14 Ornamental Flowering Trees for USDA Zone 8 Landscapes

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » USDA Zone 8 » 14 Ornamental Flowering Trees for USDA Zone 8 Landscapes

When you’re choosing trees to plant on your property, flowering trees are often one of the first types you’ll consider.

Who doesn’t want the incredible color and visual interest that a spring or summer flowering display can provide?

USDA hardiness zone 8 has a warm, mild climate, with a long growing season and a limited frost period, making it perfect for many different species of flowering trees.

Gardeners in this zone will have an extensive range of flowering tree species to choose from.

Consider these fourteen stunning ornamental flowering trees for zone 8 properties.

14 Flowering Trees For Zone 8 Gardeners

1. Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)

Arrowwood Viburnum
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr (cultivar ‘Ralph Senior’)

This underrated flowering native will be a lovely and subtle addition to your garden. In spring the Arrowwood Viburnum produces bunches of tiny, fuzzy white flowers that add color and texture to your property.

But that’s not all! In summer and fall, they are followed by waxy blue and purple fruits that catch the eye and their finely-toothed leaves turn a range of colors in fall.

With its flowers and fruits, the Arrowwood Viburnum makes an excellent wildlife tree, attracting pollinators, hungry birds, and small mammals. A grouping of these small shrubs will be a great gift to the local ecosystem. You can also use them as privacy screens, hedges, backdrops, and in mixed shrub borders.

The Arrowwood Viburnum is known for its exceptional cold tolerance, but it can still thrive in climates as warm as zone 8. Plant it in full sun to partial shade in moist, well-draining soil.

Other Common Names: Southern Arrow Wood, American Arrow Wood, Smooth Arrowwood

Growing Zones: 2-8

Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 feet, with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

2. Venus Dogwood (Cornus x ‘KN30-8’)

Venus Dogwood
Image by Joel Bradford via Flickr

Bred to have the best qualities of its parent trees, the Venus Dogwood is a truly superior dogwood cultivar that provides ultimate visual interest in spring and fall.

Its flowering bracts are large, white, and pristine, growing in such abundant clusters that they are often compared to drifts of snow hanging on the branches of its rounded form. In summer its green foliage is rich and glossy, then turns a surprisingly deep ruby red in fall.

While it is clearly a winner in the looks department, the Venus has plenty of practical qualities too. It is winter hardy, very drought tolerant, and resistant to most diseases that threaten other dogwood species. You can plant it as a lawn specimen, or in a woodland or shrub border.

The Venus Dogwood will appreciate organically rich, consistently fertile, and well-draining soil in a location with full sun to partial shade.

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 feet tall, with a 15-18 foot spread

Flowering Season: Late Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

3. Red Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)

Red Bird of Paradise Tree
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

With their bright, delicate, and unusual beauty, the flowers of the Red Bird of Paradise tree will light up your garden for months at a time.

This fast-growing shrub or small tree is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, and it produces gold, red and yellow flowers from spring through to fall. These flowers grow on long stems and contrast nicely with the tree’s feathery, evergreen foliage.

Just keep in mind that the Red Bird of Paradise is hardy down to zone 8b, so if you live in zone 8a you’ll want to provide some winter protection by planting on a sheltered site, mulching and watering regularly, and even wrapping in burlap during the frost period.

If you’re looking for a flowering display that outlasts the rest, the Red Bird of Paradise is for you! Plant it in full sun and moist, well-draining soil, and add it to flower beds, borders, and hedges.

Other Common Names: Barbados Pride, Barbados Flower Fence, Dwarf Poinciana, Peacock Flower, Spanish Carnation, Paradise Flower

Growing Zones: 8b-11 (with protection for zone a)

Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 feet tall, with a 6-12 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring to Fall

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

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry
Images via Nature Hills

Good-looking and versatile, why not consider the Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry for your zone 8 garden?

A naturally-occurring hybrid, this serviceberry variety is a handsome combination of the popular Allegheny serviceberry and downy serviceberry according to the University of Minnesota Forestry Extension. It has inherited several of their beneficial qualities.

Despite its small size, it has a rounded, well-balanced growth habit, complemented by smooth, silver-gray bark with deep fissures that stand out in winter.

And of course, the branches are blanketed in delicate white flowers in spring, followed by blueberry-like edible fruits and blazing orange and red fall foliage that will rival any maple tree.

Unlike many serviceberries the Autumn Brilliance is less likely to sucker, is drought tolerant, and highly adaptable. For best results plant in moist, well-draining soil with full sun to partial shade. It will not tolerate salt in the soil.

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

5. Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina tetraptera)

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

Another gorgeous native for zone 8 gardens is the Carolina Silverbell, originating in the southern Appalachian mountains.

This medium-sized tree can grow with either a narrow, rounded canopy or a wider spreading canopy, and has yellow-green foliage that turns yellow and light brown in fall, adding subtle, understated color to your property.

But of course, the star of the Carolina Silverbell is its pendulous white flowers, which are bell-shaped and grow in long clusters in fall. While it may not be as attention-grabbing as others on this list, there is a subtle, understated grace to this native beauty. It is also hardy and versatile, able to be used as a specimen, understory, or pollinator tree.

The Carolina Silverbell is hardy and easy to care for, with few growing requirements and superior pest and disease resistance. For best results plant it in rich, moist, well-draining soil with an acidic Ph – avoid neutral or alkaline soil.

Other Common Names: Silverbell, Snowbell, Opossum Wood, Common Silverbell, Mountain Silverbell, Shittimwood, Halesia Tree

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 10-40 feet tall, with a 25-35 foot spread

Flowering Season: Mid to Late Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

6. Galaxy Magnolia (Magnolia x ‘Galaxy’)

Galaxy Magnolia
Image by Allen C. Haskell Public Garden via Flickr

Highly underrated given its spectacular appearance, the Galaxy Magnolia is a must-have if you want to wow neighbors and visitors to your zone 8 home. This hybrid magnolia was cultivated by the National Arboretum in 1963 and put into commercial circulation in the 80s.

The vivid pink tulip-shaped flowers of the Galaxy are late-bloomers, arriving in mid-spring to avoid any nasty spells of frost that have been known to kill other magnolia blooms. With its upright, pyramidal form, narrow crown and bright green leaves it adds plenty of beauty outside of its bloom time too.

The Galaxy Magnolia can be sensitive to strong wind so make sure to plant it in a sheltered location on your property. Do not attempt to transplant after planting as it can damage its fragile root system. Otherwise, plant in a sunny spot with moist, well-draining, acidic soil.

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 feet tall, with a 20-25 foot spread

Flowering Season: Mid-Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

7. Kwanzan Cherry (Prunus ‘Kwanzan’)

Kwanzan Cherry Tree in bloom
Image by angela n. via Flickr

This East Asian native is one of the most iconic flowering cherry trees in the world, with entire festivals set up to celebrate its bloom time. The Kwanzan Cherry is a medium-sized deciduous tree with a vase-shaped branching habit.

It comes alive in spring with profuse pink blossoms that will become the focus of the landscape. Though less showy than the flower display, its blazing yellow and bronze fall foliage is stunning too.

Naturally, the dramatic Kwanzan is best used as a focal point in the landscape, but it also looks wonderful grown in lines along streets, paths, and driveways.

With a cherry tree as beautiful as this, you’ll be surprised to hear that the Kwanzan is decently low maintenance and easy to care for. Look out for pests like aphids, borer, and spider mites – according to the University of Florida Extension, pests are the biggest issue Kwanzan growers will face.

Other Common Names: Japanese Flowering Cherry

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 25-35 feet tall, with a 25-30 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Royal Empress (Paulownia tomentosa)

Royal Empress tree in flower
Image by David Saddler via Flickr

With the title of the world’s fastest-growing shade tree, it’s no wonder that many gardeners have considered planting the Royal Empress tree. This Chinese native grows at breakneck speed, up to 20 feet per year!

In just two years you will have a full-sized tree. And what’s more, the Royal Empress is quite beautiful, with its cascading lavender-colored spring flowers and enormous bright green leaves which can grow up to 3 feet across.

This flowering tree is super hardy, adaptable, and pest and disease resistant. Its major requirement is full sunlight, otherwise, it will grow in most soil types and conditions.

But the Royal Empress has a considerable downside which zone 8 gardeners will need to take into consideration. With its impressive growth rate, it is also highly invasive, particularly in the Midwest. Make sure to check its status in your state before purchasing.

Other Common Names: Princess Tree, Royal Paulownia, Empress Tree, Foxglove Tree

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 feet tall, with a 20-30 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

9. Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Oleander tree in flower
Image by abbamouse via Flickr

The Oleander has been planted all over the world since ancient times, and finally made it to the US in the mid-19th century.

It’s a small evergreen with dark green, leathery leaves, and bright pink, extremely showy flowers that will bloom for months. It may be diminutive but the Oleander certainly packs a visual punch.

But its pretty, almost delicate appearance belies an incredibly tough nature. It is resistant to drought, salt, and pollution, and has decent pest and disease resistance. This highly adaptable tree can be grown in most soil types and conditions and is perfect for tough soil and urban gardening.

Like the Royal Empress, in spite of its many virtues, the Oleander does have one (literally) fatal flaw. Every part of the plant is highly toxic, and it should not be burnt or planted in any areas where your pets and children might play.

You will also need to wear protective clothing while handling it, so consider this level of care and maintenance before purchasing.

Other Common Names: Kaner, Rosebay, Rose Bay, Rose Laurel

Growing Zones: 8-10

Average Size at Maturity: 6-20 feet tall, with a 6-10 foot spread

Flowering Season: Late Spring to Late Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

10. Red Horsechestnut (Aesculus x carnea)

Red Horsechestnut tree flowering
Image by chuck b. via Flickr

Appearing in Germany in the early 19th century, the Red Horsechestnut is a medium-sized deciduous hybrid from the genus aescelus. It is an attractive landscaping tree, with a broad, pyramidal form and large bright green leaves that lend it well to use as a shade tree or specimen.

Its best-known visual feature is its spring panicles full of showy red and pink flowers that create a vivid colorful display and contrast nicely with its dense foliage. However, this tree does have one notable drawback that potential buyers should consider.

According to the NC State Extension, spiky seed pods will appear after the flowers and can cause a considerable mess, which might deter some gardeners.

Otherwise, the Red Horsechestnut is easy to grow, its only requirement being well-draining soil as this tree can be susceptible to root rot. Moist, fertile soil with an acidic pH will also yield the best results.

Other Common Names: Ruby Red Horsechestnut, Red Chestnut

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 feet tall, with a 25-30 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

11. Black Diamond “Best Red” Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia BLACK DIAMOND ‘Best Red’)

Black Diamond Best Red Crape Myrtle
Image via Nature Hills

Add some drama to your landscape with the incredible Black Diamond Best Red Crape Myrtle hybrid. Bred to produce a truly standout color display, this cultivar will be unlike anything else on your property, or even in the neighborhood.

The foliage of the Best Red is so dark that it looks black, and its clustered blooms are an intense crimson red and can continue blooming from summer all the way to the first frosts of winter.

The Red Best Crape Myrtle has a shrubby shape and upright form and makes an excellent accent tree, patio tree, or specimen. In groups, it can be used as a living fence or hedge. It will grow well in a large container.

With such a dazzling display you might expect a lot of time and effort to keep this tree thriving, but you’d be mistaken. The Red Best is pleasingly low maintenance, being drought tolerant, disease resistant, and versatile.

Growing Zones: 6-10

Average Size at Maturity: 10-12 feet tall, with an 8-foot spread

Flowering Season: Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

12. Magnolia Butterflies (Magnolia ‘Butterflies’)

Magnolia Butterflies
Image by Allen C. Haskell Public Garden via Flickr

When you think of magnolia flowers you are probably imagining the tulip-like purples or saucer-shaped whites. But the Magnolia Butterflies offer something quite different, with its splayed pale yellow blooms that are often compared to butterflies.

Their color is breathtaking and adds a lightness to the spring landscape, as well as a pleasing lemony fragrance.

The tree itself can be grown as a small, single-stemmed specimen or as a multi-stemmed shrub, and has an upright form and pleasing oval canopy. It can be grown as a focal point, specimen, or border plant, added to flower beds, or grown en masse to create a hedge.

Plant the Magnolia Butterflies in a location with full sun to partial shade, with moist, rich, well-draining soil and an acidic pH. It is susceptible to some pests and diseases, so make sure to plant in a spot with good air circulation and monitor the tree carefully.

Growing Zones: 5-9

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

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

13. Cleveland Pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Cleveland Select’)

Cleveland Pear
Image by Carol VanHook via Flickr

This pear variety may not produce particularly tasty fruits, but it makes up for it as a stunning flowering ornamental. The Cleveland Pear is a lovely formal tree with a pyramidal growth habit and an early spring display consisting of clouds of showy white flowers.

They cover nearly an inch of the tree’s branches, an incredible sight for you and any passerby. This display is followed in fall by rich hues of red and orange foliage.

The Cleveland Pear tree is best used as a lawn or street tree, or an anchor at the corner of your home. In groups, it can also form a screen along your property line.

Though it has its benefits the Cleveland Pear also has its flaws: it is short-lived, with an average lifespan of only 35 to 40 years, and over time its branches become weaker and more prone to breakage.

Growing Zones: 5-8

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

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

14. Black Pearl Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘JN16’)

In a similar vein to the Red Best, the Black Pearl Redbud is a stunningly unique specimen that is guaranteed to grab attention in the landscape.

While it still has the classic heart-shaped leaves of the Eastern Redbud, the leaves of this cultivar are a dark purple color and incredibly glossy, looking almost like they are coated in wax.

Thankfully they do still possess the iconic vivid lavender blossoms of the redbud species, their branches exploding with color in early spring which lasts for weeks. This compact tree is ideal for small spaces. It can be used as a street tree or lawn tree, or grown around patios and in shrub and woodland borders.

Plant the Black Pearl Redbud in full sun to partial shade with moist, fertile, well-draining soil. It is typically pest resistant but keeps an eye out for signs of disease like canker, leaf spot, and verticillium wilt.

Growing Zones: 5-9

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

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Stunning Flowering Displays For Your Landscape

If you’re in the market for a new flowering specimen, you can’t go wrong with any one of these flowering trees. From the iconic Kwanzan flowering cherry to the visually captivating Black Diamond Best Red, these are some of the very best trees for planting in USDA hardiness zone 8.,

Make sure you know what each specific tree requires before making a choice, as many trees will need full sun, specific pH levels, fertilizer, etc to ensure flower production. The last thing you want is a flowering tree with no flowers!

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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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