Spring-Flowering Trees That Deserve a Wider Audience

Dan Schuknecht, Horticulturist
May 3, 2023


Elevate your garden with these unique flowering trees

After the gray days of winter, spring flowers lift our spirits.

Bulbs lead the way, but remember: Flowering trees are just as

important to the spring landscape. Most people are familiar

with crabapples, cherries, and magnolias. Of course they’re

undeniably spectacular in the spring, but these common species

aren’t the only trees that flower early in the season. Here are

other spring-flowering trees that deserve attention.

Catalpa speciosa is a large tree native to Southern Illinois. It

sometimes has a bad reputation as messy, but the spring flowers

that cover the tree in late May are worth the trouble – the white,

orchid-like flowers perfume the air down the block. They grow

quickly to shade-tree stature, with large, heart-shaped tropical-looking

leaves. C. speciosa is sometimes known as cigar tree or

Indian bean, for the long, thin seed pods present through autumn.

Some of these trees may be difficult to find for purchase, but

they’re worth the effort. Species diversity benefits your garden,

and native plants have fewer pest and disease problems. The

flowers on these trees may be more subtle than crabapples and

magnolias, but including them will make your garden richer.