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12 Washington State Flowering Trees to Brighten Up Your Yard


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Washington state is blessed with beautiful natural landscapes for you to enjoy just about anywhere you look. Known for plentiful rainfall, the vegetation in parts of the state can be lush and verdant throughout the year.

From snowcapped volcanic mountains to the pacific ocean and fertile agricultural land, Washington’s landscape can be stunning.

Whilst our busy modern lives don’t always make it possible for us to get out and appreciate natural beauty as much as we might like, it’s always possible to bring the beauty and bounty of nature to the home landscape. What better way to do so than by planting flowering trees?

Read on for twelve flowering trees you can grow in Washington state to bring the beauty of nature to your own yard.

12 Flowering Trees that Grow Well in Washington

1. White Dogwood (Cornus florida)

White Flowering Dogwood
Image by suzyq55 via Flickr

The White Dogwood features luscious dark green foliage and dense clusters of white flowers. Fall sees the leaves turn beautiful shades of scarlet, meaning even long after the flowers have faded, the White Dogwood still provides a show for any onlookers.

The White Dogwood grows to a compact size, yet still offers a profusion of flowers, making it suited to those with smaller spaces who want to maximize the ornamental value of their space. White Dogwoods will adapt to many different kinds of soils, including acidic, loamy, rich soils, as well as clay, and will also tolerate drought.

Other Common Names: Flowering Dogwood

Growing Zones: 5-8

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

Flowering Season: Spring

2. White Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus var. maritimus)

White Fringe Tree flowering
Image by Nature Hills

The White Fringe tree is a star of the flowering spring garden when fragrant flowers emerge with delicately textured petals that cover the small-sized tree.

Whilst the white fringe is often one of the latest trees to come into leaf in the spring, it’s worth the wait as the abundant flowers appear at the same time, bringing a flood of life into the garden. The flowers appear to be laced with white fringe, which gives the tree one of its common names.

Whilst it may look delicate, the White Fringe is a hardy tree, capable of withstanding harsh inner city conditions such as air pollution. Trees can be either male or female, with female flowers giving way to small olive-like fruit less than an inch long that ripen in late summer and are hotly anticipated by local birds. The leaves are dark green and ovoid, and turn golden-yellow before being shed in the winter.

Other Common Names: Grancy Grey Beard, Fringe Tree, American Fringe Tree, Old Man’s Beard, and Sweetheart Tree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

3. Kwanzan Cherry (Prunus ‘Kwanzan’)

Kwanzan Cherry Tree Flowering
Image by Drew Avery via Flickr

The Kwanzan Cherry is the most prolific bloomer of all the flowering cherry trees. The flowers have a stunning pink color and are actually double flowers, meaning they provide twice as much blossom and petals as other flowering cherry trees and appear in clusters of 3-5. Kwanzan cherries are also incredibly hardy, tolerating a diverse range of conditions.

The flowers appear in the spring and last for several weeks. In the fall the leaves turn golden before being shed. The Kwanzan cherry will grow best in moist well-drained soils.

Other Common Names: Japanese Flowering Cherry, Kanzan Cherry, and Sekiyama Cherry

Growing Zones: 5-9

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

Flowering Season: April – May

4. Japanese Snowbell (Styrax japonicus)

Japanese Snowbell flowering
Image by Wendy Cutler via Flickr

The Japanese Snowbell features white flowers with 5 petals in clusters of 12, delicately perched on the horizontal branches. The flowers are bell-shaped and give way to small olive-colored fruit (drupes) with a gray color that ripens in late summer, persisting until fall.

Japanese Snowbell trees can spread as wide as they are tall, and this coupled with the dense flowers and foliage creates a rounded shape and pleasant drooping appearance.

Mature trees can develop mottled barks that exfoliate to reveal orange streaks on the inner bark, providing some color to the dullest period of the year. Japanese Snowbells need medium moisture, well-drained soil rich in humus and organic matter with a slightly acidic pH.

Other Common Names: Japanese Snowbell Tree

Growing Zones: 5-9

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

Flowering Season: May – June

5. Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Tulip Poplar flowering
Image by Aiko, Thomas & Juliette+Isaac via Flickr

The Tulip Poplar is a native hardwood flowering tree that can be used for shade. Contrary to its common names, the Tulip Polar is neither related to tulips nor poplars. Instead, the flowers and possibly the leaves are said to resemble tulips and are greenish/yellow, with hints of neon orange. They have a tidy upright growth habit.

The leaves are somewhat star-shaped and large in size, in proportion to the large flowers. They have a bright green color and turn yellow in the autumn. Its naturally conical canopy means you won’t need to do any major pruning. The Tulip Poplar adapts to many different soil types including wet soil as well as dry areas.

Other Common Names: Tulip Tree, Yellow Poplar

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 60-90 ft tall and 30-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: May – June

6. Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis)

Yoshino Cherry Tree flowering
Image by Bernard Spragg via Flickr

The Yoshino Cherry rewards growers with its iconic cherry blossom at the beginning of spring. Flowering cherries are held in high regard by lovers of flowering trees as they’re one of the first to burst into flower each spring, heralding the start of the growing season. The flowers are snow white and are held on an unusual branching pattern.

The Yoshino cherry is tolerant of drought and a range of different soil conditions. Whilst it does produce edible fruit, they are small, not particularly tasty, and are devoured by birds. If you’re looking to plant a fruit tree in your WA yard then there are plenty of other trees for you to choose from.

Other Common Names: Japanese Flowering Cherry, Tokyo Cherry, Potomac Cherry,

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 ft tall and 25-40 ft wide.

Flowering Season: March/April (early spring)

7. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Eastern Redbud Tree flowering
Image by Dan Keck via Flickr

The Eastern Redbud is another flowering tree that signals the beginning of spring. It’s a native tree that looks stunning in natural-style plantings either alone or planted in small groups. Spring sees the arrival of magenta/lavender/violet flowers that come to life off the naked branches much before the arrival of the heart-shaped leaves.

Being native trees, they’re easy to care for and their small size makes them suited to small spaces. The crown of the Eastern Redbud is rounded and the heart-shaped leaves cast a delicate shade in the summer months before turning yellow in the fall.

Winter sees small dangling purple seed pods. In the wild it grows alongside rivers and streams as an understory tree, so appreciates moist soil and partial shade.

Other Common Names: Judas Tree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 15-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: March/ April (early spring)

8. Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana)

Saucer Magnolia tree flowering
Image by John Rusk via Flickr

The Saucer Magnolia produces giant saucer-sized flowers in the spring, with shades of white

pink, and purple blush over the white interior. The flower buds are held as goblets amongst the branches. The flowers are sweetly fragrant and can measure 5-10” across and appear in early spring but can reappear in summer and even in winter in warmer areas.

The foliage is large and broad with smooth edges and downy undersides. It grows in a neatly symmetrical form with a rounded crown and dense branching that provides a habitat for birds.

Fall sees the leaves turn brownish/yellow and long brown seed pods reveal orange/red seeds peering out of the fuzzy pod. Saucer Magnolias can be trained as small trees or shrubs depending on your preference and pruning.

Saucer Magnolias are adaptable when it comes to soil types but do best in acidic, moist well-drained loams and have moderate drought tolerance once established.

Other Common Names: Chinese Magnolia, Tulip Magnolia, Japanese Magnolia, and Pink Magnolia

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring primarily. Sometimes in summer and even winter in warmer areas

9. Ohio Buckeye Tree (Aesculus glabra)

Ohio Buckeye flowering
Image by Dan Keck via Flickr

The Ohio Buckeye features a round and upright form. The flowers are creamy yellow and appear on long pannicles, with an orange/reddish center, hanging just over the tree’s canopy. The flowers last a number of weeks and are frequented by butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

The summer foliage is also pleasing to admire, as is that of the fall, when the color changes to shades of orange and red. The canopy is broad and oval and the branches provide shelter for numerous types of birds and other animals. The nuts are also favored by squirrels. It’ll tolerate wet soils as well as periodic drought.

If you’re after a flowering tree that attracts lots of different species of local wildlife, then consider the Ohio Buckeye.

Other Common Names: Horse Chestnut, Fetid Buckeye, and Stinking Buckeye

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 ft tall and 30-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: Mid-to-late spring

10. Vitex Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus castus)

Vitex Chaste tree flowering
Image by peganum via Flickr

The Chaste Tree features large bold blooms that persist over a long period of time. It has a vase shape and is naturally a large shrub, though is often trained as a single-trunked tree.

It’s drought-hardy and tolerates cold weather, and requires little upkeep. The flowers are large fragrant and lilac-colored, appear early in the summer, and can persist right up until the first frost date. The fragrant flowers attract a plethora of animals, such as bees, birds, and butterflies.

Plant the Vitex Chaste Tree in full sun in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil.

Other Common Names: Vitex, Chaste Tree, Chaste Berry, Abrahams Balm, Monk’s Pepper

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 8-15 ft tall 5-8 ft wide

Flowering Season: Early summer to fall

11. Bubba Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis ‘Bubba’)

Bubba Desert Willow Tree flowering-
Image via Nature Hills

The Bubba Desert Willow features large trumpet-shaped lavender, magenta, and violet blossoms that are sure to turn a few heads. The flowers are covered in layers of ruffles that lend an elegant charm to the landscape from the summer to the fall.

The intricacies of the flowers are virtually unparalleled and they attract a vast array of pollinators to your yard, which will have innumerable benefits both for your and the environment.

The leaves of the Bubba Desert Willow are long and narrow, 3-5” long, and resemble willow trees, hence the common name. The leaves tend to point upwards or outwards from the branches. The Bubba Desert Willow is not a true willow, and the canopy attains a full and rounded shape. Being a native of Arizona, it’s capable of withstanding heat and drought.

Plant in full sun in well-drained soil for best results. Be sure to check the hardiness map of WA to know if your winter lows will support this tree.

Other Common Names: Desert Willow

Growing Zones: 5-9

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

Flowering Season: Summer to fall

12. Robinson Crabapple Tree (Malus ‘Robinson’)

Robinson Crabapple tree flowering
Image via Nature Hills

Spring sees the Robinson Crabapple tree covered in abundant luscious pink flowers with a sweet, subtle smell that draws in all kinds of pollinators from near and far. The new growth that appears at this time also has a pink hue, which contrasts fantastically with the bright green of other leaves.

Fall sees the leaves turn orange/bronze whilst the dark red fruit hangs off the branches. The fruit can persist into the winter, and this, alongside the textured bark means you can appreciate the beauty of the Robinson Crabapple throughout the seasons.

Plant in well-drained organically rich soil.

Other Common Names: Robinson’s Crabapple

Growing Zones: 4-8

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

Flowering Season: Spring

Floral Delights For WA Gardeners

Whilst WA is blessed with unparalleled natural beauty and wildly different landscapes, homeowners aren’t always able to appreciate the great outdoors.

Planting flowering trees allows you to appreciate the miracle of nature, right from your doorstep. By planting species with different flowering times, you can extend your annual home floral show.

Not only will this benefit you and your senses, but local pollinators will certainly thank you too.

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