13 Southern flowering trees you can grow in your home garden

13 Southern flowering trees you can grow in your home garden

At any time of year, a southern arbor full of colorful buds is a sure way to make a statement in your landscape. Soft pink cherry blossoms or gorgeous ivory magnolia flowers will make neighbors stop at a dead end every time they pass by. Flowering trees celebrate the arrival of spring or add much-needed color in the summer when your perennials are taking a break. Many also create a more vibrant garden by attracting birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Some trees bear fruit, others exude a sweet fragrance that makes sitting on the porch a pleasure. Here are 13 beautiful flowering trees we recommend planting in the South.

Crepe myrtle

Rob Cardillo
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Lagerstroma index
  • Sun exposure: Full
  • Soil type: Well drained
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic (6.0-6.5)

These resilient flowering trees are a no-brainer in most parts of the South. They like a sunny environment and thrive in the Upper, Middle, Lower South and Coastal growing zones. Once established, drought-tolerant crape myrtles bloom in the heat of summer in shades of purple, pink, red or white. They have attractive peeling bark in winter. Depending on the variety, these trees can grow from 6 to 30 feet tall.

Flowering dogwood

Ralph Anderson
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Stylized horn
  • Sun exposure: Complete, partial
  • Soil type: Well-drained, moist, sandy, loamy
  • Soil pH: Acidic to neutral (5.5-7.0)

There are many species of dogwood, but none is as popular in the South as the flowering dogwood. Native to the eastern United States from New England to central Florida, the flowering dogwood is the state flower of North Carolina and Virginia. The spring flowers of this small tree are usually white, although you may occasionally spot pink and red variations. Birds enjoy the red fruits in the fall, when the leaves turn a beautiful burgundy color. If you live in an area with hot summers, cover the tree well and provide protection from the afternoon sun.

South Magnolia

Southern living
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Magnolia grandiflora
  • Sun exposure: Complete, partial
  • Soil type: Well-drained, moist, loamy, clay-rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic (5.0-6.0)

The huge flowers of the southern magnolia have become an iconic symbol of the region. It’s the state flower of Mississippi and Louisiana, and for good reason – this evergreen magnolia dazzles all year round. The late spring flowers are wonderfully fragrant and are borne between the leaves as opposed to the ends of the branches. In winter, the leathery leaves are decorated with conical seed pods that are very popular in flower arrangements. Wild trees may grow to 80 feet tall, but you can find cultivars bred for more compact spaces.

Japanese flowering cherry

Southern living
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Saw plum
  • Sun exposure: Full
  • Soil type: Drain well, lomi, sandy
  • Soil pH: Acidic to neutral (5.0-7.5)

Although the cherry blossom season is fleeting, lasting for about a month each spring, you can’t doubt the stunning beauty of this tree. The fragrant pink or white flowers also make beautiful branch arrangements. Plant Japanese flowering cherries in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8 in well-drained, moist, loamy soil in full sun. This small deciduous tree is available in widespread, vase-shaped and bucky-shaped forms, all of which are eye-catching.

Eastern redbud

Michael P. Gadomski/Getty
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Canadian departments
  • Sun exposure: Complete, partial
  • Soil type: Well drained, moist, loamy, sandy, clay, rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic, neutral, alkaline (6.5-8.0)

Before its leaves arrive, the red buds burst into small, sweet pea-shaped flowers. They range in color from lavender-pink to pink-purple, and appear on twigs, branches and even the main trunk. Bees and butterflies feed on nectar or heart-shaped leaves. The bean-like pods appear after the flowers and persist until winter. Redbud thrives in full sun or partial shade, and often grows as a small tree in the wild. Some modern cultivars have golden, red, or weeping-shaped leaves. Redbuds can grow in all but the southern tropical regions and tolerate almost any average soil, but should be watered during hot, dry weather.

Jacaranda

Claver Carroll/Getty
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Jacaranda memosifuela
  • Sun exposure: Full
  • Soil type: Well drained, rich, sandy
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (6.5-7.0)

If you live in the tropical south, you may have noticed these huge trees with fern leaves and countless trumpet-shaped lavender blossoms. Jacaranda plants prefer sandy soil but will not flower if planted in the path of ocean winds. This sun-loving tree is hardy enough to thrive along your streets or driveway but will litter the ground with its beautiful blooms. Jacarandas are hardy in frost-free areas and may lose their leaves briefly in winter.

Chaste tree

vsanderson/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: The chaste vine of the lamb
  • Sun exposure: Full
  • Soil type: Well-drained, sandy, clay
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (6.0-7.0)

Plant a chaste tree in the spring and watch this fast-growing tree flourish, growing up to 7 feet per season. In fact, they can be cut to the ground and then reemerge to bloom the following summer. This plant, which can be grown as a spreading shrub or trained as a single or multi-stemmed tree, blooms in shades of violet, blue or pink. The chaste tree doesn’t need much watering once established, making it a low-maintenance plant that attracts pollinators. It can be grown in zones 6-9, but may temporarily die to the ground in harsh winters.

serviceberry

Courtesy of Pinterest
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Amelanchier arborea
  • Sun exposure: Complete, partial
  • Soil type: Well-drained, moist
  • Soil pH: Acidic to neutral (6.0-7.0)

You can grow the mulberry tree throughout the tropical South for beautiful flowers and fruit in early spring. The fruit, which is about the size of a blueberry, changes from green to red and finally to black as it ripens in early summer – the reason behind this tree’s common name is raspberry. Although humans don’t commonly eat this fruit, birds love the small fruits, so you’ll have plenty of feathered friends if you decide to grow this native fruit in your garden. Plant it in moist but well-drained soil and prune the suckers to maintain the beautiful shape of this small, multi-stemmed tree.

Fringe tree

Richeshan/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Chionanthus virginicus
  • Sun exposure: Complete, partial
  • Soil type: Well-drained, moist, loamy, clay
  • Soil pH: Acidic to neutral (6.0-7.0)

Also known as Old Man’s Beard, this small tree has smooth bark and features fringed white flowers on its bare branches before the first leaves appear. After flowering, look for blackberries, which attract birds. Autumn foliage is yellow. You can train marginal trees to have a single trunk or multiple trunks. Remember to maintain constant watering as this tree does not tolerate drought. This native can be grown throughout the tropical south.

Washington Hawthorn

Sandra Standbridge/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Crataegus fenopyrum
  • Sun exposure: Full
  • Soil type: Well-drained, moist
  • Soil pH: Acidic to slightly alkaline (5.0-8.0)

This medium-sized, round tree is prized for its clusters of fragrant white flowers in mid-to-late spring and its year-round features. The Washington hawthorn is also very tolerant of most soil types, even clay. During cool fall and winter weather, expect to see bright red berries and orange, red and purple foliage. This tree is enjoyed by native wildlife from hummingbirds and butterflies to caterpillars and cedar waxwings. Keep in mind that many species of this species have sharp spines, hence their name. Plant it in zones 4-8.

Tulip poplar

Photo/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Liriodendron tulipifera
  • Sun exposure: Complete, partial
  • Soil type: Well-drained, moist
  • Soil pH: Acidic to neutral (4.5-7.5)

Enjoy the spring bloom of this tulip tree, also known as the tulip poplar or yellow poplar, which features large, greenish-yellow, cup-shaped flowers. This native grows in most southern climates except the tropics. These trees are a member of the magnolia family (Magnoliaceae) and can reach 70 to 90 feet tall. Since trees are large and messy, plant them a good distance from your home. Tulip poplar trees attract a lot of wildlife and are a host plant for some swallowtail butterflies.

Magnolia bowl

Nikkorzenko/Getty Images
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Magnolia x solangiana
  • Sun exposure: Complete, partial
  • Soil type: Well-drained, moist, organically rich
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic (5.5-6.5)

The large, lavender-shaped flowers on the bare branches of the saucer magnolia are a welcome sight in spring. This small shrub tree can be grown in Zones 4-9 in well-drained but moist, acidic, organically rich soil. It can eventually spread to 30 feet tall and wide, depending on the variety. Magnolias are very popular, with flowers that bloom in white, pink, pink, purple, lilac or burgundy. Do not plant it in an exposed area in the south, as this may cause this tree to flower early and lose its petals due to frost.

Bottle brush

Getty/DigiPop
  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Callistimon spp.
  • Sun exposure: Full
  • Soil type: Well drained
  • Soil pH: Acidic (5.0-6.5)

Gardeners in southern coastal and tropical regions can enjoy the crimson-red flowers of bottlebrush. Hummingbirds also love these evergreen Australian plants, which come in upright or weeping forms and can be trained into a tree or shrub form. The soft willow branches bear red flower spikes on their tips in the warm months. Bottlebrush prefers well-drained soil and is drought tolerant once established.

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