9 Stunning Flowering Trees in Virginia (Purple, White & Red)

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » Virginia » 9 Stunning Flowering Trees in Virginia (Purple, White & Red)

Virginia is a southeastern state with varying geographical zones, from mountain ranges to valleys and coastlines.

Despite this, it maintains fairly moderate seasonal temperatures. As a result, there are many different plants and trees that grow well here, particularly when it comes to ornamental flowering trees.

But finding the right colors can be tricky for some VA gardeners. While pink and yellow flowering trees can be found in abundance in this southeastern state, red, white, and purple flowering trees in Virginia are not always as easy to come by.

This guide is for discerning VA gardeners who want to find these elusive colors to brighten up their spring and summer gardens.

9 Purple, White, and Red Flowering Tree Varieties For VA

1. Cherokee Brave Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Brave’)

Cherokee Brave Dogwood - Fast Growing Trees
Image via Fast-Growing-Trees, combined by Lyrae Willis for Tree Vitalize

Flowering dogwoods are a classic ornamental that can be found throughout the US, including in Virginia. And while there are plenty of beautiful dogwood trees that can thrive in VA, one of the best is the Cherokee Brave cultivar.

This small deciduous tree is a lovely choice due to its profuse flowers that are lined with red, fading gently to white in the center to create an interesting rose-red effect. They bloom quite early in spring, while many other trees and plants are still dormant.

What’s more, they are known for their thin, delicate limbs which add a touch of elegance to your property. Bright red fruits in summer, attractive fall colors, and distinctive gray-brown bark add interest to every season.

The Cherokee Brave is best used as a specimen plant or shrub border and should be planted in moist, fertile, well-draining soil with an acidic to neutral pH. It prefers partial shade but can tolerate full sun.

Flowering dogwood trees are a great tree to use for landscaping your front yard.

Other Common Names: Cherokee Brave, Comco No 1

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 feet tall, with a 20-30 foot spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

2. American Fringetree (Chionanthus Virginicus)

American Fringe Tree
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

Native to the southeast, the eye-catching American fringetree is an easy choice for VA gardeners who want an adaptable and low-maintenance native tree that adds color and panache to the landscape. These small, deciduous trees are multi-stemmed with a naturally rounded growth habit.

But of course, this tree is most recognizable for its clusters of creamy white, ribbon-like flowers that appear like splayed “fringes” along the branches in spring, hence its name. But that’s not all – its glossy green summer leaves and gold fall color add plenty of landscape appeal too. Its blue-black fruits also attract birds and other wildlife in late summer.

VA gardeners who choose the fringetree will be rewarded with a beautiful and unfussy specimen tree that can be used as a screen, a focal point, and a shade tree for smaller areas. They also tolerate air pollution and drought, making them a good choice for city properties. Plant them in sandy, well-draining, acidic soil.

Other Common Names: American Fringetree, Fringetree, White Fringe Tree, Old Man’s Beard, Grandaddy Greybeard, Grancy Greybeard, Sweetheart Tree

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 10-30 feet tall, with a 10-20 foot spread

Flowering Season: Late Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

3. Dynamite Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica Whit II ‘Dynamite’)

Dynamite Crape Myrtle
Images via Fast-Growing-Trees, combined by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

Whether planted as a single specimen or in a mass grouping, the aptly named dynamite crepe myrtle cultivar adds vivid color to any area of your property with its bright red mid-summer blossoms.

Their ‘crinkly’ crepe-paper look adds further texture and tinted leaves turn a dark green that contrasts nicely with this tree’s cherry-red blooms. What’s more, the dynamite crepe myrtle flowers for months, one of the longest summer bloomers of any species.

This stunning red flowering tree adds further benefit due to its low-maintenance nature – it is disease-resistant, drought and heat-resistant, and highly adaptable to different environments.

It is also easily pruned, allowing it to grow as a hedge or in an easily-managed mass planting. They also make excellent specimen plants, privacy screens, container plants, street trees, and more.

The dynamite crepe myrtle prefers moist, loamy, well-draining soil with full sun. Soil should be of average quality, as overly fertile soil can potentially stunt flower production.

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 feet tall, with a 10-15 foot spread

Flowering Season: Mid-Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)

Sweetbay Magnolia
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

Virtually all magnolia varieties are known for their showy flowers, but few can rival the creamy white flowers of the sweetbay magnolia. These ornate flowers fill your garden with their lemony fragrance in late spring and summer and provide immense ornamental appeal paired with their glossy foliage.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the sweetbay is most often planted as an ornamental shrub or tree but also has some usage as lumber and pulpwood. It can be used well in accent trees or foundation planting, and its tame root system means you don’t have to worry about planting it near important infrastructure.

Though it can be deciduous or evergreen depending on where it is planted, it is likely to be semi-evergreen in Virginia. Plant your sweetbay magnolia in early spring, in a location with moist, rich, acidic soil (too much alkalinity can turn leaves yellow) and either full sun or partial shade. Unlike most trees, the sweetbay prefers boggy soil over well-draining.

Other Common Names: Sweetbay, Swampbay, Swamp Magnolia, Laurel Magnolia, Beaver Tree, White Bay, Sweet Magnolia, Southern Sweetbay

Growing Zones: 4-10

Average Size at Maturity: 10-30 feet tall, with a similar spread (can exceed 50 feet in warmer climates)

Flowering Season: Late Spring – Early Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)

Chaste Tree
Image by Renee Grayson via Flickr

A native of Central Asia and Southern Europe is the chaste tree, an appealing ornamental with a fascinating history. Once believed to “chasten” the libido in medieval times, today it is largely used in landscaping due to its more aesthetic qualities.

These small multi-trunked trees or shrubs have a noticeably spreading growth habit that bursts into life in summer, when their branches are decorated with long lilac-purple spiked flowers.

Similar to the dynamite crepe myrtle their flowering period is exceptionally long, lasting most of the summer period, and they add both a beautiful and unique look to your VA landscape while attracting plenty of useful pollinators such as birds, bees, and butterflies.

They grow well as specimens, in rows and borders, or as a container tree. It’s a perfect choice for beginner gardeners – drought tolerant, disease resistant, and as long as it is grown in well-draining soil that is not too rich, the chaste tree is almost guaranteed to thrive.

Other Common Names: Wild Lavender, Lilac Chaste Tree, Chaste Berry, Monk’s Pepper Tree, Abraham’s Balm

Growing Zones: 5-9

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

Flowering Season: Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)

Sourwood Tree
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

If you are looking for a small native that fits into a more compact garden space, or just fills in the gaps between other trees and shrubs, a sourwood is an option worth considering. According to the University of Kentucky Department of Horticulture, it earns its name from the sour taste of its leaves!

These pretty ornamental trees provide appeal in all seasons, from their delicate and weeping form that catches the eye in winter to tri-colored foliage in fall. And of course, the fragrant white flowers add a lovely touch in early summer.

The sourwood is hardy down to zone 5 and up to zone 9, so it can be planted in any Virginia planting zone. It is an excellent choice of specimen tree and shrub border and is largely pest and disease-free. However it is sensitive to salt and dry compact soil, so more urban VA gardeners should reconsider choosing the sourwood for their property.

Other Common Names: Sorrel Tree, Lily of the Valley Tree

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall, 10-15 feet tall

Flowering Season: Early Summer

Available at: Nature Hills

7. Forest Pansy Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’)

Forest Pansy Redbud
Images via Fast-Growing-Trees, combined by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

The native eastern redbud is a mainstay of central and eastern North America, found growing throughout these regions both wild and cultivated. Though Virginia is in the southeast, many redbud varieties grow well in VA, and one of the best for ornamental landscaping is the forest pansy redbud.

A very early bloomer, this deciduous tree will produce a shock of rose-pink blooms that will light up the landscape while much of your garden is still dormant. Its intense colors are the perfect harbinger of spring. Soon its shiny heart-shaped leaves will appear in a reddish-purple color that turns to an orange and red in fall. These trees will stand out in virtually any landscape.

VA gardeners should be aware that the forest pansy has its downsides – it has a somewhat short lifespan, so higher than average maintenance is needed to give it as much longevity as possible, from regular pruning and watering to careful monitoring for pests and disease.

Other Common Names: Forest Pansy, Forest Pansy Eastern Redbud

Growing Zones: 5-9

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

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’)

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry
Images via Nature Hills, combined by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

Crossed between the downy serviceberry and allegheny serviceberry, the Autumn Brilliance cultivar has a name that tells you almost everything you need to know about this beautiful deciduous tree.

It is a multi-trunked understory small fruit tree or shrub that is best known for its incredible red and orange-toned fall foliage. But its spring flower show, with its clusters of fine white blossoms, offers equal beauty to the landscape. Not to mention, its edible fruits are a tasty byproduct of this lovely ornamental tree.

VA gardeners who choose the autumn brilliance will find that it works well in a number of ways – as a privacy shrub, a courtyard tree, a backdrop for perennial flower gardens, and more. As a smaller tree, it looks excellent in groupings too, particularly along woodland borders or near water features.

As a very adaptable tree, you can plant your autumn brilliance serviceberry in average, moist, well-draining soil in a location with either full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: Apple Serviceberry, Hybrid Serviceberry, Shadbush, Juneberry

Growing Zones: 3-9

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

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

9. Profusion Crabapple (Malus ‘Profusion’)

Profusion Crabapple (Malus 'Profusion')
Images via Nature Hills, combined by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

The profusion crabapple cultivar is an extremely useful tree to have. Of course, its showy blooms are one of its most notable features, as these trees produce red and pink flowers in spring that look as though they cover every inch of its branches. It also has an attractively rounded growing habit, bright-red flower buds and fruits, and complementary reddish fall foliage.

But it isn’t just a handsome ornamental focal point for your property – it can be used as a shade tree or backdrop, it’s flowers and fruits attract plenty of songbirds and pollinators, and while they are not ideal fresh fruits, their crabapples can be harvested and used for preserves in fall.

The profusion cultivar has excellent disease resistance and is fairly low maintenance. Most of all it needs well-draining soil, full sun exposure, and good air circulation. Pruning is mostly done to maintain its rounded habit, and it is best done in late winter before flowering begins.

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 18-24 feet tall, with a 20-25 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Colorful Ornamentals To Brighten Any VA Garden

While flowering red and purple trees in Virginia can be more difficult to come by than they are in warmer southern states, we hope this article has shown that you still have some absolutely stunning options to choose from.

Whether you favor the dynamic dynamite crepe myrtle, or the exceptionally early-blooming forest pansy, any one of these trees will add dramatic color to your property.

Once you’ve chosen the right ornamentals for your backyard, it might be time to consider some of the more practical evergreen trees that are grown for shade and privacy in Virginia.

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Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.

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