Someone once said that to plant a tree is to believe in the future, no matter how simple that tree may be. But when your tree provides striking spring flowers on top of its other attributes, the future is very bright indeed. These five flowering favorites brighten spring landscapes and keep on giving throughout the year:
For cool-climate gardeners that yearn for redbuds, this McKay introduction is the answer. Grown from our own Columbus, Wisconsin seed source, this tree explodes with fluorescent lavender flowers in early spring – before the dark green, heart-shaped leaves appear. Fall foliage is an attractive yellow. Perfect for full sun to partial shade locations, Columbus strain redbud reaches 12 to 20 feet tall and 15 to 18 feet wide. Redbuds provide important food for early pollinators. (Hardiness zones 4 through 9)
Typically grown as a small, multi-stemmed tree, this beautiful magnolia is ideal for a sunny location sheltered from wind. The large, fragrant, tulip-like flowers start as reddish-purple buds, then open to slender, purple-pink blooms with blush white interiors. Jane magnolia typically flowers a bit later in May than early magnolias – a big bonus in cool zones with late springs. This vigorous, upright tree grows 10 to 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. It also attracts butterflies and bees. (Hardiness zones 4 through 7)
Even without its flowers and fruit, this showy small tree is a beauty. Purple Prince offers attractive, cherry-like bark and purple-bronze foliage. The carmine-red flower buds open to bright rose-red in May, delighting butterflies and bees. Deep maroon, 1/2-inch fruit follows and persists into winter, providing food for birds and other wildlife, too. This disease-resistant crabapple does best in full sun and grows about 15 feet tall and wide. (Hardiness zones 4 through 8)
This ornamental pear doesn’t produce any fruit, but its striking white flowers put on one of spring prettiest shows in May. This low-maintenance tree has a distinctly pyramidal shape and dark, glossy-green foliage that turns brilliant red, orange and purple in fall. About 25 to 30 feet tall when mature, this outstanding flowering pear spans just 15 feet. (Hardiness zone 5 through 8)
It’s in the same plant genus as shrub lilacs, but Ivory Silk Japanese tree lilac offers very different attributes. This compact, low-maintenance tree flowers in June with dense, foot-long plumes of tiny, fragrant, creamy white blooms. Excellent for sunny, well-drained boulevards, Ivory Silk grows about 25 tall and 15 feet wide. It’s a favorite of butterflies and bees when in bloom. (Hardiness zones 3 through 8)
Express your belief in the future – and your landscape’s beauty – with a flowering tree this year. With 121 years in the business, McKay is Wisconsin’s largest and oldest nursery. Order plants online or stop in at Winterland Nursery, our Madison-area retail garden center. With McKay, you can shop with confidence, knowing you’re buying high-quality plants grown with expertise and care.