Trees are the first plants I think about when designing a new garden or landscape. A beautiful tree adds year-round structure to the space. It offers refuge for birds and other wildlife. And it boosts curb appeal and property value. With a wealth of tree varieties available, I can usually find the perfect tree for every garden, no matter how large or small — even for containers for decks and patios. Need inspiration? Read on!
10 feet tall, 15 feet wide
Ultra-hardy and beautiful, Young’s Weeping Birch looks like an umbrella in your landscape. Its stout trunk bursts forth with a multitude of elegant branches that weep toward the ground. This birch is an ideal addition to perennial gardens. Plant low-growing, shade-loving varieties beneath its canopy for a magical look.
Betula pendula Youngii, Zones 2-7
8 feet tall and wide
Limelight Hydrangea is perfect for adding late-summer interest to the landscape. It blooms with big, cone-shaped heads of creamy-chartreuse flowers that go pink as they age. The seasonal show continues into winter when they dry and turn an attractive shade of parchment. Limelight Hydrangea thrives in all-day sun or part shade in the landscape or large containers.
Hydrangea paniculata Limelight, Zones 3-9
10 feet tall, 3 feet wide
Golden Duke® Eastern Hemlock shines with golden-yellow needles that look good all year. This beautiful selection of North American native Eastern Hemlock stays tidy, making it an ideal choice for yards of every size. Enjoy it in woodland gardens, around a partly shaded patio, or to brighten your perennial border.
Tsuga canadensis Golden Duke®, Zones 4-8
10 feet tall and wide
We love this delightful dwarf form of a popular North American native tree. Fox Valley® River Birch adds interest all year to your garden with its peeling bark. In autumn, its rich green leaves transform to a rich gold. It is an excellent anchor to perennial and shrub borders, as a privacy planting, or as a focal point in your landscape.
Betula nigra Fox Valley®, Zones 4-10
15 feet tall, 10 feet wide
Slow-growing and tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, Jade Butterfly Ginkgo adds grace and elegance to gardens with its blue-green fan-shaped leaves. Its display becomes even more eye-catching come autumn when its foliage turns a striking shade of gold. Jade Butterfly is a male variety that does not produce unpleasantly scented fruit.
Ginkgo biloba Jade Butterfly, Zones 4-9
3 feet tall, 5 feet wide
Velvet Viking™ Japanese Maple is a small tree solution for partially shaded spaces. It features finely cut purple-red leaves that add a big dose of color and texture. It also boasts extra hardiness, giving homeowners in Zone 4 the opportunity to enjoy a Japanese Maple. Grow it in as a statement piece, alongside perennials, or elevate it in container.
Acer palmatum Velvet Viking™, Zones 4-9
12 feet tall, 4 feet wide
Magnolias are adored for their beautiful display of springtime flowers. Many grow relatively large, but Burgundy Star is a space-saving columnar variety. This allows it to grace even small landscapes with its large, fragrant, red-purple flowers. It can be used to screen a view, add vertical interest to a garden bed or border, or provide a formal touch flanking a driveway or walkway.
Magnolia Burgundy Star, Zones 5-9
6 feet tall, 5 feet wide
Its small size makes Fragrant Fountain Japanese Snowbell tree a winner for gardens and landscapes. And its beautiful, weeping shape adds interest all year long. In spring, this tree produces clusters of delightfully scented bell-shaped flowers that hang from the branches. Come fall, its foliage turns gold before dropping for winter.
Styrax japonicus Fragrant Fountain, Zones 5-8
10 feet tall, 6 feet wide
Showing off silvery-blue needles that create a cooling touch to the landscape all year long, Horstmann Blue Atlas Cedar adds height and structure, even to small gardens. It thrives in a sunny spot with well-drained soil and can be used for privacy, to anchor shrub or perennial plantings, or act as a focal point.
Cedrus atlantica Horstmann, Zones 6-9
10 feet tall and wide
An elegant shrub or small tree, Shogun® Little Emperor™ Japanese Blueberry Tree delights in all seasons. It bears lush, dark green foliage all year long with spots of bold red as the oldest leaves mature and drop. It blooms in summer with fragrant, creamy-white flowers that turn into attractive blue-purple fruits attractive to birds.
Elaeocarpus decipiens Shogun® Little Emperor™, Zones 8-11
12 feet tall, 8 feet wide
Bonsai Blue™ Jacaranda is an adorable little tree that offers fabulously textured ferny foliage. It also shows off stunning clusters of lavender-blue flowers in late spring and early summer. It is a good landscape problem solver, holding up to heat and tolerating drought once established. These qualities also make it a fine choice for large containers.
Jacaranda mimosifolia Bonsai Blue™, Zones 9-11
5 feet tall, 8 feet wide
Trained as a patio tree, you can enjoy this subtropical shrub in any climate. It thrives as a drought-tolerant annual where temperatures get cold in winter. It also makes for a spectacular evergreen that flowers all year long in areas that do not experience freezing temperatures. No matter where you grow it, Royal Cape® Plumbago’s clusters of sky-blue flowers attract butterflies and other pollinators.
Plumbago auriculata Royal Cape®, Zones 9-11 as a perennial; everywhere as an annual