Clicky

17 Flowering Trees in Wisconsin (Includes White & Purple)

Flowering trees add color and vibrancy to any landscape. They are easy to appreciate. Some of them such as purple robe locust and Japanese stewartia, require little care and give an awesome show.

The following list is special because it includes a wide variety of white and purple flowering trees.

The majority of purple flowering trees grow in warmer climates. But there are a handful that do well in Wisconsin. Examples include chaste tree, purple lily magnolia, and royal purple smoke tree.

17 Beautiful Flowering Trees for Wisconsin

1. Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) – White Flowers

Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)
Image by Tom Lund via Flickr

In spring, Allegheny serviceberry comes alive with aromatic white blossom. They fill every branch. These flowers appear in lazy drooping clusters.

Soon after, it produces small red to purple edible fruit. The bark is smooth, silver, gray, and has vertical stripes. During the fall, the leaves range from yellow to red.

The tree is native to Wisconsin and much of eastern North America. The tree has tremendous importance to wildlife. Butterflies and bees use nectar. Songbirds, chipmunks, squirrels, and large mammals consume the fruit.

In nature, Allegheny serviceberry grows in moist and cool woodlands under larger trees. As such, it does not tolerate full sun. It does better with shade.

Allegheny serviceberry prefers soil that is acidic and moist. It enjoys regular watering and will not tolerate drought.

Other Common Names: Allegheny Service-berry, Serviceberry

Growing Zones: 4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 40 feet tall with a spread of 15 – 20 feet

Flowering Season: Spring

2. American Plum (Prunus americana) – White Flowers

American Plum (Prunus americana)
Image by Matt Lavin via Flickr

American plum, which is native to Wisconsin, is a generous tree. It provides beautiful flowers and lots of fruit each year.

In mid-spring, the tree comes alive with many large 5-petaled white flowers. They come out along the wand-like branches. The beauty of the flowering show makes it a popular landscape tree in North America.

Of course, the flowers lead to fruits by late summer. American plums are tart and sweet. They are good in jams, jellies, and preserves. Wildlife such as deer and birds adore them.

The leaves provide a delightful display of electric red to pale yellow in the fall.

American plum is cold hardy everywhere in Wisconsin. It prefers acidic, well-drained loamy soil.

The tree grows about 12 to 18 inches each year.

Other Common Names: Wild plum

Growing Zones: 3 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 12 – 15 feet tall with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Mid-spring

3. Autumn Flowering Cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’) – White Flowers

Autumn Flowering Cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’)
Image by Arlington National Cemetery via Flickr

Autumn flowering cherry is a rare treat to any landscape. As the name suggests, it blooms in the fall. This is remarkable as few trees bloom during this time.

The flowers have semi-double layering with 10 petals. They start as deep pink buds before fading to almost white when open.

This unique cherry tree produces flowers on and off during a warm fall. Fall flowering is sporadic and not plentiful, though noteworthy. But in spring, the flowering is much more abundant.

The fall foliage is also delightful. Leaves turn bronze, yellow, gold, or deep red.

Another plus of growing autumn flowering cherry is its rapid growth. Trees can grow more than two feet each year.

On care, it is best to provide it with at least four hours of directed unfiltered sunlight each day. It does fine in acidic, clay, loamy, moist, and well-drained soils. Autumn flowering cherry is more cold hardy, stress-tolerant, and long-lived than other cherries.

Other Common Names: Autumn Cherry Tree, Autumn Blooming Cherry, Autumn Flowering Higan Cherry

Growing Zones:  4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity:  20 – 30 feet tall with a spread of 15 – 30 feet

Flowering Season: Fall, Spring

4. Chanticleer Pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’) – White Flowers

Chanticleer Pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’)
Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

Flowering pears are a beautiful addition to the landscape. For a long time, the Bradford pear was the most common flowering pear in North America. But because of its invasive nature and bad smell, it lost favor with many landscapers. Chanticleer pear is a thornless cultivar of Callery pear, native to East Asia.

Chanticleer pear produces many clusters of 1-inch white flowers in the spring. The display is dense and hard to miss. The shiny dark-green leaves are also beautiful. In the fall, they turn to an orange or gold red to red purple shade.

Chanticleer pear strives in full sun, at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. They can tolerate a wide variety of soil types. But, the tree has a clear preference for moist soil.

Other Common Names: ‘Select,’ ‘Cleveland Select,’ ‘Stone Hill’

Growing Zones:  5 – 8

Average Size at Maturity:  25- 35 feet tall with a spread of 16 – 25 feet

Flowering Season: Mid-spring

5. Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus – castus) – Purple Flowers

Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus - castus)
Image by Renee Grayson via Flickr

Chaste tree is both beautiful and low maintenance. The small deciduous tree produces long clusters of purple flowers in the summer. These appear in large clusters at the end of each branch.

Its leaves have a similar fragrance to the herb sage. After flowering, the tree has many black fruits with four seeds inside. They are like peppercorns, and some people use them to flavor food. 

A lovely aspect of growing a chaste tree is its rapid growth. The tree can grow as much as 7 feet in a year. 

Consider planting chaste trees as a shrub border or as a patio or landscape accent. As a Mediterranean native, it looks incredible in a Mediterranean-themed garden

Growing chaste trees is easy. It tolerates most soil types, including poor soils. For best results, provide it with at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. 

Other Common Names: Vitex, Chasteberry, Abraham’s balm, Lilac chastetree, Monk’s pepper

Growing Zones:  5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity:  15 – 25 feet tall with a spread of 15 – 25 feet

Flowering Season: Summer

6. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) – Pink Flowers

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Image by deckerme via Flickr

Eastern redbud is a classic favorite among North American landscapers. It produces reliable and outstanding rosy pink flowers in mid-spring. Trees start to bloom as early as 4 years.

The tree has heart-shaped leaves ranging from 2 to 5 inches. As they unfold in the spring, they are a reddish color and become dark green as the summer approaches. In fall, the foliage turns yellow.

Eastern redbud has a rounded vase shape. It works as a focal point in the garden or near a patio. Groups of eastern redbud provide a stunning view when blooming in the spring.

This beautiful tree does not need much maintenance. It does fine in partial shade and full. Most soil types are acceptable if it is well-draining.

Other Common Names: American redbud

Growing Zones:  4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity:  20 to 30 feet tall with a spread of 25 to 35 feet

Flowering Season: Spring

7. Firebrand crabapple (Malus sargentii ‘Select A’) – White Flowers

Firebrand crabapple (Malus sargentii ‘Select A’)
Image by liz west via Flickr

Firebrand crabapple is a cultivar developed in 1980 for its superior fruiting quality. It is both an excellent flowering tree and a fruit tree.

Each spring, the red buds open, revealing pure white blooms. The flowers are fragrant and long-lasting. They attract bees and butterflies. In the summer, the tree produces plenty of decorative tasty orange-red fruit. The fruits are of good quality and last long on the tree.

Firebrand crabapple is a compact tree and an excellent focal point for the landscape. It has a round shape and spreads sideways. It is a good idea to plant the trees in groups. Such provides for a dramatic and beautiful display when flowering together.

This tree prefers full sun (6-8 hours of direct sunlight) and well-draining soils. It is tough and will survive most soil and environmental conditions.

Growing Zones:  4 – 7

Average Size at Maturity:  8 – 10 feet tall with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Mid-spring

8. Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) – Yellow Flowers

Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

Golden rain tree is a deciduous tree that has a tropical feel. Its golden-yellow flowers are rare for flowering trees in temperate climates. The small blossoms appear in clusters on 15- to 18-inch-long stalks.

Flowers appear in June and July, lasting many weeks. Golden rain trees can start to produce flowers as early as three years after planting.

The long compound dark green leaves are also beautiful. On each compound leaf are 7 to 15 small leaflets. In the fall, the foliage turns pale yellow.

Golden rain tree is as tough as it is beautiful. It is a great street tree as it tolerates heat and pollution. Also, it has great resistance to pests and diseases.

Golden rain tree tolerates s a wide variety of soil types. It prefers at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Other Common Names: Goldenrain tree

Growing Zones:  5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity:  30 – 40 feet tall with a spread of 20 – 35 feet

Flowering Season: Summer

9. Japanese Lilac (Syringa reticulata) – White Flowers

Japanese Lilac (Syringa reticulata)
Image by Dan Keck via Flickr

Japanese lilacs produce creamy white flowers in early summer. Flowering lasts about two weeks. The many tiny flowers appear on large 6 to 12 inches long clusters. The flowers have an intense sweet fragrance; for some people, it is over-powering.

There are many varieties. ‘Summer Snow’ is tolerant of pollution, making it an excellent street tree. Another example is ‘Chantilly Lace’ which has creamy yellow and green foliage.

Japanese lilacs make great specimen trees and look good planted in groups. They are great on the patio or deck because they do not have an aggressive root system. Also, the fragrance could be a pleasant addition to those places for those who like it.

This tree produces many flowers if it gets full sun exposure. It will tolerate partial sun, but the number of flowers is not impressive.

Japanese lilac prefers well-drained soil. Mixing the soil with compost is a great idea to make the soil profile richer and loosen the dirt. Looser soil has better moisture flow. Such is essential if your soil is rich in clay.

Growing Zones:  3 – 7

Average Size at Maturity:  20 – 30 feet tall with a spread of 15- 20 feet

Flowering Season: Early summer

10. Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia) – White Flowers

Japanese Stewartia
Image by Plant Image Library Flickr

Japanese stewartia is a multi-stemmed deciduous tree with camelia-like flowers. The blooms have white petals and orange centers. They measure about 2 to 3 inches across. The tree produces flowers each summer over a few weeks in random succession.

The foliage is also attractive. The serrated leaves start as bronze-purple in the spring and turn dark green in the summer. In fall, the foliage turns red or orange.

Japanese stewartia has stunning bark, providing winter interest. It exfoliates in strips of gray, orange, and reddish-brown.

Japanese stewartia is a remarkable specimen tree. You can plant it as a focal point in the landscape.

One care, this tree does well in moist, acidic, well-drained soil. It will strive in either full sun or partial shade. The morning sun is better, as the afternoon sun is too intense for the tree. Following these basic requirements will make the tree a reliable, fuss-free performer.

Other Common Names: Korea stewartia, Deciduous camelia

Growing Zones:  5 – 8

Average Size at Maturity:  30 feet with a spread of 15 – 30 feet

Flowering Season: Summer

11. Littleleaf Linden (Tilia cordata) – Yellow Flowers

Littleleaf Linden
Image by Will Polllard Flickr

In the summer, littleleaf linden starts its display when most trees finish blooming. It produces clusters of yellowish flowers which hang down. But perhaps the pleasant and welcoming fragrance of the flowers is more impressive than their appearance. The flowers attract bees and other pollinators, as it is an excellent source of nectar and pollen. 

Like its other linden relatives, littleleaf linden features heart-shaped leaves. They are about 2 -3 inches long and have saw-toothed margins. Leaf color starts as light green in the spring and becomes a glossy dark green in the summer. Fall foliage is yellow. 

Littleleaf linden is not just a great flowering tree. Its dense canopy and pyramidal make it an excellent shade tree. The tree grows at a medium rate of 13 – 24 inches per year. 

Littleleaf linden tolerates a wide range of soil types. But it shows a clear preference for moist soil. It does not tolerate severe drought, which usually is not a problem in Wisconsin. Full sun and partial shade are both acceptable.

Other Common Names: Small-leaved lime, Small-leaved linden

Growing Zones:  3 – 7

Average Size at Maturity:  50 – 60 feet tall with a spread of 40 feet

Flowering Season: Summer

12. Purple Lily Magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’) – Purple Flowers

Purple Lily Magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’)
Image by Jordi Payà Canals via Flickr

Purple lily magnolia can work as a shrub or small tree in the landscape. It has an upright open branching habit. But its selling feature is flowers – dark purple outside and pink inside. This tree is one of the first trees to flower each spring, and they linger.

The slow-growing purple lily magnolia is suitable as a border. It also makes an excellent single specimen and accent tree. Moreover, the flowers are great for cuttings, making it an ideal small tree for a cutting garden. They are also excellent in an Asian-inspired garden. To get it to grow in a tree form, you will have to prune it.

In the first season, purple lily magnolia needs good regular watering. Such helps it to establish a deep and robust root system. After that, you can reduce watering.

Purple lily magnolia needs at least six hours of direct unfiltered sunlight daily.

Growing Zones:  5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity:  6 – 10 feet tall and 4 – 8 feet wide

Flowering Season: Early spring

13. Purple Robe Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Purple Robe’) – Purple Flowers

Purple Robe Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Purple Robe’)
Image by Wendy Cutler via Flickr

Purple robe locust tree produces impressive 8-inch-long cluster of fragrant purple flowers. The flowering is profuse and visible on every single branch. The display resembles that of the famous wisteria vine.

Many nurseries report that they can’t keep this tree in stock. It is popular because of its fast growth, impressive ornamental value, easy care, and hardwood. The tree grows at least 2 – 3 feet each year.

Purple robe locust makes an attractive law tree or street tree. It can tolerate tough road conditions such as pollution and salt. Also, because of its hardwood, it can tolerate storms.

Caring for purple robe locust is easy. It tolerates any soil type, even the poorest quality. It enjoys full sun and will strive in an open spot with plenty of air circulation.

Growing Zones:  4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity:  30 – 40 feet tall with a spread of 20 – 30 feet

Flowering Season: Mid to late spring

14. Royal Purple Smoke Tree (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’) – Purple Flowers

Royal Purple Smoke Tree (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’)
Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

One word to describe this deciduous tree is purple. Its long-lasting seed pods and foliage are purple.

This is a small multi-stemmed tree. After flowering, it produces many seeds. Around the seeds are fine hairs that have a smoky-purplish pink appearance. This display lasts all summer.

In spring, the leaves emerge from the branches with a bright purple-red color. They turn plum-purple and lats throughout the summer and fall without fading. In fall, the foliage turns scarlet red.

Purple smoke tree is a striking accent for any landscape, thanks to its bold coloring and compact size. You can use it as a focal point, for group planting, or as a decorative hedge.

For the best leaf color, purple smoke tree needs full sun. But it will do fine with some shade. It adapts well to moist soil, as long as it is well-draining.

Other Common Names: Purple smoketree

Growing Zones:  4 – 8

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

Flowering Season: Summer

15. Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) – White Flowers

Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
Image by Kirt Edblom via Flickr

Star magnolia features showy, fragrant white flowers. They measure about an impressive 3 – 4 inches wide.

This tree is an early bloomer; you can expect it to bloom in March in the milder parts of Wisconsin. For optimal flowering, it needs full sun.

The shrub-like tree grows in an oval, pyramidal. It is best as a single specimen or foundation planting. It grows on multiple stems, so it will need some pruning to have a tree-like form.

Star magnolia grows in acidic, clay, loamy, moist, sandy, and well-drained soils. It can withstand a bit of flooding.

Growing Zones:  4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity:  15 – 20 feet tall and 10 – 15 feet wide

Flowering Season: Early spring

16. Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) – White Flowers

Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum)
Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

In late spring, Washington Hawthorn produces clusters of showy snow-white flowers. The beautiful display does not last long, only 7 – 10 days. They attract bees because of their valuable nectar.

As the leaves unfurl in the spring, they are reddish-purple. By the summer, they change to a dark-green solid tone. In the fall, the foliage turns orange, scarlet, or purple.

One key feature of this tree is its small bright red berries. The ¼-inch fruits last into the winter. Songbirds and other small mammals find them irresistible.

Washington hawthorn grows at a medium rate of 13 to 24 inches per year. It forms a dense crown that is pyramidal or egg-shaped.

The tree tolerates a wide variety of soil types. At least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day is ideal.

Other Common Names: Washington thorn

Growing Zones:  4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 25 – 30 feet tall and 25 feet wide

Flowering Season: Late spring

17. Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) – White Flowers

Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

Yellowwood provides the landscape with an attractive cluster of cream-colored wisteria-like flowers. Sadly, its flowering is abundant about three times each decade.

Since flowering is rare, you will have to appreciate its foliage, which is not difficult. The leaves are bright green and turn to a delicate yellow or orange tone in fall. The small deciduous tree also makes a good shade tree because of its dense foliage.

Yellowwood performs best in fertile, moist, and well-drained soil. It is resistant to most diseases and does not need much attention. It will be happy in a spot with good air circulation and full to partial sun.

Other Common Names: American yellowwood, Kentucky yellowwood

Growing Zones:  4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity:  35 – 50 feet tall with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Early summer

Choosing Flowering Trees in Wisconsin

Wisconsin landscapers can enjoy a variety of flowering trees. This list includes some classics such as American plumEastern redbud, and Japanese lilac

Autumn flowering cherry stands out on this list because it blooms in the fall and spring. 

Many white flowering trees are on this list, like the Chanticleer pear. This flowering pear is an excellent alternative to the stinky and invasive Bradford Pear. But, in general, white flowering trees are a common sight during the spring in Wisconsin. 

Purple and yellow flowering trees are rarer in Wisconsin. Landscapers looking to bring a unique and vibrant touch to the garden should consider planting a purple robe locust and royal purple smoke tree. Or the rapid-growing chaste tree which can grow to maturity in a few years. All these purple flowering trees are summer blooming. 

For something yellowish, consider the dazzling and showy golden rain tree. This one also blooms in summer. 

Related Articles: