Sure, growing and maintaining a beautiful garden during the spring, summer and autumn is a piece of cake… you have the warm temperatures and sunny skies on your side. Once the winter season rolls around, it can feel impossible or useless to keep up with all your hard gardening work. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are actually quite a few beautiful trees (and other plants – check out upcoming blogs) that thrive during the winter’s harsh cold weather and improve your winter landscape. Their bare branches can produce beautiful red flowers or white blooming clusters of showy blooms.
Here is a list of our favorite winter blooming trees and flowering trees:
Japanese Magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora), is a deciduous shrub (sheds its leaves annually) or small tree that is of Japanese origins, even though it is not native to Japan. It also known as Mulan magnolia, Purple magnolia, Red magnolia, Lily magnolia, Tulip magnolia, Jane magnolia, saucer magnolia and Woody-orchid. One of our favorite winter blooming trees for it’s saucerlike flowers that bloom in winter and elegant look . The Japanese magnolia only grows to be around 13 feet tall and it is a prominent bloomer during the very late winter and early spring months. It can sporadically rebloom through the summer.
Its incredible eye-catching, goblet-shaped, aromatic pink and purple blossoms are about 3 inches tall and grow profusely before its large, 8 inch long and 4 inch wide leaves bud. The Japanese magnolia prefer full sun and has been known to survive winter temperatures as low as -4°F. This makes it a great small tree to be grown across all of the United States in USDA growing zones 4-8.
Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) is a deciduous beauty which thrives in the early spring months and can grow up to 30 feet tall and 35 feet wide at mature size. However, the typical size is more like 15 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide across. This genus of about 30-60 species of woody plants is classified in the Cornaceae family. When many other trees are hibernating during the winter, the flowering Dogwood shows off its canopy of snow white flowers or pink flowers. It is often accompanied by a host of small, red fruits with new leaves unfolding for 2-3 weeks.
Perfect Plant’s offers 2 varieties of the dogwood. Pick your bloom color(pink or white)! This early spring bloomer is a great option as a specimen tree or used in a background. Flowering Dogwoods prefer well-drained but moist soil and part shade in the south and full sun in the north. Although any stress could make dogwoods susceptible to disease, established trees are tolerant of normal dry periods. However they will need supplemental watering during extreme droughts. As if you’re not completely sold on this beautiful tree, let’s not forget that its lightly colored, green 3-6 inch long leaves will turn red and purple in the autumn months. One of our favorite trees that bloom in winter for fall color.
Cherry Tree (Prunus campanulata) also knows as Taiwan cherry, Formosan cherry or bellflowered cherry, is a small, deciduous tree with a maximum height and width of 25 feet. This cultivar not only thrives in the winter but demands the cool temperatures as a sufficient chill period. It is necessary for the tree to develop healthy bud-bursts, as well as flowering and small 1/8 inch cherries which ripen to a black color. In early spring, an opulence of showy, inch-sized, bell-shaped flowers. These flowers appear nearly neon pink, fragrant, and in clusters of 2-6 buds. They appear before the leaves come in late spring and summer. Leaves turn bronze in autumn.
Considered by many to be the most beautiful of the flowering cherries, the Taiwan cherry is an outstanding tree for a Japanese style winter garden or simply as a specimen anywhere early spring flowers are desired. The Taiwan cherry does best in full sun but will tolerate shade. It requires regular watering and will tolerate heat better than other flowering cherry varieties. Unfortunately, Taiwan cherry seldom lives more than 10-15 years.
Snowdrift Crabapple (Malus x ‘Snowdrift’), classified in the Rosaceae family, is a vibrant fruit tree that loves to show off its red-orange fruit and gorgeous white/yellow flowers during the first winter months. The flowering period lasts throughout early spring. The snowdrift crabapple has luscious and glossy dark green leaves that remain full and bright, while other plants dwindle away and die when the cold temperatures set in.
The snowdrift crabapple is best grown in sunny locations with good air circulation. They have no particular soil preferences, other than prefering well-drained soil. It is well adapted to compacted urban soil, tolerates drought and poor drainage well – is also somewhat tolerate of salt spray. It is a very adaptable tree for urban landscapes. Do not over fertilize since this could increase the incidence of disease.