10 Stunning Flowering Trees to Grow in Maine

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When it comes to beautifying your garden, you aren’t limited to flowering plants and shrubbery. For some, flowering trees make the perfect aesthetic addition.

If you’re willing to put in the time, growing a flowering tree in Maine is worth the wait.

Maine is known for its harsh winters, short and warm summers, and cool springs. While this can make planting flowering trees in Maine feel daunting, you also are not limited to planting heat-resistant species as is common further south.

The state of Maine comes under 4 different hardiness zones: 3, 4, 5, and 6. Its climate is humid continental, swinging from short, warm summers to harsh winters.

ME summers see average high temperatures of 70°F, with winters plummeting to 12°F average lows with plenty of snowfall. Rain is frequent, and dry periods are rare.

If you’re planning to grow flowering trees in Maine, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what’s available. Keep reading for some of the best flowering trees that can be grown in the “Pine Tree State”.

10 Flowering Trees You Can Grow In Maine

1. American Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)

american hophornbeam
Image by Melissa McMasters via Flickr

The American hophornbeam, or ostrya virginiana, is a subtle flowering species native to eastern North America, a perfect tree to grow in MA. They are relatively small, deciduous trees of the understory variety, and grow monoecious catkins (cylindrical flower clusters) that are pale green in color and grow in a uniquely thin, dangling shape.

While it may not be the most aesthetic choice for flowering trees in Maine, it will provide interesting variation amongst more traditional flowering tree types.

According to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the American hophornbeam loves hilly spots. While they typically grow on slopes and in rocky forested areas, they can be planted in most soils.

However, this tree is best planted in well-drained, somewhat acidic loamy soil and will thrive in either full sun or partial shade. Because it is a low-maintenance tree that is relatively easy to grow, the hophornbeam is a good option for novice tree-growers.

Other Common Names: Ostrya virginiana, Eastern Hop-hornbeam, Hop-hornbeam, hardback, Leverwood, Ironwood

Growing Zones: All but the southernmost parts of the US. Zones 3 to 9

Average Size at Maturity: 25 to 40 ft tall and 20-30 ft wide

Fruiting/Flowering Season: Catkins appear throughout winter, with female catkins visible up until April

Available at: Nature Hills

2. Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)

pin cherry tree
Image by Dave Buckle via Flicker

The pin cherry tree is a pioneer species in the genus prunus, making it a relative of the plum, apricot, and peach, among others. It is an understory tree identifiable by its dark, red-hued bark, small dark red fruits, and clusters of delicate white flowers.

The pin cherry is also known as “fire cherry” because of its propensity for growing in areas recently damaged by forest fires. These delicate trees are easily damaged by wind, snow, and ice storms, which should be taken into consideration due to MA’s heavy snowfalls in winter, particularly in the northern tip of the state.

Pin cherry trees are not fussy about moisture levels or soil type, but they do need full sunlight, so it is best not to grow these shade-intolerant trees beneath a forest canopy. Though you can grow pin cherry trees, they are more likely to be used to restore native wildlife than as a landscaping option due to their short lifespan (about 3 to 4 decades on average).

Other Common Names: Bird cherry, Wild red cherry, Fire cherry

Growing Zones: 2 – 5

Average Size at Maturity: 25 to 30 feet

Fruiting/Flowering Season: April to May

3. Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Cherokee Brave Dogwood - Fast Growing Trees
Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Brave’ – Images via Fast-Growing-Trees, Combined by Lyrae Willis for Tree Vitalize

Interestingly, the flowering dogwoods’ lovely pink and white flowers are not flowers at all – they are bracts, a modified leaf-like plant that is somewhere between a leaf and a flower. The true flowers of the plant are the greenish clusters in the center of the bracts.

But regardless, their pink and white bracts are a sight to behold, making an interesting and lovely specimen for your backyard or garden. The flowering dogwood is a hardy tree that can grow in a variety of climates as long as it is not exposed to too much heat or cold, which is something to consider based on where you live in MA.

Flowering dogwoods grow in partial shade or full sun, and in well-drained, fertile soil. They do not need to be pruned as their round, flat crowns grow naturally neat, and they need only be mulched once a year.

Other Common Names: Cornus florida

Growing Zones: 5 – 9A

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

Fruiting/Flowering Season: Flowering dogwoods bloom between April and early May. The actual green flower will remain until fall and eventually turn red

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. American Basswood (Tilia americana)

American basswood
Image by Virens (Latin for greening) via Flicker

Despite their flowers, American basswoods are prized for their wood product and woodworking capabilities, as the wood is soft and light. It is also regularly grown as a shade tree due to its large crown and dense foliage. This basswood can grow up to 80 feet when it matures so be sure that you have plenty of space to accommodate it.

The American basswood’s yellow flowers blossom in late spring and early summer, and they tend to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. As a result, the nectar of these flowers can be made into rich honey. Despite its summer beauty, this basswood is so tall and stately that it will not be ideal for smaller properties.

This tree can thrive in sunlight and partial shade, and it prefers moist, deep soil.

Other Common Names: American linden

Growing Zones: 3 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 50 – 80 ft tall and 40 – 45 ft wide

Fruiting/Flowering Season: Can begin as early as late May and as late as July, though flowering typically begins in June. Flowering lasts approximately 2 weeks

Available at: Nature Hills

5. Sugar Tyme Crabapple (Malus spp. ‘Sutyzam’)

sugar tyme crabapple
Image by Dan Keck via Flicker

These lovely, compact trees will make quite the statement, with their bright red fruits and blooming flowers. Its flowers bloom in dramatic, abundant clusters in mid-spring, and are pure white with pink traces.

They pair well with the tree’s short oval body and bright, glossy foliage – altogether it makes a wonderful specimen plant that will complement your home garden beautifully throughout the year.

The sugar tyme crabapple is relatively easy to grow and prefers full sun and well-drained, fertile soil. This crabapple variety is also drought tolerant and only needs to be pruned lightly in late winter. Despite its ease and adaptability, the sugar tyme has a short life span.

It matures and begins flowering within the first 3 to 5 years, but it tends to live for only a decade or two. This is something to consider if you plan to grow it on your property.

Other Common Names: Malus ‘Sutyzam’, Malus ‘Sugar Tyme’

Growing Zones: 4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 14 -18 feet

Fruiting/Flowering Season: Spring, for a week or two

6. Winter King Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis)

winter king hawthorn
Image by Johan Neven via Flicker

Native to the South-eastern US, the Winter King Hawthorn is a relatively small, hardy tree that looks particularly pleasant in winter due to its contrasting silver-grey bark and vivid red fruits, which can be a great cause for cheer in the cold ME weather.

In spring it also presents attractive clusters of fragrant white flowers that eventually give way to fruits that appear in fall and last through the winter.

Due to their notable disease resistance and tolerance to drought and light shade, the winter king hawthorn is an easy tree to grow and fares very well in well-drained, dry to medium soil. Their small stature, pollution tolerance, and adaptability also make them a good option for urban settings and more compact landscapes.

Other Common Names: Green hawthorn, Crataegus viridis

Growing Zones: 4 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 25 – 35 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide

Fruiting/Flowering Season: May, mid to late spring

Available at: Nature Hills

7. Tinkerbelle Lilac Tree (Syringa TINKERBELLE ‘Bailbelle’)

tinkerbelle lilac
Image via Nature Hills

Unlike many of the larger flowering trees that can be grown in MA, the Tinkerbell is an ideal addition to smaller gardens and patios due to its dense, petite structure, growing only as high as 7 feet on average. The Tinkerbelle is a form of lilac that is much admired for the gorgeous bright pink flowers that blossom at the end of every branch in late spring.

The Tinkerbelle is an upright, rounded tree that thrives in full sun, and though it can tolerate light shade this may stunt its flower production. Full sun throughout the day is preferred if you desire full, bright flowers. It should be grown in dry to medium, well-drained, alkaline to neutral soil. It should not be grown in acidic soil.

Other Common Names: Dwarf Lilac Tinkerbelle

Growing Zones: 3 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 5 – 8 ft tall and 4-5 ft wide

Fruiting/Flowering Season: Flowers bloom from late spring to early summer and will stay for up to 3-4 weeks

Available at: Nature Hills

8. White Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

white fringe tree
Image by bobistraveling via Flicker

The White Fringe Tree will fare well as a flowering tree in Maine – it is not drought tolerant and needs regular watering. Its ideal watering conditions are in rich, loamy soil that is slightly acidic with plenty of moisture. It prefers sunlight but can still thrive in partial shade.

It is a particularly showy tree when in full bloom due to its uniquely shaped flowers which grow in 6-8 inch long panicles. Because the long, hanging clusters grow like a fringe along the tree branches it is often referred to as “greybeard” or “old man’s beard.” Though they have an unusual appearance, these flowers carry a sweet lilac smell and look very striking in any landscape.

Other Common Names: Grancy Greybeard, Old-Mans-Beard, Chionanthus virginicus

Growing Zones: 3 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 25 ft tall and 6 – 10 ft wide

Fruiting/Flowering Season: Mid-May to mid-June

Available at: Nature Hills

9. Yoshino Cherry Tree (Prunus × yedoensis)

yoshino cherry blossom
Image by yoshamaru via Pixabay

Few ornamental flowering trees have as much universal acclaim as the Yoshino cherry tree, a delicate medium-sized ornamental that adds a touch of natural elegance to any landscape. Native to Japan, the tree’s white-pink blossoms (or sakura) make a breathtaking appearance in spring.

This spring display is also complemented by the tree’s rounded, symmetrical shape and the faint almond-like smell that emanates from its flowers. All in all, you can’t go wrong growing a Yoshino cherry tree on your property.

Keep in mind that the Yoshino’s beauty comes at a price – it is a high-maintenance tree that requires consistent moisture, full sunlight, and well-draining soil. The key to keeping your plant healthy in time for the spring bloom is good irrigation and six hours of full sunlight per day. For the first two years, it will need consistent watering once a week or twice in dry weather.

Other Common Names: Japanese Flowering Cherry

Growing Zones: 5 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 50 ft tall and 25-50 wide

Fruiting/Flowering Season: March and April, for 2-3 weeks

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

10. Cockspur Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)

cockspur hawthorn
Image by Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden via Flicker

Anyone who has encountered this tree in ME will recognize the long, thorny branches of the cockspur hawthorn. For some, these needle-like thorns can be a net negative when it comes to growing this tree on their property – this is particularly true for families with young children. But for others, it is an attractive enough addition that it is worth the risk.

The cockspur does grow beautiful white flowers in spring, but they do not last long. They can be shed within as little as one week after first appearing, which any gardener should be aware of if they are choosing the tree for its statement flowers.

These trees are winter hardy and prefer full sun with well-drained soil, and can adapt to most soil types and varying pH levels. They are not a very disease or pest-resistant plant and are particularly vulnerable to leaf blotch miner and cedar hawthorn rust.

Other Common Names: Cockspur thorn, Crataegus crus-galli

Growing Zones: 3 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 30 ft tall and 12 – 15 ft wide

Fruiting/Flowering Season: May to June

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

Expert Recommendation

According to Estabrook’s, the flowering dogwood is one of the longest blooming trees in Maine. They recommend the ‘Venus‘ cultivar for its large snowy white flowers and excellent resistance to powdery mildew and anthracnose.

– Estabrook’s: 337 East Main Street, Yarmouth, ME 04096

Ornamentals For All Tastes And Seasons

A well-placed and carefully chosen flowering tree will be an invaluable addition to your home garden, backyard, or surrounding property. But it’s important that you do what you can to ensure that your chosen tree is able to grow, mature, and eventually begin producing those stunning flowers.

This includes choosing trees that have soil requirements compatible with your area, which is especially important to note for higher-maintenance trees like the Yoshino cherry tree and the Tinkerbelle lilac. If you are a novice tree grower you may want to consider more low-maintenance flowering trees like the American hophornbeam or Winter king hawthorn. Though soil quality can vary from location to location, ME soil tends toward acidic.

The trees mentioned above are some of the best options for flowering trees in Maine, as they can survive and thrive during the cold snap of a Maine winter. Whichever you choose, successful growth is sure to result in a stunning ornamental that will decorate your landscape for decades to come.

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Fern Berg - Founder

Expert Gardener & Horticulturist in Training

Fern has planted and currently cares for over 100 different native and exotic fruit, nut, and ornamental trees. She also cultivates an extensive vegetable garden, several flower gardens and cares for an ever-growing happy family of indoor plants. Fern has a special interest in biodynamic farming, food production and closed loop agriculture. Fern founded Tree Vitalize to help guide others with an interest in tree planting, identification and care.

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