5 Trees that WOW! (Z: 8 – 11)

Trees. Prominent, long-lived, and valuable, they set the look for the landscape helping to determine both the style and function of the outside space. Most yards will have “heritage” trees such as oaks, maples, and birches which can be relied upon to provide the shade in summer we crave as well as the scale necessary to balance a building’s soaring planes.

But, there’s another type of tree that’s equally important–the WOW tree. They have remarkable foliage or flowers or fruit or bark (sometimes all the above), and even when not doing their thing, always looks fantastic. A great landscape will have both types of trees.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started on adding some leafy eye-candy to your space. (Check out this post for other plants that might work in your zone. Not sure of your zone? Map here.)

Fragrant Himalayan Champaca

How to describe the scent? Imagine a combo of freesia, plumeria, orange blossoms, and Southern magnolia. Or, “Joy” perfume? That’s this tree. Big and evergreen with a bonus of fragrance from spring to summer blooms. Reaches up to 30 ft. tall and wide. Zone: 10 -11

Teddy Bear® Southern Magnolia

A useful, compact, evergreen tree with supersized fragrant spring flowers and shiny, dark-green leaves with reddish-brown undersides. Ideal for a lawn tree or at the corner of the house. Reaches up to 20 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide. Zone: 7 – 9

Summer Chocolate Mimosa

A fixture in hot, humid southern states since circa 1745! Why? Rich chocolate-burgundy summer foliage, and fragrant pink powder-puff flowers that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Reaches 20 ft. tall, 15 ft. wide. Zone: 7 – 10

Arapaho Crape Myrtle

From the explosion of red flowers from July to September and increased powdery mildew tolerance, to how it sails through drought and holds it’s sizzling color even in high temps, this is a keeper for small, challenging spaces. 20 ft. tall, 10 ft. wide. Zone: 6 – 9

Kadota Fig

Rumoured to be the fig in the Newtons! Large, signature leaves, sculptural form, and the especially sweet late-summer fruits it produces, makes this a lovely tree in all seasons. Grows well in large containers, too. Reaches up to 25 ft. tall and wide. Zone: 7 – 9

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