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27 Best Trees to Plant in Indiana: Common & Native Varieties


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While the Indiana climate is encompassed by a relatively low temperate range, falling under USDA hardiness zones 5 and 6, don’t let that fool you – there is a stunning number of tree species that grow prolifically throughout the state.

This region of the midwest is home to many native and introduced species that make up a varied and interesting ecosystem. This is excellent news for IN homeowners who want to establish new trees and plants on their property.

Here are some of the best trees to plant in Indiana that grow all over this subtropical state.

27 Common and Native Trees in Indiana

1. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

Eastern White Pine
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr

As the largest conifer native to the eastern US, the eastern white pine is a truly iconic evergreen tree in the American landscape. Despite belonging to the east, this pine tree is also native to Indiana and can be found growing wild in the west-central region of the state. It is also cultivated as a landscape tree and commercial crop.

Despite its height, this gentle giant has a number of uses in landscape gardening. It is most effective when used for privacy screening on larger properties, and can be planted as a shade tree or focal point. It grows quickly and has an average life span of 200 years.

The eastern white pine is easy to grow, but it has some needs that IN gardeners should take note of. It struggles to grow in clay soil and is intolerant of heat and air pollution. It needs plenty of space and acidic, well-draining soil in order to thrive.

Other Common Names: Northern White Pine, Soft Pine, North American White Pine, White Pine, Weymouth Pine

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 feet tall, with a 20-40 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Early Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

2. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

Known as the primary source of maple syrup in the United States, the sugar maple has played an important role in the culinary and commercial history of America. And who doesn’t want a piece of history in their backyard?

Whether you want to make your own maple syrup or you’re simply looking for an attractive ornamental, the sugar maple is a lovely choice for gardeners in Indiana. It can be found in every region of the state, so is well-suited to the IN climate. Its rounded, symmetrical crown and spectacular fall foliage will add balance and beauty to your property. It can even be grown as a shade tree, or in groupings to form a large hedge!

Despite its beauty, the sugar maple is not too delicate. Its wood is dense and hard, and it is tolerant of a range of harsh environmental factors such as heat, drought, and humidity.

Other Common Names: Northern Sugar Maple, Hard Maple, Leucoderme

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 feet tall, with a 30-45 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

3. American Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

American Pawpaw
Image by Wendell Smith via Flickr

A truly exceptional fruit tree, the American pawpaw is the largest edible native fruit in the US. Pawpaws are sweet and custardy and are steadily gaining popularity as a homegrown foodstuff.

Not to mention the tree itself offers several visually appealing qualities – its large, textured leaves are bright green and add an exotic, tropical-looking touch to the landscape, and in spring it produces dark purple bell-shaped flowers. It makes a fantastic specimen tree and works well as a street tree or a marker near the entrance of your property.

But the pawpaw is not without its problems – it has difficulty attracting pollinators, so it may need to be manually pollinated each season to ensure fruit production and typically at least 3 trees should be planted for cross-pollination purposes, which may be difficult for gardeners with limited space.

Its flowers also release a rather unpleasant, yeasty odor in spring to attract more pollinators.

Other Common Names: Pawpaw, Paw Paw, Paw-paw

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 feet tall, with a 15-foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) Fall Color and Flowers
Images via Fast-Growing-Trees, combined by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

It’s not hard to know if the tulip tree is worth growing in Indiana, considering that it has been the official state tree since 1931! It can be found growing wild throughout the state and is very visually distinctive due to its enormous height and unusual orange, green, and yellow tulip-shaped flowers.

A tree like this one, which regularly exceeds heights of 100 feet, needs plenty of space in the landscape. But if you can accommodate it, you’ll be rewarded tenfold. It is a beautiful tree with an upright growing habit and large bright green leaves that turn bright yellow in fall. Its balanced, symmetrical canopy provides lots of shade in summer, and it also works well planted along driveways and walkways.

The tulip tree should be planted in deep, moist, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH in a location with full sun exposure. Too much shade can stunt its growth and turn its leaves brown.

Other Common Names: Tulip Poplar, Tuliptree, Yellow Poplar, Canoewood, Lyre Tree, Canary Whitehood, Western Poplar, Whitewood, North American Whitewood, Fiddletree, Hickory-Poplar, Lynn-Tree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 70-130 feet tall, with a 30-60 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)

Allegheny Serviceberry
Image by Cranbrook Science via Flickr

A member of the rose family, the allegheny serviceberry is a lovely decorative tree and a relatively common sight in Indiana, where it can be seen growing in open woods, woodland margins, slopes, and roadside thickets.

It is a delicate species that grows naturally as a shrub and can be pruned to grow as a small multi-stemmed or single-trunk tree. The most arresting feature of this serviceberry tree is its profuse white spring blossoms, followed by its dark-purple, blueberry-like fruits. Its gray and white striped bark and multi-colored fall foliage also give it four seasons of interest.

Plant the allegheny serviceberry as an ornamental specimen or in groupings as a screen or hedge. It is adaptable to many soil types and prefers moist, well-draining soil with an acidic pH. It is highly intolerant of drought but otherwise grows easily with little need for upkeep once established.

Other Common Names: Juneberry, Smooth Shadbush, Smooth-leaved Serviceberry, Coastal Plain Serviceberry

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 feet tall, with a 15-20 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Late Spring to Early Summer

Available at: Nature Hills

6. American Elm (Ulmus americana)

American Elm Tree
Image by Graham Higgs via Flickr

The American elm can be found in many forested areas throughout Indiana and was once regularly cultivated as a street tree in the state. Its numbers decreased notably in the 1950s and 60s due to the spread of Dutch elm disease, but disease-resistant varieties have helped to restore its population and its popularity in landscape gardening.

This US native is an elegant addition to any landscape. Its growth habit is one of its most notable features, with branches that spread out and droop down in the shape of a fountain or vase. As well as a street tree it is an effective shade tree, and its yellow fall foliage and dark, textured bark add extra interest in the colder parts of the year.

This elm tree is hardly fussy about soil type and can grow in clay, loam, and sand. Prioritize consistently moist, well-draining soil and you’ll be off to a good start.

Other Common Names: Gray Elm, Water Elm, Common Elm, Soft Elm, White Elm

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 feet tall, with a 30-60 foot spread

Flowering Season: Late Winter to Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

7. American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

American Beech
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

As the only native beech tree in North America, the American beech is a singular species that is becoming increasingly popular with landscape gardeners and homeowners who want to add beneficial natives to their property. And this handsome beech is a good choice, providing both ornamental appeal and utility to the landscape.

Its most identifiable features are its ultra-smooth, light gray bark, muscular branches, and textured, rippling dark green leaves that turn an attractive golden-bronze in fall. Its canopy is rounded and spreads wide enough to make this beech an useful shade tree. They also make excellent specimen trees.

American beeches can sometimes reach over 100 feet tall, so make sure you choose a spot that can accommodate it. Deep, well-draining soil is most important – planting in shallow soil may result in shallow rooting which can cause havoc with nearby infrastructure.

Other Common Names: White Beech, Ridge Beech, Beechnut Tree, North American Beech

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 feet tall, with a 40-60 foot spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Pin Oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

A somewhat underrated landscaping tree, the pin oak can be found throughout Indiana, most notably in the southern glacial till plains according to the USDA government website.

It earns its name from the numerous thin twigs that grow from its branches. While not as famous as its cousins, the white oak and northern red oak, this tree has enormous potential for IN gardeners.

Rather than the imposing stature of the typical oak, the pin oak is slender and graceful with a full, rounded canopy in maturity. Its dark green lobed leaves turn a deep red and bronze color in fall, which is when it is at its most ornamental. It is best used as a shade tree, street tree, central focal point, or grown in a row as a visual barrier.

Plant the pin oak in moist, acidic, well-draining soil in full sun or partial shade. It will need little to no maintenance once established.

Other Common Names: Swamp Spanish Oak

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 feet tall, with a 40-50 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

9. Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Black Cherry Tree
Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

One of the most common fruit trees native to Indiana is the black cherry, which can be found growing wild in every county in the state. It is larger than most cultivated cherry varieties, reaching up to 80 feet tall in the wild!

With its pendulous branches and oval growth habit it works well as a shade tree, and it’s white flower clusters, dark purple berries, and yellow fall foliage all add plenty of visual interest.

The fruits of the black cherry are quite tart, but they go well in cooking, baking, and preserves. And of course, they attract many birds and insects who come to feast in summer and fall. But the most valuable part of the black cherry tree is its high-quality fine-grained wood which is used to make furniture, veneer, and more delicate objects like medical instruments.

For optimal flower and fruit production plant your black cherry tree in rich, moist, well-draining soil with full sun exposure.

Other Common Names: Wild Cherry, Wild Rum Cherry, Wild Black Cherry, Mountain Black Cherry

Growing Zones: 2-8

Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 feet tall, with a 30-60 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Summer

Available at: Nature Hills

10. Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Flowering Dogwood
Image by Arlington National Cemetery via Flickr

This stunning understory tree can be spotted throughout forested areas in Indiana and in many home landscapes.

Of course, the flowering dogwood is most recognizable in spring when it produces large clusters of flowers with showy, colorful bracts that closely resemble petals. Depending on the variety these flowers can come in shades of red, white, and pink. They are easily one of, if not the most beautiful of America’s native flowering trees.

Flowering dogwood trees offer four seasons of interest. In summer it presents dark, glossy leaves and brightly colored fruits, in fall its foliage turns an attractive reddish-bronze, and in winter its horizontal branching habit has a striking effect on the landscape.

Dogwood trees are most often used as specimens on lawns or beside patios. They also work well as a deciduous privacy screen due to their dense foliage and branching habit.

Other Common Names: Eastern Flowering Dogwood, American Box, False Box Wood, Common White Dogwood, North American Green Osier

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 feet tall, with a 15-30 foot spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

11. Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)

Shagbark Hickory
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

If you’re looking for a new addition to your home orchard or edible garden, the shagbark hickory could be a great option. It is a native of Indiana, found in savannas and woodlands throughout the state, and is often planted for its edible nuts and its ornamental qualities.

This native nut tree is tall and statuesque, with unique textured bark that peels away from its trunk in strips. It has a bold, showy canopy and dense foliage that provides plenty of shade in the hottest part of the year. In spring it produces delicious hickory nuts, the largest of any hickory species.

There are two points interested gardeners should know about the shagbark before purchasing: first, it can take 40 years to fruit, but grafting techniques can be employed (or grafted trees can be purchased) that will result in a much earlier harvest. And second, it will only produce in mast years, once every 2 or 3 years.

Other Common Names: Shagbark, Upland Hickory, Shellbark Hickory, Scalybark Hickory

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity:70-80 feet tall, with a 40-50 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Late Summer

Available at: Nature Hills

12. American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

American Sycamore Trees
Image by Puddin Tain via Flickr

A truly exceptional native tree, the American sycamore is one of the largest and longest-living trees in North America. It can be found in Indiana growing along waterways and floodplains and is most often used in landscaping as a shade tree, border tree, or a central focal point in larger landscapes.

With it’s serrated leaves, white, unevenly peeling bark, and spiky winter fruits, the American sycamore provides plenty of textural interest in every season. It is fast-growing and can live for up to 250 years.

This species has plenty of appealing qualities – one only needs to be wary of its shallow root system, which can damage infrastructure including pavements, sidewalks, and underground pipes. They also require a lot of cleanup in fall and winter.

Plant the American sycamore in moist, loamy, well-draining soil in a location with full sun.

Other Common Names: Sycamore, Buttonball Tree, Button Tree, Buttonwood, Eastern Sycamore, American Plane Tree, Planetree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 75-100 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Mid-Fall to Early Winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

13. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Eastern Redbud tree in bloom
Image by F Delventhal via Flickr

Another fantastic native tree is the eastern redbud, a flowering species that will look good in virtually any landscape. It is prized for its spring display of profuse vivid pink flowers that cover nearly every inch of its branches, adding a shock of color that lasts for weeks. In Indiana it can be seen growing wild along woodlands, streams, and thickets.

With its heart-shaped leaves that go from dark green to harvest yellow in fall, dark bark, and elaborate, sculptural branching habit, the eastern redbud looks good in every season. It is a perfect ornamental specimen but also looks good grown in groupings, particularly along streets, walkways, and water features such as ponds or streams.

The eastern redbud often grows as an understory tree, so it is tolerant of shade. However, full sun is recommended for optimal flower production. It is not picky about soil type but grows best in moist, well-draining soil.

Other Common Names: American Redbud, American Judas Tree, Judas Tree, Mexican Redbud, Texas Redbud

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall, with a 15-30 foot spread

Flowering Season: Mid to Late Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

14. Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)

Ohio Buckeye tree
Image via Nature Hills

Naturally this tree is most associated with Ohio, but the Ohio buckeye is also native to Indiana and can be seen growing as an understory tree in moist, forested areas of the state. It works very well as both a specimen or in small groupings, with a neat, rounded canopy and upright growth habit that adds a stately handsomeness to it’s surroundings. It also works very well as a shade tree.

The rich yellow flower panicles of the Ohio buckeye add extra beauty and texture as well as attracting useful pollinators to your garden. While the Ohio buckeye offers many benefits for IN gardeners, it has one notable downside – according to the NC State Gardener Extension the flowers, bark, and stem of the tree will release an unpleasant odor when crushed or damaged.

The Ohio buckeye should be planted in moist, acidic, well-draining soil in full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: Buckeye, Horse Chestnut, Fetid Buckeye

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 20-40 feet tall, with a 30-40 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

15. Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

Black Gum tree
Image by Leonora (Ellie) Enking via Flickr

As one of the finest deciduous natives in the US, Indiana gardeners should not miss the opportunity to plant a black gum tree, or black tupelo, on their property. These medium-sized trees are a native of Indiana and are usually found growing in the bottomlands of the southern part of the state.

The black gum possesses distinctive ridged bark that is said to look like alligator skin, according to the Clemson Co-operative Extension, and produces small white-green flowers that attract plenty of pollinators.

It is particularly stunning in summer and fall, due to its mass of lustrous dark green two-toned leaves that turn a stunning combination of crimson, orange, yellow, and purple in fall. This late-season display is hard to beat and will likely become the visual focus of your property.

These native trees are highly adaptable but grow best in loamy, acidic, well-draining soil with access to full or partial sunlight.

Other Common Names: Sourgum, Tupelo, Black Tupelo, Nyssa Pepperidge, Bee Gum

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 feet tall, with a 20-30 foot spread

Fruiting/Flowering Season: Mid to Late Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

16. Common Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Common Persimmon
Image by Puddin Tain via Flickr

Another winning native fruit tree is the common persimmon, which is native to southern Indiana but can be found growing all over the state. It is both easy to grow and adds exotic flair to the landscape with its bright, full foliage and unusual textured bark that juts out in rectangular blocks.

While this tree looks good throughout the year, it is usually grown for its large, orange fruits which are excellent used in baking and preserves. The common persimmon tree is a wonderful addition to an edible landscape and also works well in border planting and naturalized spaces.

This persimmon tree can grow in full sun or partial shade and is highly adaptable and low maintenance, with few pest or disease problems and a tolerance for dry and clay soil. The only potential issue is its spreading root suckers, which will need to be removed quickly to prevent new trees from popping up.

Other Common Names: American Persimmon, Possumwood, Possum Apples, Winter Apples, Simmon, Date Plum, Winter Plum, Common Persimmon, Eastern Persimmon, Jove’s Fruit

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-80 feet tall, with a 20-35 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Early Fall to Early Winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

17. Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Image by Katja Schulz via Flickr

One of America’s most distinctive native trees is the sassafras, a member of the laurel family that can be found throughout the uplands of the state. Many Americans will recognize it for its leaves which come in three unique patterns, and which give off a singular spicy fragrance.

If the smell of the sassafras tree seems familiar to you, it’s probably because the bark of the tree was originally used to make classic root beer. Its leaves can even be ground and used as a cooking spice! Who wouldn’t want this fascinating tree on their property?

The sassafras is ornamental too, particularly in fall when its foliage will brighten the landscape in shades of yellow and red. It works very well as a specimen, small shade tree, privacy screen, and in naturalized planting. It grows best in loamy or sandy well-draining soil.

Other Common Names: White Sassafras, Red Sassafras, Silky Sassafras, Ague Tree, Mitten Tree, Root Beer Tree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-60 feet tall, with a 25-40 foot spread

Flowering Season: Mid to Late Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

18. Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)

Smooth Sumac
Image by Wendell Smith via Flickr

While the smooth sumac is often thought of as the “king” of the sumac species, they are only found in northern Indiana. The smooth sumac, on the other hand, can be seen growing through the entire state, particularly along roadsides and in disturbed areas.

Like the sassafras, the smooth sumac has some interesting culinary uses – its fuzzy berries can be made into a wonderful tart spice that is often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking.

The smooth sumac is a delightful addition to home gardens too, with plenty of ornamental appeal. It grows as a large shrub with crooked branches and alternating feathery compound leaves that turn a brilliant shade of red in fall. It’s large flower panicles and spires of red berries will also make a colorful splash in the landscape.

Just remember that the smooth sumac has an invasive nature so some extra care will need to be taken to stop unwanted spreading.

Other Common Names: Sumac

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Late Summer to Mid Fall

Available at: Nature Hills

19. Black Willow (Salix nigra)

Black WIllow - Grid 2 Square
Images by Lyrae Willis, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

The USDA government website lists the black willow as the largest and only commercially important willow species native to the US. So if you want to plant one of these classically graceful trees around your home, the black willow is one to consider!

This tree earns its name from it’s deeply furrowed black bark, one of several ornamental qualities it possesses, along with its yellow catkins, small spring flowers and long glossy leaves. It is sometimes used to prevent soil erosion along the banks of rivers and streams due to it’s shallow root system and propensity for growing in wet and even flooded soil!

Gardeners interested in planting the black willow should know that the tree does have some issues – it cannot tolerate dry soil, is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, and it’s branches can break easily in rough weather. Suitability will vary depending on the gardener and their property.

Other Common Names: Swamp Willow, Goodding Willow, Dudley Willow, Sauz, Southwestern Black Widow

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-60 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Mid Spring to Early Summer

Available at: Nature Hills

20. River Birch (Betula nigra L.)

Heritage River Birch (Betula nigra ‘Cully’) Tree and Bark
Images via Nature Hills, combined by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

Make a serious statement on your property with the river birch, a moisture-loving birch species most famous for its stunning and unusual bark. It is the most planted birch species in the US and can be found growing wild throughout Indiana, near waterways or in areas with moist soil.

Its bark is its most defining feature, with a smooth, tan outer layer that peels away from the trunk in patches to reveal the salmon-pink and cinnamon-colored inner bark beneath. The color and texture of river birch bark make this tree highly ornamental in every season, and in fall it is lit up by its smooth yellow foliage.

The river birch looks lovely planted as a single specimen accentuating a water feature or in groupings as a living fence, windbreak, shelterbelt, or a private grove.

Plant your river birch in consistently moist soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH, with exposure to full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: Water Birch, Black Birch, Red Birch

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 25-50 feet tall, with a 25-35 foot spread

Flowering Season: Winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

21. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Red Maple
Image by mirabelka is very busy via Flickr

When it comes to choosing an easy-to-grow fall showstopper you can’t go wrong with the classic red maple, one of the most widespread maple species in Indiana. This maple tree is best known for its incredible fall foliage, which ranges from a bright and brilliant scarlet to orange-red to yellow. These vibrant shades are guaranteed to grab the neighborhood’s attention!

It has an upright and symmetrical growth habit which adds a sense of balance and elegance to the landscape, and its upright branches and thick foliage provide shade through the hottest parts of the year – it’s the perfect tree for hosting summer picnics.

The red maple is also useful as a street tree, an accent tree, and a wildlife tree which provides support for pollinators and shelter for birds and small mammals. It grows best in loamy or sandy well-draining soil with an acidic pH and plenty of sun exposure.

Other Common Names: Swamp Maple, Water Maple, Soft Maple

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-70 feet tall, with a 30-50 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

22. Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Looking for a tree that remains dynamic in every season? Consider the eastern hemlock, a conifer native to Indiana and most of the eastern US. This tall tree will add a touch of elegance to your property all year round with its pyramidal growth habit, nodding limbs, and feathery evergreen foliage that provides softness and texture even in the depths of winter.

The eastern hemlock is a lovely single specimen tree that also works well in small groupings, particularly as a garden backdrop or in a mixed border. It will also live for hundreds of years as a legacy tree, beautifying the landscape for generations to come.

These trees do have specific needs, so do your research before planting. Moist, acidic, well-draining soil is a must, in an area with full to partial shade. Protect it against wooly adelgid insects and white-tailed deer, which will cause the most issues for this tree.

Other Common Names: Canadian Hemlock, Eastern Hemlock-Spruce

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 35-45 feet tall, with a 20-25 foot spread

Flowering Season: Cones ripen in the Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

23. Bigtooth Aspen (Populus grandidentata)

Bigtooth Aspen
Image by Leonora (Ellie) Enking via Flickr

This large, fast-growing aspen species is a native of Indiana that can be found growing along streams, slopes, and valleys. Though it is a rather large tree, the bigtooth aspen actually earned its name for the unusually large toothed edges of its leaves.

The bigtooth aspen has a tall, straight-growing habit with furrowed bark that adds an ornamental element to the landscape. it is not often used in landscape gardening, however, due to its thin bark and vigorous suckering habit, which can require extra maintenance from gardeners who don’t want a stand of aspens on their property.

IN gardeners who don’t mind the extra effort will find this aspen to be useful as an ornamental shade tree or grouped together as a woodland grove. It is a highly valuable wildlife tree, providing food and shelter to countless species including moose, ruffled grouse, and beavers.

Other Common Names: Big-tooth Poplar, Largetooth Aspen, Poplar, Popple

Growing Zones: 3-6

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 feet tall, with a 20 to 40-foot spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

24. Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

eastern cottonwood
Image by Matt Lavin via Flickr

The eastern cottonwood is one of the largest trees that can be found growing in the forests of Indiana and is most commonly found growing in moist areas, particularly near bodies of water. Fortunately for IN gardeners, it is highly adaptable when cultivated.

These cottonwoods make good shade trees with their spreading canopy and glossy green leaves. Their yellow spring catkins, gold fall foliage, and dark furrowed bark also add some ornamental appeal to the landscape. But while many gardeners love these low-maintenance, fast-growing trees, they certainly aren’t fit for every landscape or homeowner.

As per the University of Minnesota Urban Forestry Outreach, the eastern cottonwood’s biggest flaws are its brittle wood, which can result in branches breaking off during strong winds and storms, often causing a mess and affecting the aesthetics of the tree, and its moisture seeking roots which can spread and damage pipes and sewerage systems.

Other Common Names: Cottonwood, Common Cottonwood, Plains Cottonwood, Poplar, Southern Poplar, Eastern Poplar, Necklace Poplar, Carolina Poplar, Alamo

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 75-100 feet tall, with a 35-60 foot spread

Flowering Season: Early to Mid Fall

Available at: Nature Hills

25. Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Scotch Pine
Image via Nature Hills

You can hardly find a more classic pine for landscape gardening than the scotch pine, one of the first non-native pine trees to be introduced to North America.

This hardy tree is not only beautiful but it can thrive in a wide range of temperatures, soil types, and environments. It’s a no-brainer for Indiana gardeners who want a seriously hands-off low-maintenance evergreen.

The neat, pyramidal scotch pine may be most famous as a Christmas decoration, but it’s also a great tool in landscape gardening as a potential specimen tree or windbreak, or used in foundation and border planting. It will add color and texture to your property in every season.

The only possible downside of this conifer is its size, as it can be too large for some residential landscapes. Otherwise, it is one of the easiest evergreens to grow, able to thrive in almost any soil type or quality – all it needs is well-draining soil!

Other Common Names: Norway Fir, Scotch Fir, Scots Pine, Baltic Pine, Baltic Redwood, Archangel Redwood

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 60-70 feet tall, with a 30-40 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Nature Hills

26. Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus Virginiana)

Eastern Red Cedar
Images via Fast Growing Trees, combined by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

Another hardy conifer that grows well in Indiana is the native eastern red cedar, often found growing wild in the northern and central parts of the state. Like the scotch pine, it is an endlessly useful evergreen for properties with poor-quality soil that will stunt or kill most other trees.

And the eastern red cedar isn’t just appealing because of its hardiness and adaptability! It makes an attractive ornamental with its pyramidal evergreen form, blue fruits, and textured bark. Its natural form is when it is most attractive, so it generally does not need to be pruned. The red cedar can be used on your property as a screen, windbreak, or shelterbelt.

IN gardeners planting eastern red cedars do not need to fuss over soil type or quality – the eastern red cedar will grow in practically any soil, though it will not tolerate standing water. Full sunlight and frequent watering are most important until this tree is fully established.

Other Common Names: Eastern Juniper, Red Cedar, Red Juniper, Pencil Cedar, Cedar Apple, Aromatic Cedar

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-70 feet tall, with an 8-25 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

27. White Oak (Quercus alba)

An imposing, impressive presence in any landscape, the white oak is a large native tree that will be a truly outstanding addition to your property, if you have the space for it! This handsome hardwood is perfect as a specimen or shade tree in a big, open landscape.

And planting a white oak isn’t just good for your property – it’s also good for the environment! This oak species is one of the most valuable wildlife trees in America. It’s branches and foliage provide shelter for birds and mammals, it’s flowers attract important pollinators such as butterflies and bees, and its small acorns sustain many more species.

When planted in ideal conditions the white oak can live up to 600 years. Make sure to plant it in deep, moist well-draining soil with an acidic to neutral pH, in a location with full sun exposure.

Other Common Names: American White Oak, Stave Oak, Eastern White Oak, Northern White Oak, Quebec Oak, Forked-Leaf White Oak

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 60-90 feet tall, with a 50-90 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Mid Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Excellent IN Tree Varieties You Can Plant Today

Indiana gardeners looking for trees to plant have more than enough quality options to choose from. Whether you want a hardy evergreen, a stunning flowering species, or a native fruit tree to add to your home orchard, you’ll find something that fits your property.

Make sure to research thoroughly before choosing new trees – even the hardiest, most easy-going native plants have specific needs that will help them to thrive on your property.

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