There are many different types of trees that you can grow in the UK, among the most popular are flowering trees. You will probably know that by and large trees, fall into two categories: deciduous trees and evergreen trees. Both types of trees can produce flowers, but the type and variety of flower will depend on the tree itself. This guide explores all there is to know about flowering trees. Buy now for FREE UK delivery.
If you're looking for the most popular flowering trees you have come to the right place.
Flowering trees are eye-catching when in bloom and can transform your garden into a colourful paradise.
Flowers come in many different forms, some produce showy flowers, others have catkins or nuts (like acorns).
Fruit trees like apple trees or pear trees produce flowers before they fruit.
Before deciding what tree you want, you will need to think about the following;
How much space do you have (can your garden accommodate a large tree?)
Have you got a colour theme in your garden?
How quickly do you want the tree to grow?
What type of tree do you want? Do you want weeping branches, large clusters of flowers etc.
Answering these questions will help you narrow down your selection.
Trees flower at different times of the year, typically you will find spring flowering trees and summer flowering trees.
Examples of spring flowering trees are;
Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
Witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis)
Smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria)
Red chestnut (Aesculus x carnea)
Horsechestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum)
There are of course many other flowering trees that flower in spring and late spring. The smoke tree produces a very unusual bloom that is like plumes of smoke - it is often a large flowering shrub or a small tree.
Like fruit trees, the chestnut trees flower before presenting their nuts.
Speaking of fruit trees, many trees producing edible fruit tend to flower in the early summer.
Summer flowering trees look amazing when in bloom, showcasing a diverse range of flowers in the hot summer sun.
Examples of summer flowering trees are;
Crape myrtle trees
Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
Flowering cherry trees
Some trees are late bloomers and produce a wonderful floral display in the late summer.
If you're looking for beautiful blossoms or an eye-catching floral display, then you can't go wrong with a specimen tree.
These types of flowering tree are normally the focal point of a garden and are especially unusual or showy.
Examples of these flowering trees are:
Kwanzan cherry tree - amazing pink flowers
Royal star magnolia - pure white flowers
White Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) - a white flowering tree/large shrub
Fringe tree - white blossoms
Even having one tree in a small garden can set your small spaces apart.
In the UK, it can sometimes be difficult to grow trees that flower as most trees require well drained soil and full sun.
Flowering varieties of cherry trees are popular because they grow well pretty much everywhere (including low hardiness zones).
They also come in all shapes and sizes. You can find cherry tree in the following categories;
Larger tree/small tree
Large shrub/small shrub/multi-stemmed shrub
Similar spread/large clusters
Range of colours.
If a tree that's correctly sized grows in a tiny garden or small spaces, it can be a delight - if it flowers it is an absolute joy.
For smaller gardens you might want to consider either a large shrub or a small tree.
Here are some examples of flowering trees perfect for smaller gardens;
Malus 'Rosehip' tree (crab apple tree)
Magnolia shrubs (large range of shrub varieties)
Prunus 'Snow Showers' (weeping deciduous tree)
Syringa 'Pink Perfume' tree (a dwarf lilac tree with pink flowers)
The beauty of small flowering tree varieties is that they are so diverse.
You can easily achieve a range of colours from creamy white flowers, purple flowers, rosy-pink flowers and with the crab apple trees, red fruit.
Ornamental trees are similar to specimen trees as they are often the focal point of your garden.
If you're looking for an ornamental tree you might want to consider;
Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Red Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) which has delicate vibrant red flowers
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
Mountain Ash (Sorbus americana) for lovely white blooms
Some types of flowering tree produce flowers for short bursts of time, while others stay in bloom for much longer.
If you're looking for a bloom that spans a longer duration of time you can't go wrong with;
Golden rain tree
The yellow elder is particularly good with bloom duration and can flower in early spring through to early autumn if well looked after.
As mentioned above, the yellow elder can bloom in early spring (although it prefers a late spring bloom).
There are trees that don't bloom as long but do prefer flowering in the early spring;
Wild plum trees
Most trees that flower at this time don't like frost covered ground so they might not be suitable for colder areas of the UK.
In colder climates you might find a tree flower in mid spring rather than earlier.
In the south of England, where there is moist well-drained soil, these trees truly flourish.
Another concern for tree growers is how long the tree will take to both establish and reach maturity.
Picking a fast-growing flowering tree will help you realise your garden vision sooner rather than later.
The fastest growing types of flowering tree are;
Sweet bay magnolia
All of these fast-growing flowering tree types will grow at different rates.
You will want to check how fast each tree grows and how that lines up with your garden goals before picking the best tree for your garden.
Without doubt the biggest attraction of a flowering tree is the colours that they offer.
Below we outline some of the most popular colours and trees that fall into each category.
Trees with white flowers can be utilised in a number of ways.
They can break up bursts of colour and provide colour boundaries as well as provide a neutral backdrop.
If you're recreating a tranquil garden or Japanese garden, creamy white flowers and snow-white flowers can provide the perfect meditative and serenity-based aesthetic.
Examples you may want to consider are;
Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa)
Flowering crab apple (Malus sutyzam)
Bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla)
The bigleaf magnolia also has exquisite foliage and large open shaped flowers. A deciduous tree that is native to the US, it will take a little bit more care to grow in the UK.
If you have a white flower backdrop, having red flowers interspliced in your garden can create a memorable and stylish aesthetic.
Red blooms tend to be sharp and showy, drawing the eye in and leaving your visitors in complete admiration.
Red blooms range from deep red hues to rosy-pink flowers - and for those who want a burst of red that tastes great too, you can opt for a red fruit tree.
Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp)
Royal poinciana tree (Delonix regia)
Nothing signals a happy space like a cluster of yellow flowers.
Yellow flowering trees offer a vibrancy that is often hard to achieve with other colours.
Golden rain tree
The trumpet vine is easily mistaken for a daffodil plant but is actually a shrub that grows well along fences, walls and even up against your property.
With most trees you will want to avoid planting it too close to your property as the root network can interfere with your foundations.
You don't need to avoid planting the trumpet vine close to other structures as the root network is smaller and non-intrusive.
We have covered some pink flower trees above but here we will look at both pink and purple floral blooms.
These colours add a richness and depth that can be hard to get with other colour types.
Pink can also be a more delicate colour to incorporate into your garden if you don't want your garden to become overpowering.
Japanese flowering cherry
We have covered the flowering trees that grow the fastest, but you may be wondering the rate of growth of some of the trees we mentioned.
When looking for a flowering tree that grows fast, you will also want to consider how many feet tall it will grow overall.
It will of course take a fast-growing flowering tree much longer to reach full size if it grows to a larger size overall.
Freeman's maple - grows up to 60 feet tall and grows a couple of feet each year
Tulip tree - grows up to 90 feet tall and grows a couple of feet each year
As you can see from this example, although both trees grow at a similar rate, the Freeman's maple will reach full size much quicker than the Tulip tree.
A tulip tree can be difficult to grow in the UK and you might find its growth rate hampered if summers are particularly hot - it is not very drought resistant at all.
There are so many popular flowering tree types in the UK, ranging from the Yoshino cherry to the eastern redbud.
You will probably need to pick wisely though, as there are a number of factors that come into play when growing flowering trees.
If you're looking for colour all year round you should select a tree with evergreen leaves. This means that while the tree isn't in bloom you have colour into the late winter.
The UK has some tricky growing conditions and trees that flower tend to prefer full sun conditions which can be hard to get unless you're in a full sun part of England.
Most trees that produce flowers also require proper pruning.
Whether you like red fruit or green fruit there will undoubtedly be an edible fruit tree for you.
If you have a large space to grow fruit trees in then the following tree types are ideal;
If you're feeling more adventurous, there are exotic fruits that have flowering trees.
It goes without saying that these fruits aren't native to the UK, and you will need to be extremely diligent when growing exotic fruit (normally needing a greenhouse or specialised environment with full sun and moist well-drained soil).
These make perfect small tree alternatives to the abovementioned larger trees.
They're a deciduous tree type so don't provide colour all year round.
They do however produce delicious mouth-watering fruits.
You might want to find a slow grower instead of a fast-growing flowering tree.
Examples of these are;
Crape myrtle trees
To wrap up this bouquet in a neat bow, let's look at small garden flowering trees.
If you're tight on space, these can add bursts of colour without overcrowding or being too imposing.
Examples of these are;
We hope you have found this article informative, and you have a much better idea about what type of flower producing tree you want.
Always consider your garden when picking a tree, including soil type, sun/shade aspects and the space available.