10 USDA Zone 4 Flowering & Ornamental Trees

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Written By Elaina Garcia

Green Thumb & Homesteader

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Home » USDA Zone 4 » 10 USDA Zone 4 Flowering & Ornamental Trees

Zone 4 flowering and ornamental trees can add a flare of beauty to any landscape. Many fruit trees flower, giving growers an added bonus since they get to see and taste the fruits of their labor.

For those living in zone 4 (see all USDA planting zones here), you know how bitterly cold the winters can be. That said, your plants and trees have to be rather cold-hardy.

No worries; various flowering and ornamental trees will thrive in that environment.

Let’s dive into some incredible ornamental trees for zone 4.

10 Hardy Flowering & Ornamental Trees For USDA Zone 4

1. Purple Robe Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

Purple Robe Locust Tree
Image via Wendy Cutler via Flickr

While the purple robe locust tree is a relative of the black locust, it doesn’t produce nearly as many thorns. The long clusters of fragrant, wisteria-like flowers bloom a beautiful lavender-purple color and can grow up to eight inches long.

Purple robe locusts grow fast, with an average growth of 2 to 3 feet a year! It’s said that these trees are incredibly easy to grow, and they require little care.

This locust tree grows well by streets and roadsides. However, they can reach up to 40 feet tall with a spread almost equally as large, so choose your location wisely.

Purple robe locusts are hardwood trees that can handle storms really well. Another great thing about these beautiful specimens is that they can grow in various soil conditions as long as it drains quickly after rain.

While this locust tree doesn’t provide anything edible for humans, the flowers are excellent and beneficial for bees, butterflies, and insects.

During the spring, the leaves begin to emerge with their reddish bronze color before they mature into a dark blue-green. The large compound leaves of the purple locust have smaller blue-green leaflets that give it a fine-textured appearance during the summer.

One thing to be mindful of is when you prune this tree, it’s best to prune them during the spring when the flowers have finished blooming; otherwise, you’ll miss the beauty of it all.

Other Common Names: Purple Robe Black Locust – Purple Robe Common Locust

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size At Maturity: 30-40 feet high and a 20-30 ft spread

Flowering Season: Mid to Late Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

2. Dolgo Crabapple (Malus ‘Dolgo’)

Dolgo Crabapple tree
Mona El Falaky via Pixabay (not exact cultivar)

The Dolgo Crabapple tree was brought to the US from Russia in 1897. No wonder it’s as cold-hardy as it is.

This tree not only provides beautiful blooms but tasty crabapples as well. I know they’re not as sweet as a gala or golden delicious, but they’re for making jellies, jams, and preserves because they’re naturally high in pectin.

Growers will notice that their Dolgo crabapple trees have an extended season of blooms. It is resistant to apple scab and fire blight.

In early April, the Dolgo crabapple begins sprouting apricot-pink buds that bloom into fragrant, self-pollinating flowers. Growers get to enjoy these beauties for weeks after they bloom.

The Dolgo variety of crabapple makes an excellent pollinator for other apple trees, not only itself.

During the autumn, the shiny deep-green leaves turn an incredibly bright yellow color bound to brighten your landscape. They look incredible along property lines and as accent trees too.

During the winter, the small yet persistent fruit can be seen hanging like ornaments on a holiday tree. It’s a beautiful sight to behold, but it’s also an excellent food source for songbirds during the cold months.

Other Common Names: Crab Apple, Crabapple

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size At Maturity: 20-25 feet tall with a 20-30 ft spread

Flowering Season: April-May

3. Prairifire Crabapple (Malus ‘Prairifire’)

Planting prairifire crabapple trees on your property will provide you and passersby an exceptional view year-round. I love that the scenery changes with each season but remains equally as beautiful.

During the spring, the warm colors are welcoming with their beautiful purple and red leaves, and pink-magenta flowers will begin to bloom, adding touches of vibrancy.

The winter view doesn’t disappoint, either. Prairifire’s bark is a blended mix of gray and deep orange, with cute cherry-like berries hanging on in the colder months. While the first frost usually has an impact on plants and trees, the prairifire crabapple stands strong and warm, reminding us of warmer days.

Many people looking for pink flowering and ornamental trees avoid fruit-bearing varieties because the falling fruits land in the yard. However, these crabapples will feed numerous birds, so there shouldn’t be much of a mess to worry about.

One final note about this tree before we move on is that, unlike other crabapple varieties that succumb to diseases, the prairifire does not. Meaning you won’t have to be bothered with keeping a lookout for pesky pests and illnesses.

Other Common Names: Crabapple, Crab Apple

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size At Maturity: 15-20 feet tall with a 15-20 ft spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

4. Royal Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

Royal Star Magnolia
Image by John Brighenti via Flickr

Royal star magnolia trees are incredibly beautiful. All varieties of magnolia trees are stunning, but there is something extraordinary about the 4-inch double-blossoms; their natural star shape is unlike any flower I’ve seen.

These beauties won’t disappoint growers. Royal star magnolias are incredibly prolific bloomers, with the flowers covering nearly the entire tree.

If you’ve ever smelled the sweet fragrance of a magnolia tree, you, too, know how amazing it is. The pretty and fragrant flowers are the only reasons one needs to invest in one or two of these babies, and if those aren’t enough, here are a few more.

  1. They’re late blooming. While a freeze is concerning for those who grow magnolias, the royal star blooms after the threat of a freeze have passed.
  2. Royal star magnolias are adaptable as shrubs. Some magnolia varieties are enormous, but because they only grow between 10-20 feet, they can be pruned and trained to be large shrubs!
  3. They might be “royal,” but they’re relatively low-maintenance.

Other Common Names: Royal Magnolia, Magnolia, Star Magnolia

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size At Maturity: 10-20 feet tall with an 8-15 ft spread

Flowering Season: Late February to April (depending on location)

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

5. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Eastern Redbud Flowers
Image by Mike Goad via Pixabay

I absolutely adore the redbud trees growing throughout the property here. The flowers bloom early to mid-spring, but the beauty extends into the summer, with the fading flowers giving way to the precious heart-shaped leaves.

Eastern redbuds are beautiful, compact in size, and resilient. It’s no surprise that they’re one of the most popular trees for rural and residential properties.

How the clusters of magenta-colored buds swell into the beautiful rosy pink flowers is incredible. Did I mention that these long-lasting blossoms can last up to three weeks after emerging?

Eastern redbud trees adapt to various conditions but do best in moist, well-drained locations. These pretty flowering trees can also thrive in most soil types and levels of sun exposure.

The modest size of redbud trees allows them to work well as understory trees.

Other Common Names: Redbud, Judas-Tree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size At Maturity: 20-30 feet high with a 25-35 ft spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

6. Limewood (Tilia cordata)

Limewood, Linden Tree with yellow flowers
Image via Nature Hills

Limewood trees can grow to be quite large, reaching up to 60 feet tall. Their sheer size makes them excellent shade trees.

The spicy-scented pale yellow flowers bloom during the early summer, supporting bees and other pollinators. The limewood or linden tree provides seeds and shelter for various songbirds.

While this tree’s pyramidical and triangular shape makes it look like an evergreen, it’s actually deciduous. The straight, tall trunk and branch structure add an elegant appeal to all landscapes.

As these trees mature, they develop into an incredible upright, oval canopy. When June hits, the trees will produce an abundance of 2-3 inch clusters of incredibly fragrant, light yellow flowers.

The warm spicy scent is so refreshing. When autumn rolls around, the trees begin developing a different shade of creamy yellow for a nice change of scenery.

Songbirds make homes in the boughs of the trees, and they will feast on the small round nutlets that form from the flowers.

Other Common Names: Basswood, Linden, Teil

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size At Maturity: 40-60 feet high with a 20-30 ft spread

Flowering Season: Spring

7. Purple Leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena)

Purple Leaf Sand Cherry
Image by Matt Lavin via Flickr

The purple leaf sand cherry provides fantastic scenery with its striking purple foliage and pinkish-white flowers. During the autumn, the leaves change from purple to bronze-red.

Not only is this tree an ornamental gem, but the tiny cherries attract various birds.

This tree/shrub looks incredible when planted near an entranceway or anywhere it grows. No matter the season, it brings an air of beauty to any landscape.

Believe it or not, this tree is a member of the rose family!

The purple leaf sand cherry grows small dark purple cherries that are sometimes unnoticeable, but the birds won’t miss them. As the summer begins to come to a close, these cherries will be a healthy boost for the birds in your area.

Other Common Names: Purpleleaf Sandcherry, Purple Leaf Sandcherry, Purpleleaf Sand Cherry

Growing Zones: 4-7

Average Size At Maturity: 6-8 feet tall with a 7-8 ft spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

8. Wisteria (Wisteria Sinensis)

Matthias Böckel via Pixabay

Wisteria trees have such a whimsical bloom that people cannot help but fall in love with them repeatedly. These trees have been known to grow rather large in southern climates, but that doesn’t make them exempt from growing well in colder regions like zone 4.

Every year between the months of April and June, the fragrant, violet-blue flowers cover the tree like a blanket. These delicate blooms dangle in weeping clusters like a flower chandelier; it’s incredible.

Wisteria is so easy to take care of it practically tends to itself. Amazingly, this tree is deer and drought-resistant and is generally unaffected by pests and diseases.

Other Common Names: Chinese Wisteria, Water Wisteria

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size At Maturity: 6-10 feet high with an 8-10 ft spread

Flowering Season: Early May

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

9. Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Tulip Poplar
Image by Buddha Dog via Flickr

Tulip poplars seem like a magical tree out of a book. Just when you notice a few blooms, the next thing you know, the tree is blanketed with richly-hued flowers.

That said, the blooms can take 10-15 years to develop, but their beauty is unmatched.

During the summer, this tulip poplar makes an excellent shade tree. Once fall makes its way in for the season, the tulip poplar leaves turn a bright yellow adding flare to any landscape.

Tulip poplars are incredibly resistant to disease and insects, making them easy trees to grow. It’s quite adaptable to various soil types, including wet soil!

Other Common Names: Tulip, American Tulip Tree, Tuliptree, Tulipwood, Whitewood, Fiddletree, Yellow-Poplar

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size At Maturity: 70 feet high with a 30-40 ft spread

Flowering Season: Late May to Mid June

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

10. Pink Weeping Cherry (Prunus subhirtella var. pendula)

Pink Weeping Cherry Tree
Image by steviep187 via Flickr

Weeping trees are so lovely, which is why the pink weeping cherry is on this list. The pink blooms stand out during the summer.

Weeping cherry trees are fast-growing trees, and their branches grow upright before cascading down like a chandelier. The way they grow makes them perfect for small spaces while leaving a profound impression.

During the spring, the branches will be studded with pink blossoms, and the leaves will change to a beautiful bright yellow color during the fall. Needless to say, this tree will add a level of brightness to your landscape, even when it snows.

Other Common Names: Weeping Cherry Tree, Weeping Higan Cherry Tree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size At Maturity: 20-30 feet high with a 20-30 ft spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

Hardy Flowering & Ornamental Trees For Zone 4

USDA Zone 4 might experience frigid, snow-filled winters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have flowering and ornamental trees.

The purple leaf sand cherry and royal star magnolia are incredible sights to behold. You have options when it comes to sizes, colors, and fragrances.

Do you have any favorites on this list?

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Elaina Garcia

Green Thumb & Homesteader

Elaina has had her hands on the Earth since she was little. For over a decade, she’s been tending gardens and learning about plants and trees. A seasoned writer with a green thumb, Elaina loves to write about everything from gardening and homesteading to health and wellness. When she’s not in the garden, you can find her in the chicken coop, with her rabbits, or somewhere in the woods with her cats and dog.

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