dark green foliage.
However, when it blooms, it can’t help but grab your attention. The tree produces flowers which look similar to a hibiscus bloom. This tree is hardy in planting zones six through nine.
The redbud tree is a traditional favorite when it comes to flowering trees. It can grow to be approximately thirty feet and does well in partial to full sun.
Yet, you can’t help but notice this tree when blooming because it lights up everything around it with it’s bright reddish, pinkish blooms. It’s also one of the first things to bloom in spring. This tree is hardy in planting zones four through nine.
This behemoth of a tree was made for southern climates. It can handle sandy soil and mild flooding. It will begin to produce large magnolia flowers in spring and summer.
However, be aware that this tree can grow to be anywhere from sixty to eighty feet tall. It’s also hardy in planting zones six through ten.
This flowering tree will put on a display of color all year long. It starts its display in the spring when it produces pink or red blooms.
When summer rolls around the foliage becomes a rich green color with accents. It finishes the year up with a golden color in the fall. It’s also disease resistant. This could be a great choice if you reside in planting zones three through eight.
Have you ever seen a giant holly tree? Chances are it was an American holly tree. It grows to be almost fifty feet tall.
However, it catches many people’s eye because of the white blooms it forms which eventually turn into bright red berries. If you’d like this decorative giant around your home, it would be a good choice in planting zones five through nine.
I’m from the south. Therefore, it’s no wonder I’m partial to crape myrtle. There are many varieties which allow the plant to take different shapes and form a multitude of bloom colors.
It’s also great for withstanding hot temperatures while still producing gorgeous colors. Crape myrtles like humidity and can even tolerate drought. If you live in planting zones six through ten, this could be a great choice for you.
The horse chestnut tree is also known as the buckeye tree. This tree works well in a variety of settings.
It will produce spikes of colorful blooms which protrude from the tree during the middle of spring. They do best in full sun but can thrive in planting zones three through eight.
The firecracker plant is also known as a red buckeye. This shouldn’t be confused with the buckeye tree mentioned earlier. This is a smaller tree which is sometimes referred to as a shrub because it only grows to be approximately twenty-five feet in height.
The plant blooms in spring, and you can’t help but notice it. They produce spikes which stick out of the tree and have heavy, red blooms which hang down. This plant is a great candidate for planting zones ten and higher.
Mimosa trees are gorgeous but must be planted with care. They’re considered invasive in certain areas and this should be taken into consideration prior to planting.
However, if you’re cleared to make them a part of your landscape, you should enjoy their beauty. They produce bright, fluffy flowers in late spring and early summer. This flowering tree does well in planting zones six through ten.
This tree is breath-takingly gorgeous. It begins with foliage similar to that of a fern. Over the summer, the tree produces red flowers with an orange tint.
If you’d love a unique and colorful tree, this could be a great choice for you. Royal poinciana grows best in planting zones ten through twelve.
The royal empress tree is another large tree which demands your attention when in bloom. It begins producing bell-shaped, purple flowers during the spring.
However, it does take the tree five or more years to begin producing these gorgeous blossoms. If you have room for a larger tree, consider growing the royal empress. It does best in planting zones seven through ten.
We complete this list with a tree which doesn’t necessarily flower, but it’s foliage is a wonderful addition to many warmer landscapes.
The sago palm tree is a petite plant which isn’t even a palm tree. It produces rich green fronds that provide a tropical feel. If you’re looking for a tropical plant that provides color all year long, this tree could be a great fit if you live in planting zones nine and ten.
These are fifteen flowering trees which grow well in the warmer planting zones. Some assume living in cold climates is a huge hurdle.
However, planting things where the temperatures become unbearably hot can prove challenging as well. Hopefully this list will inspire a landscape, around your home, that will be functional while providing beauty.
Story by Michael Rosen, RPF
Photos by Daniel Tigner
Flowering trees are by definition deciduous trees – trees with leaves (as opposed to needles). Evolution has allowed deciduous trees to produce true flowers, which produce fruits. In conifers, the “flowers” are called strobili. The following list is a choice of native flowering trees which represent the province or territory that they are from in Canada. Many of these trees can be grown far from where they are naturally found.
Plant hardiness Zone: 2
Appearing in early June, when the leaves are about half-grown, the small, white flowers of the pin cherry are a reminder that warm temperatures and sunny days are on their way. Found from B.C. to Newfoundland, this medium sized (12-metre) but fast growing tree with its smooth, shiny and interesting bark is a natural for homeowners. A shade intolerant (meaning light-loving) tree, the pin cherry’s seed can live for many years in forest soils before germinating, abundantly producing a bright-red, edible fruit from July to August.
Plant hardiness Zone: 3
As the new leaves appear in May, the whitish-pink, showy and fragrant flowers are a beautiful welcome to summer. Canada plum occurs naturally from southern Manitoba to southern New Brunswick. It is known for its reddish yellow, 3-cm fruit that ripens in early September. These small trees (up to nine 9 metres) grow in clumps in river valleys and fence rows. They do well in high lime content soils. A wonderful tree!
Plant hardiness Zone: 3
Nothing says spring is coming like the noticeably red flowers of the red maple. Appearing in late winter long before the leaves, the small flowers persist until mid-May after which they drop en-mass. A smooth-barked tree when young, forming rough plates when mature, this large (25-metre) red-twigged tree’s leaves turn a beautiful crimson red in the fall. Found naturally in southern Ontario, Québec and the Atlantic provinces, it is eastern Canada’s true “red maple”.
Plant hardiness Zone: 3
A small (10-metre) understory tree, the dogwood is great as an ornamental and wildlife tree. The beautiful yet small white rounded cluster of flowers form after the foliage expands, generally in late June. With its interesting leaves, which turn red in autumn, the spreading horizontal tiers it forms, its alternate buds (all other dogwoods are opposite) it does justice to its name, “pagoda”. It forms blue berries on red stalks in mid-summer thus furthering its interest and appeal to gardeners.
Plant hardiness Zone: 3
Black cheery is a forest giant at 22 metres high (72 feet). It is unsurpassed for the beauty of its flowers, fruit and distinct bark. Fast-growing when young, the bark goes from smooth and shiny (like pin cherry) to large, black plates with age. With a beautiful flower some 10 to 15 cm long, appearing in early summer after the leaves reach full size, this tree grows on a wide variety of soils and is generally intolerant of shade (sun-loving).
Plant hardiness Zone: 5
It’s hard to believe that we can grow tulip trees in Canada, but we can in the temperate Carolinian forest in Ontario’s southwest corner. With its large showy, yellow, tulip-like flower, cut-top leaf, cone-like aggregate fruit and changing bark (green and white stripes when young, deep ridges when mature), this tree is a large (35-metre) standout for any landscape.
Plant hardiness Zone: 2
Nannyberry is a shrubby tree, attractive to wildlife. With its round-topped clusters of white flowers and its bluish-black edible fruit, the tree is a popular one, especially for attracting birds and providing distinction in the garden. Found naturally from Manitoba to New Brunswick.
Plant hardiness Zone: 1
Historically significant Saskatoon berries were an integral part of the First Nation’s recipe for pemmican (buffalo meat). This small tree (four metres) produces a white fragrant flower as its leaves unfold in early summer. The most common native species of serviceberry west of Manitoba, Saskatoon berry will tolerate dry sites where it forms multiple stems and clusters of trees.
Plant hardiness Zone: 3
Although not the most showy flower (a six-cm long catkin resembling the birches), the beaked hazel is worth planting for its small (one-cm) but edible nuts and its shrubby form which fits in well in smaller lots and areas where larger trees are not a possibility. It grows across Canada from British Columbia to Newfoundland.
A multi-stemmed and shrubby tree, the 10-metre high blueberry elder is the largest of Canada’s elders, preferring to grow on dry open sites with stony or gravely soils. This shrub is best known for its flowers and fruit. It has large compound leaves and light brown-reddish bark. It grows in southwestern B.C. and Vancouver Island. The spectacular creamy white flat-topped flower appears in mid-summer after the leaves are fully-grown. The fruit, which ripen in early autumn, are bluish-black, resembling blueberries. The berries are quite sweet and attractive to birds.
Plant hardiness Zone: 1
Sitka mountain ash is a six-metre (20 feet) high, shrubby, tree. It grows on disturbed sites in southern Yukon, British Columbia and inland western Alberta. Reaching the alpine tree line, its clusters of small (one-cm) flowers eventually form red, orange or purple fruits in clusters 10 cm across. Sitka ash has a rounded crown and smooth, light gray bark.
Plant hardiness Zone: 0
Many think that the tamarack needle could have replaced the maple leaf on Canada’s flag. The tamarack is found in every province and territory in the country. It belongs to the only group of conifers (the larches) that lose their needles in winter. A large tree at 25 metres (82 feet) tall, it normally grows in bogs and fens as it appreciates a moist, but well-drained soil. Although being a conifer it does not have a true “flower”. Its red conelets formed in mid-summer are strikingly beautiful, if not showy.
Plant hardiness Zone: 0
The southwestern corner of Canada’s newest territory contains a variety of vegetation similar to its neighbours. Although Nunavut does not have a territorial tree, a good choice would be the balsam poplar. This poplar has wonderfully perfumed buds in springtime. The largest tree in Nunavut, it reaches 25 metres (82 feet) in some locations. The flowers of the balsam poplar are long, 10-centimtre catkins. A great shelterbelt tree, the balsam poplar is fast-growing and likewise grows right across Canada.
by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
Flowering trees are among the most prized specimens of the yard, making a bold statement that heralds the return of Spring. Trees form the backbone of the landscape, but flowering trees add pizazz to a yard in a way few plants can match.
“A true conservationist is a man who knows the world is not given by his fathers but borrowed from his children,” famously quoted by John James Audubon. The same idea is shared by gifting trees into the future, enjoyed by the next generations as much as ours.
Reminder – The central highlands of Arizona is a growing zone 7 or 8 and below. Here’s my list of flowering trees planted now.
Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora Zone 6-9) is an exceptionally bright native tree that provides the perfect focal point for a natural garden. Add to landscapes for hardy, vigorous carefree autumn color. Clusters of fragrant white flowers give way to small fruits often used in jams and jellies. Vital to wildlife and bird gardens that feed upon its delicious fruit.
Cleveland Flowering Pear(Pyrus calleryana Zone 5-8) has a distinctive form hardy enough for street or sideyard planting. Clusters of gleaming white blooms showoff in early spring, followed by glossy green foliage. Flowering pear is the last tree to turn brilliant red-orange, usually in December.
Oklahoma Redbud(Cercis canadensis Zone 6-9) is an impressive native valued for its profusion of vibrant purple-red flowers that cloak bare branches that bridge the gap between winter and spring! Lustrous heart-shaped foliage emerges on this 15′ tree with a soft pink tinge as the flowers fade then matures to a rich green.
Prairefire Crabapple(Malus Zone 4-8) is an easy-to-grow accent tree that can be used as a single specimen for curb appeal or in the back, where you may enjoy its seasonal changes. An excellent habitat and food source for birds and butterflies. Its dark fruit is very decorative. There is nothing more beautiful than a gateway flanked with flowering Crabapple or a long run of them up the driveway for a large-scale display. Perfect for country and cottage gardens to achieve that old-fashioned romantic character.
Rose of Sharon(Hibiscus syriacus Zone 5-8) is thought of by many homeowners as being a small flowering tree. In mountain landscapes, it’s usually classified as a large flowering shrub. When grown as a small tree, it tops out at about 10 feet with a spread of about 7 feet. It is a long bloomer from June until October. Plant this flowering tree as a complement to those that bloom in spring and early summer. Rose of Sharon is most often used in hedges and foundations plantings or grouped in mass in shrub borders.
Royal Star Magnolia(Magnolia stellata Zone 4-8) Star magnolia tree is one of the first trees to bloom in spring. Its white flowers open before the foilage forms at a time when most other trees are just starting to bud. The Royal Star is smaller than saucer magnolias, reaching 15 feet with a similar spread. Star magnolias make up for their smaller stature with a sheer volume of blooms.
Smoke Tree(Cotinus coggygria Zone 5-8) is also referred to as “smoke bush” because it can be either a large shrub or a small tree. Any size produces a “smoking” cluster of fuzzy flowers that float atop the plant. The smoke tree attains a height of 10-12′ feet with a spread of 10 feet very drought hardy and deer resistant.
Thundercloud Purple Leaf Plum(Prunus cerasifera Zone 4-9) This ornamental cherry produces light pink flowers in April. An added bonus with this flowering tree is its thunderous purple foliage that is both deer and javelina resistant. Its best season is spring for its flowers just before the new reddish-purple leaves. In Autumn, the spectacle returns with another show of reddish-purple leaves. Large enough to use as a single front-yard tree or lining long driveways and gates
The second week in March 1962, Harold Watters opened the first garden center in Northern Arizona. 59 years later, we still celebrate the grand opening with a Spring Open House. Consider this a personal invitation to join the celebration March 12-14. We start at 3 pm Friday with a happy hour, only with plants. Saturday the 13th local gardeners can talk directly with our growers fresh from the fields. Sunday, Lisa and I host our weekly radio show, then spend the rest of the day sharing local garden secrets. Join us for the start of the spring planting season.
Until next week, I’ll be helping locals plant the perfect trees here at Watters Garden Center.
Another low-growing evergreen shrub, the Rose Daphne reaches a height of only 1 foot. In the spring, fragrant pink blossoms that bloom a second time in the summer, cover this shrub.
Some shrubs tolerate long gaps in watering when the rain does not fall or the gardener forgets to water them. These plants grow well in dry locations and tolerate drought. It blooms with large, yellow-centered white blossoms marked with magenta. Blue Skies lilac (Syringa vulgaris “Monore”) blooms well in areas with mild winters, producing clusters of lavender-blue flowers in the spring without winter chilling. This deciduous shrub grows well in USDA zones 3 through 8, reaching 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. This evergreen reaches 6 to 12 inches tall and wide and sports yellow-orange spring flowers and silvery black berries in the autumn. These are places where young trees cast more shade as they grow over time. Shrubs that tolerate poor soil grow well in sandy and clay soils. For example, purple rock rose (Cistus x purpureus) tolerates poor soil and drought with little care. It is hardy in USDA zones 8 through 10.