The daylight hours are lengthening and the Mother Nature is confusing us with the struggle between winter and spring. Bulbs begin to emerge from the ground with grass-like sprouts and tiny buds appear on trees and shrubs. As vibrant pink blooms emerge on defoliated branches, flowering trees often bring the first signs that Spring is near. But, what are these magnificent pink bloomers? Are they all the same tree? Do they all flower at the same time? At the garden center, these are questions we begin to hear every year in mid-February through March. Here, we’ve tried to narrow down the list of the pink blooming trees you may be seeing:
1st Blooms: Japanese Flowering Apricot
One of the very first blooms we see are that of the Japanese Flowering Apricot. These trees often flower in mid-February when the outdoor temps are still quite cold. The most popular cultivar of the Prunus mume is ‘Peggy Clark’ with exquisite double rose, pink flowers with extremely long stamens. The Flowering Apricot tree can grow 10 – 20’ tall in full sun to part shade conditions.
The blooms have a clean spicy fragrance and the tree produces fruit that is small and inedible.
2nd Blooms: Cherries
The next round of pink blooms usually come from the Flowering Cherry Trees. These trees are hard to beat for their incredible floral show in late winter and early spring. There are many different varieties of flowering cherries, each producing blooms at slightly different time periods. Usually, the first to flower is the Okame Cherry (Prunus x ‘Okame’).
The Okame is a fast growing variety of cherry that will perform well even in the coastal south. The Okame can grow 20 – 25’ H x 15’W in full sun and produces clusters of deep rose blooms. Three popular choices of cherry are Yoshino (Prunus x yeodensis), Kwanzan (Prunus serrulata), and Weeping Cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’). Yoshino and kwanzan cherry can both attain heights and widths of 20’, while weeping cherry can reach 12-25’ in height and 15’ in width (depending on cultivar).
For several weeks in spring, these trees are flowering machines that demand attention in the garden. White flowers with a dappled blush pink throat cover the branches on Yoshino while pink carnation formed flowers can be found on Kwanzan. Weeping cherries can flower in either pink or white, depending on which cultivar is chosen.
3rd Blooms: Saucer Magnolia
Saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana) is a fantastic choice for a small growing tree in the landscape. This deciduous Japanese relative to the Southern Magnolia that can achieve heights of 15’ and widths of 8-10’. As one of the earliest flowering trees, saucer magnolia seems to awaken the landscape in March with large purple or pink tulip shaped flowers.
4th Blooms: Redbuds
These native trees provide the splashes of purple and pink that dot the wood lines as you drive along many roads in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Redbuds come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Most redbuds produce very handsome rosy-magenta blooms of small sweet-pea-shaped blooms in spring. A Redbud is a great understory tree and can reach an average height of 15 – 25’ Tall in part sun conditions. This native is drought tolerant and perfect for woodland or naturalized settings.
It’s important to remember that there are many other trees and shrubs that bloom pink in the spring, other than those listed here. This article just focused on those that are the most showy and heavily planted in our area. To discuss more flowering trees give us a call or send us a message. We’re always happy to help you locate the perfect plant for your yard!