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20 Most Popular Flowering Trees in Arkansas


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The Arkansas climate is classified as humid subtropical; characterized by short, cooler winters and hot humid summers.

The southern region of the state is typically warmer and wetter, whilst more northern regions experience colder temperatures and are typically drier.

Arkansas growing zones typically extend from 6b to 8a.

Knowing your growing zones can help save you a lot of time when planning your garden.

20 Popular Flowering Trees in Arkansas

1. Roughleaf Dogwood (Cornus drummondii)

Roughleaf Dogwood - Nature Hills Lyrae Willis
Images by Lyrae Willis, Own Work, and Nature Hills, Combined by Lyrae Willis

Roughleaf Dogwood grows wild in the swampy areas of AR. It’s a small tree rarely exceeding 16ft, with oval, 4” leaves with a hairy surface. The Roughleaf Dogwood produces clusters of wide, flat flowers that are an unusual cream white/yellow color on the terminal ends of the branches.

Butterflies are fond of the nectar, and birds feast on the berries that follow the flowers. The Roughleaf Dogwood produces reddish/purple fall colors, giving you three seasons of interest with this small tree.

Roughleaf Dogwood prefers partial to full shade with well-drained slightly alkaline soil. Provided they have adequate moisture, they can tolerate any soil type including clay.

Roughleaf Dogwoods spread by root suckers, so keep these in check if you don’t want them to spread.

Other Common Names: Rough-leaf Dogwood

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 4-15 ft tall and 2-8 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late April to June

2. Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) – Pink/White Flowering Tree

Flowering Dogwood Cornus florida - inflorescence VS leaves - GA Red Mtn State Park 2021-04-06
Image by Lyrae Willis for Tree Vitalize

The Flowering Dogwood is the most familiar of all the Dogwoods. They can be found on stream banks and shade woods in AR, bringing color and perfume to the area from March to May. The Flowering Dogwood is a small to medium tree with horizontal spreading branches.

Its spring flowers are usually pink or white, 3-4” long, and give way to red berries which are eaten by birds, small mammals, and deer. The foliage is a vibrant green, turning scarlet in the fall.

The Flowering Dogwood provides interest practically year-round. Like the Roughleaf Dogwood, the Flowering Dogwood prefers a partly shady-to shady location.

Plant in rich, sandy, or loamy soil that’s slightly acidic. They work well as a single specimen or planted in groups, and their horizontal branches provide dappled shade.

Other Common Names: Virginia Dogwood, Florida Dogwood, White Cornel, Arrowwood, American Boxwood, St.Peter’s Crown, False Box, Corona de San Pedro

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 ft tall and 15-2- ft wide

Flowering Season: March to May

3. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) – Purple Flowering Tree

Eastern Redbud
Image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr

Redbuds are native throughout North America and unlike pine trees in Arkansas their bright purple/pink/red buds look stunning and open at the first sign of spring. They form an open and spreading crown, maturing into a rounded, vase shape.

The leaves are broad and heart-shaped, 3-5” long and wide, emerging reddish before turning green in the summer and yellow in the autumn.

The pea-sized flowers are showy and develop on the branches and trunk before the leaves emerge. Redbud is ramiflorous, meaning flowers and fruit appear on bare branches, which is a rare trait in temperate species. The flowers persist for a few weeks and are pollinated by bees.

These are followed by bean-like seed pods (legumes) that persist throughout the winter. Both the flowers are seed pods are edible.

Other Common Names: Judas Tree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 15-35 ft wide

Flowering Season: March and April

4. Goldenrain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)

Goldenrain tree
Image by jacinta lluch valero via Flickr

The Goldenrain tree is a medium-sized deciduous tree. It has spreading branches yet retains a rounded shape when mature. It works well as an urban flowering tree as it tolerates drought, heat, and pollution. It is easily transplanted and is adaptable to a wide range of soil types.

The Goldenrain Tree flowers at an early age, with an upright display of yellow flowers, which is unusual in flowering trees. The blooms appear on pannicles that are 12-15” long and are star-shaped.

When the blooms are finished, they drop to the ground and resemble a ‘golden rain blanket.’The Goldenrain Tree prefers moist, well-drained soil that’s neutral to slightly alkaline.

Other Common Names: Golden Rain Tree, Pride of India, China Tree, Varnish Tree

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall and 25-35 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

5. Possum Haw (Ilex decidua) – White Flowering Tree

Possum Haw (Ilex decidua)
Image by sonnia hill via Flickr

Possum Haw, or Deciduous Holly, is a small tree or shrub with pale gray, twiggy horizontal branches. The foliage is glossy, oval, and toothed, remaining green throughout the autumn, before turning yellow.

The flowers are small but abundant and appear in late spring. These are followed by persistent clusters of red berries on pollinated female trees and provide winter interest.

Possum Haw stands out in the winter, as the berries hang on to leafless, slender grey twigs. Possums, raccoons, and other small mammals feast on the berries, as do songbirds, game birds, and other related species.

Other Common Names: Possumhaw, Possumhaw Holly, Deciduous Holly, Meadow Holly, Swamp Holly, Prairie Holly, Winterberry, Bearberry, Welk Holly, Yaupon Bearberry

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and 6-8 ft wide

Flowering Season: March to May

6. Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) – White Flowering Tree

Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)
Image by Buddha Dog via Flickr

The Downy Serviceberry is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree or shrub. Weeping clusters of aromatic white flowers on racemes appear before the leaves emerge, and are followed by small black/dark/blue berries.

The oval leaves are covered in soft woolly hairs when young and disappear upon maturity. They turn shades of orange, yellow and red in the fall.

The Downy Serviceberry does best in well-drained slightly acidic soils, in either full sun or partial shade. They look best in natural-style plantings, so will likely complement your AR yard if this is the feel you want to evoke.

Other Common Names: Shadbush, Shadblow, Sarvis Berry, Common Service Berry, June Berry, June Bush

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – May

7. Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

Honeylocust
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

The Honeylocust is a moderately fast-growing tree, commonly found in moist lowlands and limestone soils.

Its tolerance to drought and salinity has increased its popularity both in preventing soil erosion and for urban planting where it is used in many instances to replace the elm. It’s better suited to the Northwest of Arkansas.

The Honeylocust is tolerant of a range of both wetter and drier areas. Male trees will produce no fruit and have no thorns, making maintenance easier than on other messier species.

The form of this tree varies; specimens can be seen growing tall with a rounded top with ascending, arching branches, or lower spreading branches.

The leaves are once compound, and the flowers appear on elongated racemes between 2-5” long from leaf axils on young branches.

Male and female flowers are typically on different branches. They are green/yellow and for both sexes, the calyx holding the flower is 5-lobed.

Other Common Names: Honey Locust

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 ft tall and 30-70 ft wide

Flowering Season: May-June

8. Zelkova (Zelkova serrata)

Zelkova
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr

Zelkova is a broad-leaf deciduous tree with an upright branching form, typically with a vase shape. It’s a low-branching tree, with smooth gray bark. The leaves are simple, alternate, ovate to oblong-ovate.

They are sharply toothed, with parallel veins, and are dark green. Fall color varies from yellow, yellow to orange/and bronze to orange to red-purple.

The flowers are small and green, whilst the fruit is a small triangular drupe 2mm long that emerges green before maturing to brown. The Zelkova prefers moist deep soil in full sun, and once established is both wind and drought tolerant. Being resistant to Dutch Elm Disease, it’s been widely planted.

Other Common Names: Japanese Zelkova

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 50-60 ft tall and 50-75 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

9. Southern Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis)

Southern Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis)

The Southern Hawthorn has a rounded dense crown of spreading branches, showy flowers, glossy foliage, and small red-to-yellow fruit. In its native habitat, it can be found in open woodlands, prairies, plains, pastures, savannas, and meadows. It works well as an understory tree.

The flowers are rich in nectar and attract nectar bees, butterflies, fruit birds, and mammals, and are a valuable nesting site for various species.

Plant the Southern Hawthorn in part-shade in moist soil. It’ll tolerate sand, sandy loam, medium loam, or clay loam or clay.

Other Common Names: Green Hawthorn

Growing Zones: 4-7

Average Size at Maturity: 20-35 ft tall and 20-35 ft wide

Flowering Season: March to April

10. Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina) – White Flowering Tree

Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina)
Image by The Alliance via Flickr

The Carolina Silverbell is another understory tree with a rounded and broad habit. The flowers are attention-grabbing clusters of 2-5 hanging bell-shaped, white flowers, 1” across appearing in mid-spring.

They appear with or just before the leaves emerge and are followed by 4-winged, pale green fruits in the fall which persist into the winter. The seeds are eaten by squirrels and the flowers provide honey for bees.

The ovate, finely toothed foliage turns a muted yellow in the fall. The Carolina Silverbell can be grown as a multi-trunked shrub or trained as a small tree. It’s best grown in averagely moist, acidic, organically rich well-drained soil. It’ll tolerate full sun but prefers part shade, being an understory tree.

Other Common Names: Opossum Wood, Silverbell Tree, Snowdrop Tree

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall and 20-35 ft wide

Flowering Season: Mid-spring

11. Flowering Peach ‘Red Haven’ (Prunis persica red haven)

Flowering Peach or Red haven tree
Image by Frank Olivier Schwellinger via Flickr

Peach trees are extremely fast-growing and will reward you with an abundance of pink blossoms in spring. They are followed by a crop of fruit with a bright red blush from mid to late summer. They are resistant to spot leaf and are a self-pollinating variety.

Red Haven peach forms an open-rounded canopy with upward reaching branches. The leaves are lanceolate and dark green. They grow best in full sun in slightly acidic to neutral well-drained soil. They have a chill time of 800-900 hours, meaning they need temperatures below 45 Fahrenheit in the winter for the buds to open in the spring.

Other Common Names: Red Haven Peach Tree, Redhaven Peach

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 12-15 ft tall and 12-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

12. Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Tulip Tree
Image by kiwinz via Flickr

The Tulip Poplar tree is more closely related to magnolias than poplars or tulips. The reference to tulips comes from the shape of the greenish/yellow/orange blossoms that adorn the tree, or possibly the shape of the leaves. The Tulip Poplar also provides winter interest by way of the furrowed bark and the curious shape of the flowers buds.

Tulip poplars thrive in deep, rich, well-drained moist soils in full sun. It’s adaptable when it comes to ph but does best in slightly acidic soil. It’s sensitive to summer drought, so may need additional irrigation in drier conditions.

Other Common Names: Tulip Tree, American Tulip Tree, Tulipwood, Whitewood, Fiddletree, Yellow Poplar

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 70-90 ft tall and 35-50 ft wide

Flowering Season: May – June

13. American Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus) – Purple Flowering Tree

American Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus)
Image by peganum via Flickr

The American Smoke Tree is native to Kentucky, Tennessee, and Northern Alabama. It has an upright branching habit and is usually multi-trunked, with an open crown and spreading branches. It’s a short trunked tree and features blue-green leaves that turn an eye-catching shade of fire red and orange in the fall.

Six to ten-inch flower pannicles develop red or purple petioles that amidst crowded flower clusters, give a smoky appearance when fluttering in a breeze of wind. The actual flower itself is small and not showy. The gnarled bark is another ornamental feature of this tree, as is the flaking bark.

The American Smoke Tree is disease-resistant, drought-tolerant, and adapted to the stony soils of its native range. Don’t over-water or over-fertilize for best results.

Other Common Names: Texas Smoke Tree, Wild Smoke Tree, Smoke Tree, Smoke Bush, Chittamwood

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 ft tall and 15-25 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – May

14. Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) – White Flowering Tree

Yellowwood tree
Image by stanze via Flickr

Yellowwood is a medium to large-sized tree with big clusters of hanging fragrant white flowers. The bark is smooth and the foliage provides beautiful fall color.

The fruit is a 2 ½ – 4” dry pod that ripens in fall and persists through the winter. Yellowwood is a good choice for your AR yard if you have a small-to-medium-sized space and are after a flowering shade tree.

The Yellowwood will grow in just about any well-drained soil and will tolerate alkaline soils, clay soils, dry sites, road salt as well as wet sites. The Yellowwood will provide interest from mid-spring to mid-fall. It’s highly susceptible to ice damage.

Other Common Names: American Yellowwood, Virgilia

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 ft tall and 40-55 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late spring

15. Cucumber Magnolia (Magnoila acuminata)

Cucumber Magnolia (Magnoila acuminata)
Image by HQ via Flickr

The Cucumber Magnolia is a large round-topped deciduous tree and is the hardiest of all the magnolias. Its leaves are 6-10 inches long, and are deep green in the summer, changing to yellow/brown in the fall.

The flowers are variable in appearance, with many being greenish/white, though there are showier varieties of white and yellow.

Flowers are followed by cucumber-like fruit which turn from green to red. The flowers and fruit are easily missed because they commonly occur near the top of the tree canopy. Cucumber magnolias prefer rich, moist, and acidic soil, and will grow in full sun, shade, or partial shade.

It doesn’t do well with extremes of drought or wetness. The fruit provides a food source for small birds and mammals.

Other Common Names: Cucumbertree

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 60-75 ft tall and 35-60 ft wide

Flowering Season: May-June

16. Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Sweetgum
Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

The Sweetgum is a large, open-crowned aromatic tree with a straight trunk and a conical crown that becomes round and spreads with age.

It features deep, glossy green deciduous leaves that are five-lobed, making a star shape. The fall foliage is purple and red and doesn’t require very cold temperatures to change color.

The fruit are small, globular, horny, woody balls 1” in diameter that hang on the stem and persists through January.

The Sweetgum is an important hardwood timber tree. Flowers emerge in the spring, and whilst they are fairly large, are hard to spot as they appear high up in the tree. Occasional low-hanging branches reveal clusters of flowers and emerging leaves.

Sweetgums are monoecious, with different sexes being found in different flowers. Trees won’t flower until reaching maturity, at 20-30 years old.

Other Common Names: Sweet Gum Tree, Redgum, Red Sweet Gum

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 ft tall and 10-20 ft wide

Flowering Season: March, April, May

17. Flowering Ash (Fraxinus ornus) – White Flowering Tree

Flowering Ash
Image by Patrick via Flickr

The flowering ash is a medium-sized deciduous tree with a dense oval or rounded crown and a short trunk. Showy and fragrant white flowers appear in clusters above the bluish/green, drooping foliage. Flowering ash is dioecious and wind-pollinated. Fall sees colors of reddish-purple and yellow/burgundy.

The Flowering Ash will grow best in full sun, in organically rich moist and well-drained soils. It’ll tolerate light sandy soils, medium loams and heavy clay and prefers mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soils and is wind tolerant.

Other Common Names: Manna Ash, Southern European Flowering Ash

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 ft tall and 40-50 ft wide

Flowering Season: May

18. Two-Wing Silverbell (Halesia diptera)

Two-winged silverbell
Image by delirium florens via Flickr

The Two-winged Silverbell is a small rounded tree or shrub that is usually multi-stemmed and low-branched. Leaves are alternate, 2-7” long and about half as wide. They are deciduous, being dark green/yellow in summer, and turning yellow in the fall.

White tubular flowers hang on long and pendulous pedicels that are about 1” across and consist of 4 waxy petals with a dense cluster of stamens in the center. Whilst the bark of young trees is striped, it becomes furrowed and patterned with age.

The Two-Wing Silverbell is an AR native and the common name refers to the two-winged fruit which in its immature, green form is consumed by squirrels and other wildlife.

They grow best in part shade in rich, well-drained soils. Sandy, sandy loams and medium loams are all suitable growing mediums for this species which can be used as an understory tree or as an accent.

Other Common Names: Two-Winged Silverbell, American Snowdrop, Silverbell, Snowdrop Tree, Cowlicks

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 20-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: April – May

19. Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) – White Flowering Tree

Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)
Image by HQ via Flickr

The Catalpa is a tree that immediately draws the eye in, with its showy clusters of fragrant white flowers and giant heart-shaped leaves.

The flowers give way to brown and dry dangling bean-like pods. The Catalpa can develop a twisted trunk and branches. The Catalpa often develops an oval shape and its leaves are up to 12” long and between 4-8” wide.

The seed pods are between 8-and 20” in length. The Catalpa requires some upkeep, as the flower petals, leaves, and seed pods drop and are slippery immediately after falling. The flowers of the catalpa are frequented by hummingbirds, and also provide nutrition for bees in the early summer.

The Catalpa will tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions, including extremely hot and dry conditions as well as some flooding. It’ll grow in alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty, well-drained wet and clay soils.

Other Common Names: Northern Catalpa, Hardy Catalpa, Western Catalpa, Cigar Tree

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 ft tall and 20-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: May-June

20. Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Image by Katja Schultz via Flickr

Sassafras is an outstanding North American native tree, known for its spectacular fall colors and aroma. It can be grown as a single-trunked tree or as a shrub and typically has a rounded shape.

The leaves are 3-7” long, and bright-to-medium colored in the summer, changing to enthralling tones of red, deep orange, burgundy, and purple in the fall. The leaves have a unique mitten, three-lobed shape.

The yellow flowers appear in early spring, in clusters and are about 1-2” long and ½” in diameter. The flowers are followed by a dark blue fruit in the fall that’s eaten by wild turkeys, deer, bears, and a variety of birds. Sassafras will grow in acidic, moist, loamy, well-drained soils and has some tolerance to drought and salt.

Other Common Names: Mitten Tree, White Sassafras, Common Sassafras

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-60 ft tall and 25-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: Early spring

Floral Arkansas

The mild climates of AR mean that the home gardener has a wealth of opportunities when it comes to planting beautiful flowering tree species at home.

The hot humid summers, cool winters, and no defined dry season all add to the ease of cultivating flowering trees in your yard.

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