15 Beautiful Flowering Ornamental Trees for USDA Zone 5

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » USDA Zone 5 » 15 Beautiful Flowering Ornamental Trees for USDA Zone 5

If you want to add bright colors, soft textures, and beautiful fragrances to your garden in spring and summer, you can’t go wrong with a flowering ornamental tree.

With winter temperatures falling as low as -20 degrees F and a rather moderate spring and summer period, some zone 5 gardeners may wonder if their options are limited when it comes to adding these beautiful trees to their property.

Thankfully, there are plenty of blooming plants that can be grown as ornamentals in the zone 5 climate.

Here are some of your best and brightest options if you’re looking to plant flowering trees in zone 5.

15 Stunning Flowering Trees For Zone 5

1. Prairiefire Crabapple (Malus ‘Prairifire’)

Flowering Trees Zone 5 - Prairiefire Crabapple
Image by rochelle hartman via Flickr

Gorgeous, low-maintenance, and bearing bright edible fruits, you can’t go wrong with the prairiefire crabapple. In spring these trees are aflame with showy, vivid dark pink blossoms, and through summer their foliage emerges as a deep purple, then a dark green, and lastly to a hazy, tinted orange in fall.

Their reddish bark and sprawling branches also look striking in winter. It is an absolute color show that will stand out in any landscape.

This crabapple variety is versatile too – it is best used as a specimen and ornamental plant, flowering backdrop, focal point, or patio plant. It can even be grown close together as a privacy screen, windbreak, and shelterbelt.

Plant your crabapple trees in well-draining soil, but otherwise, you don’t need to be fussy about soil types. These trees can thrive in the majority of soils with a range of pH levels as long as it drains well.

Other Common Names: N/A

Growing Zones: 4-8

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

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

2. Weeping Higan Cherry (Prunus pendula ‘Pendula Rosea’)

Flowering Trees Zone 5 - Weeping Higan Cherry
Image by Arlington National Cemetery via Flickr

You can hardly find a better flowering ornamental than the weeping higan cherry tree, best known for its gracefully drooping branches that are adorned with profusions of pale pink blossoms in spring. It is a gorgeous ornamental that acts as a focal point for any garden or outdoor space.

While these weeping cherry trees are immensely beautiful, there are a few things prospective gardeners should know before choosing a weeping higan for their zone 5 garden.

Firstly, though it is a cherry species, its edible blackberries do not taste very good – typically it is only grown as an ornamental. It is also susceptible to pests and diseases such as borers, canker, and powdery mildew, so do not go in expecting a low-maintenance tree.

If you want great tasting cherries that grow well in Zone 5, we have written a specific article on that.

This weeping tree prefers consistently moist, well-draining soil, though according to the University of North Carolina Gardening Extension, it can also adapt to poor, dry, and compacted soils.

Other Common Names: Weeping Cherry Tree, Weeping Higan, Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’

Growing Zones: 5-8

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

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

3. Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana)

A showstopper in the truest sense, the saucer magnolia is a classic magnolia variety created by a cross-breeding of the lily magnolia and lilytree.

Since its creation in the 1800s, it has been a highly popular and coveted flowering tree, due to its brilliant floral display of large saucer-shaped blooms that grow in shades of pink, white, and purple and typically reach sizes of 5-10 inches wide.

Not surprisingly the saucer magnolia is usually chosen as a specimen plant, with its flowers, silver-grey bark, and naturally graceful growth habit that does not need to be pruned or shaped. However, it can also be used as a privacy screen, windbreak, or accent plant. This tree will also attract plenty of local wildlife with its flower nectar and seed pods.

Plant your saucer magnolia in moist, loamy, well-draining soil with an acidic pH in a location with plenty of sunlight. It can also tolerate dense clay soil and partial sun.

Other Common Names: N/A

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 25 feet tall, with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Late Winter to Mid Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. American Fringe Tree (Chionanthus Virginicus)

Flowering Tree Zone 5 - White Fringe Tree
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

Native to the southeastern US, the American fringe tree is one of the more unique flowering trees that zone 5 gardeners can choose from. It is small and deciduous with reddish-brown bark and tiny blue fall fruits.

In spring the fringe tree will produce clouds of unusual feathery flowers that look similar to lace or fringe, hence their name. Male trees produce more abundant blooms and females produce fruits, but either sex makes an attractive addition to a zone 5 property.

The fringe tree is a lovely specimen tree that looks great in lawns, native gardening, and as a part of woodland borders. As a native to the US, you’ll find the fringe tree one of the more hardy, adaptable, and overall low-maintenance trees in your garden.

These trees thrive in moist, acidic soil, but otherwise grow well in most soil types, including sandy and clay areas. Choose a location with exposure to either full sun or partial shade.

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

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

5. Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Flowering Tree Zone 5 -Flowering Dogwood
Image by Paul Comstock via Flickr

A landscaping classic, the flowering dogwood is a choice ornamental for gardeners in zone 5 and above. It is also the official state tree of Missouri, the northernmost section of which falls under zone 5. This tree is highly regarded due to its brilliant spring display, where it produces abundant flowers that are usually white or pink, though colors can vary depending on the variety/cultivar.

Flowering dogwoods look good in every season due to their attractive fall color, bright red fruits, and striking growing habits in winter. They are excellent specimen trees that look especially good as a patio plant or along woodland borders.

Though they are one of North America’s most beautiful native trees, they are not as hardy as one might expect of a native tree.

According to the University of Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture, they are intolerant to poor-draining soil, drought, and urban pollution, and are unfortunately susceptible to a range of pests and diseases. Careful planting and consistent maintenance are to be expected with these trees.

Other Common Names: Florida Dogwood, American Dogwood, White Cornel, False Boxwood, False Box, Cornelian Tree, White Dogwood, Indian Arrowwood

Growing Zones: 5-9

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

Varieties Suitable For Zone 5: White, Red, Pink, Cherokee Princess, Cherokee Brave, Ragin’ Red

Flowering Season: Spring and Early Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Smoke Tree (Cotinus coggygria)

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

With a name like ‘smoke tree’ and ‘smoke bush,’ it’s no wonder many gardeners are intrigued by this species. Smoke trees are named for the soft, hazy purple and pink panicles they produce in spring and summer, which look similar to plumes of smoke.

Some cultivars, such as the ‘Royal Purple’ and ‘Cooke’s Purple’ even produce dark purple leaves which contribute to the striking smoky effect. If you are looking to add a unique, ethereal-looking touch to your landscape, this is it.

Unsurprisingly they are widely used as a specimen plant, and when grown in groups they can even be used as an informal privacy screen. What may surprise some is that despite their exotic look, smoke trees are relatively low maintenance, tolerant to drought, and can be grown in a variety of soil types and pH levels.

Sandy, loamy, or slightly rocky soil is the best option for the smoke tree, as long as the area is well-draining and has access to plenty of sunlight.

Other Common Names: Smoke Bush, European Smoketree, Venice Sumach, Dyer’s Sumach, Purple Royal Smokebush

Growing Zones: 4-9

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

Varieties Suitable For Zone 5: Royal Purple, Cooke’s Purple

Flowering Season: Late Spring – Early Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

7. Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)

Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) Tree, Flowers and Fruit
Images by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

Part of the soapberry family, these bright ornamental trees are a popular landscaping choice in zone 5 and higher. The golden rain tree is a medium-sized deciduous tree that explodes with bright yellow flowers that grow in long, 12-inch panicles all across the wide, rounded crown of the tree. These flowers appear in summer and can continue to bloom for up to a month each year.

Golden rain trees are an excellent choice for zone 5 gardeners living in cities or suburbs, due to their high tolerance to urban pollution. They are also tolerant of wind, heat, and drought, and can be planted as shade trees and street trees.

These vivid flowering trees are also easy growers, making them an even more enticing choice for zone 5 gardeners. For best results plant them in moist, well-draining soil with an acidic to alkaline pH in a location with full sun.

Other Common Names: Golden-Rain-Tree, Golden Raintree, Varnish Tree, Pride of India, Panicled Golden Raintree, Firecracker Tree

Growing Zones: 5-8

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

Flowering Season: Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Elderberry Tree (Sambucus nigra)

Flowering Tree Zone 5 - Elderberry Tree
Image by Algot Runeman via Flickr

Another useful native, the elderberry is a shrubby tree known for its fragrant white spring flowers and thick clusters of dark purple berries in late summer and fall. They are a popular foraging target, with their flowers being used to make syrups and wines, and their berries made into jams and jellies.

Aside from the practical usage of their flowers and berries, elderberry trees also grow well as thick, informal hedges. Like many species native to the US, they grow relatively easily and for the most part, are not fussy about soil types and environmental conditions. The one major exception is drought, which can kill off these shrubs.

Plant your elderberry in moist, fertile, well-draining soil with a moderately acidic pH in an area with full sunlight. Despite their low-maintenance nature, they will still need regular weeding and pruning to get rid of any dead or older, non-productive branches.

Other Common Names: Common Elderberry, Wild Elderberry, American Elderberry, Elder Berry

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall

Varieties Suitable For Zone 5: American Elderberry, Black Lace, Black Beauty, Adams, European Red, Blue, Nova, Ranch, Johns, Scotia, Wydlewood, York, Bob Gordan

Flowering Season: Late Summer to Early Fall

9. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Flowering Tree Zone 5 - Eastern Redbud
Image by F Delventhal via Flickr

One of the earliest flowering species in the US, the eastern redbud is a no-brainer for zone 5 gardeners who want a garden adorned with beautiful blooms in the depths of winter. With their slim, dark branches and profuse clouds of pink flowers, this redbud is one of the only flowering trees in late winter, adding some much-needed color to the bare landscape.

Eastern redbuds can be grown individually as a specimen tree or an anchor for foundation planting, or in groupings as native restoration, street trees, or hedges. They also look lovely planted beside a water feature, such as a lake or stream.

These trees can be grown in a variety of soil types (though redbuds have a preference for well-draining soil) and a range of pH levels, in both full sun or partial shade. Of course, more sun will encourage more flower production.

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

Growing Zones: 4-9

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

Flowering Season: Late Winter – Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

10. Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum)

Flowering Tree Zone 5 - Goji Tree
Image by Forest and Kim Star via Flickr

Though it’s more of a shrub than a tree, the goji berry plant is a good choice if you want to add some soft, subtle color to your garden in spring and summer. Part of the nightshade family, these plants are best known for their bright red fruits that are often regarded as a ‘superfood’.

But it’s their flowers that are the real show – in spring and summer these creeping plants produce purple star-shaped flowers that add a lovely pop of color to the landscape.

These plants have a tendency to sprawl, so they are often trained to grow along fences, trellises, and arbors, or even into hedgerows to add some color to your privacy screens.

Goji berry shrubs are also easy to grow, just make sure they are planted in rich, moist, well-draining soil with an alkaline pH in a location with full or partial sun.

Other Common Names: Wolfberry

Growing Zones: 6 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 6-8 feet tall, with a 12-14 foot spread

Flowering Season: Late Spring – Early Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

11. Wisteria (genus Wisteria)

Flowering Tree Zone 5 - Wisteria
Image by Colin Howley via Flickr

Now let’s be honest – Wisteria is not strictly a flowering tree. Instead, it’s a flowering woody vine. However it is often seen as a tree due to its thick trunk and is very popular as a flowering species for landscaping in zone 5 and higher, so we would be amiss not to include it.

Wisteria species look gorgeous in any garden, with their abundant spring blossoms that grow in long racemes and can come in purple, pink, blue, and white colors depending on the species. Their trailing nature makes them look particularly fantastic growing along trellises and over entryways, and trained as cover for gates and fences. Overall they are ornamental plants in landscaping.

There are three major types of wisteria: Chinese, Japanese, and American. Keep in mind that the Chinese and Japanese varieties are invasive species in North America, so American varieties are best. They are also most likely to bloom successfully in zone 5.

Other Common Names: Wistaria, Glycine

Growing Zones: 5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 10-25 feet long, 4-8 feet wide

Varieties Suitable For Zone 5: Silky, Japanese, American, Amethyst Falls American, Kentucky, Blue Moon, Blue Chinese, Cooke’s Purple

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

12. Japanese Lilac (Syringa reticulata)

Flowering Tree Zone 5 - Japanese Lilac
Image by Dan Keck via Flickr

If you’re looking for flowering trees in zone 5 that provide year-round color, the Japanese lilac tree is a good species to consider. It produces enormous clusters of fragrant, creamy white flowers in very late spring when the early spring flowers are no longer blooming.

In domestic landscaping, this Japanese native is most often used as a specimen plant or shade tree, but it is also popular in commercial landscaping and as a street tree. They can also be grown as shrubs and planted in groupings as a privacy screen.

These trees have a high tolerance to “dry sites, alkaline soils, and road salts” according to the University of Minnesota Urban Forestry & Outreach Lab, making them an excellent choice for urban environments. However, they prefer moist, well-draining soil, with access to full sunlight. Any pruning should be done once the flowers have fallen from the tree.

Other Common Names: Japanese Tree Lilac

Growing Zones: 3-7

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

Varieties Suitable For Zone 5: Ivory Silk, Ivory Pillar, Snowdance, Golden Eclipse, Signature

Flowering Season: Late Spring – Early Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

13. Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli var. inermis)

Flowering Tree Zone 5 - Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn
Image via Nature Hills

Another flowering native that grows well in zone 5, the thornless cockspur hawthorn is a variety of hawthorn trees that grows without the genus’ customary thorns, hence the name.

This species is a small tree with spreading, horizontal branches and pure white spring blossoms. In summer and fall it produces masses of bright red fruits that add to its red, orange, and purple fall foliage. It even has attractive silver-grey bark that adds some extra appeal in winter.

These short, broad trees are a versatile ornamental option for any garden but are most popular as specimen trees. They do well in a range of environments, from urban landscapes to woodlands, to native gardens.

No surprise that this small native tree is highly adaptable and able to thrive in a variety of soil types. But for best results, plant your thornless cockspur hawthorn in well-draining soil with average moisture levels in a location with full sun.

Other Common Names: Hawthorn, Cockspur Thorn

Growing Zones: 4-7

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

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

14. Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)

Flowering Tree Zone 5 - Panicle Hydrangea
Image by F.D Richards via Flickr

Grown both as a shrub and small tree, the deciduous panicle hydrangea is native to East Asia, and not only do they offer some of the biggest blooms for your garden, but they are one of the longest-flowering too!

These bushes are named after their 6-8 inch long football-shaped panicles that burst into color in late summer all the way through to the first frosts. Typically these trees bear creamy white flowers that change to pink and red tones through fall, though this depends on the cultivar.

Though they are natural specimen plants for lawn spaces due to their eye-catching appearance, panicle hydrangeas can also be used in foundation planting, border planting, and hedging, and can be grown in containers.

Panicle hydrangeas are extremely hardy and able to thrive seemingly without care. According to the North Carolina State University Gardener Extension, it is one of the hardiest hydrangeas that can grow in urban conditions.

Other Common Names: Peegee Hydrangea, Hardy Hydrangea, Limelight Hydrangea

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 2-15 feet tall, with a 2-12 foot spread

Flowering Season: Early Summer to Early Winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

15. Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry (Amelanchier × grandiflora)

Flowering Trees Zone 5 - Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry
Image via Nature Hills

Crossed between the downy serviceberry and allegheny serviceberry, ‘Autumn Brilliance’ is an excellent hybrid with year-round appeal. In springtime, it comes alive with small pink and white blossoms before producing delicious purple-black berries, then in fall it erupts with its famous brilliant red foliage, before presenting its smooth silver-gray bark in winter.

This serviceberry cultivar is an attractive, useful, and hardy specimen that grows as both a shrub and a small multi-stemmed tree. They can be grown in shrub borders, street trees, on woodland margins, or near a water feature. When the lower branches are pruned back it will also work well as an ornamental.

These flowering fruit trees are hardy and easy to grow. They take well to a variety of soil types but prefer moist, well-draining soil in either full sun or partial shade. Once established these drought-resistant, disease-resistant trees require very little care or maintenance.

Other Common Names: Apple Serviceberry

Growing Zones: 4-9

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

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Beautiful Blooms For Those Mild Summers

While there are many species of heat-loving tropical and subtropical flowering trees that won’t survive the long, frost-filled zone 5 winters, never fear. There are plenty of gorgeous ornamental trees that will thrive and flower profusely in your landscape.

As long as you choose your varieties and cultivars carefully, and are sure your property can provide the right conditions for each respective plant, you’ll have a zone 5 landscape full of gorgeous flowering trees in no time.

Whether you plant blossoming beauties or hardy, glossy evergreen trees, there are plenty of planting options for the zone 5 climate.

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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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