What tree should I plant for spring blossom in my garden?

Which trees can you use in your garden for a display of blossom in spring?

One of the most beautiful and heartening sights in the garden is the time when in early spring the first rays of slightly warmer sunshine coax the spring flowering trees into opening their buds. 

Trees covered in flowers, particularly those that flower on bare stems, look stunning at the end of a cold and gloomy winter. 

Whilst there are plants to enjoy during winter, the spring blossom signifies the renewal of the seasons and encourages optimism once more by indicating that the weather is turning and the days are lengthening. It's a time when we can start to look forward to everything else in the garden coming back into growth and our plans being finally fulfilled after the stagnation and dormancy of the winter months.  

Now is the perfect time to plant a tree for spring flowering. The soil is still warm enough, and the days long enough, to allow a tree planted now to get established before winter by putting down its roots ready to give you a display of blossom in spring. 

Here are some examples of trees that can bring you much joy in spring if you add them to your garden now. 

Japanese Cherry

In Japan the arrival of the cherry blossom in spring is a national event. Its spread across the country is tracked carefully so that people can visit gardens at exactly the right time to enjoy it. There are even package trips available from the UK to go and see it, including
Wendywu Tours who have some beautiful pictures on their website showing the wonderful cloud like effect of the blossom in white and pink.

There are dozens of varieties of prunus that will give your garden a cloud of pink or white blossom in spring. For a small garden, I have found Prunus "Kojo-no-mai" to be ideal. It doesn't get too big too soon and gives a lovely display of white blossom on bare stems in March.

Spring blossom Prunus Kojo-no-mai Green Fingered Blog
Prunus "Kojo-no-mai" adds a cloud of white blossom to the garden in spring













Cercis siliquastrum - "Judas Tree"

For something slightly more unusual, and more ambitious, try Cercis. It is of Mediterranean origin, so you will need to make sure it is planted in well draining soil. But if you can establish it, what a stunning specimen to have in your garden, with bright pink flowers on almost bare stems. It is a spectacular sight. 

Spring blossom Cercis siliquastrum Green Fingered Blog
Cercis siliquastrum- "Judas Tree"

Apple trees

Many of our traditional fruit trees offer attractive blossom when they flower in spring, including apples, pears and plums. One of the advantages of these kinds of fruit trees is that they are easily trained against a wall, and produce much more fruit when trained and pruned in this way, as well as looking attractive.

GREEN FINGERS TIP: In a small garden it's important to buy apple trees grown on dwarf rootstock, such as M9 or M27 (check the label). This keeps the tree to a manageable size for the space available. Also remember that if you can, plant at least two trees that flower at the same time of year. This increases pollination and gives you more fruit.

Spring blossom espalier apple tree Westbury Court Garden Green Fingered Blog
Espalier trained apple tree at Westbury Court Garden in Gloucestershire


Magnolias have much larger flowers that you perhaps wouldn't describe as blossom in the same way as the cherries and other fruits that have smaller blooms. But they are elegantly statuesque trees that should be considered whenever possible. 

The flowers are tulip shaped and as an added bonus, delicately scented. The fragrance is one which I think is unlike any other in the garden. It reminds me of nothing else, and it is only when the magnolia flowers you can smell it, serving only to make it feel even more special. Magnolias range in colour from pure white to dark purple.

GREEN FINGERS TIP: Magnolias thrive best on acid soil but they're not as reliant on this as azaleas and rhododendrons. My soil is not acidic but I have a magnolia that flowers well. I mixed in some ericaceous compost when I planted it, and mulch it with a layer of ericaceous compost a couple of times a year. I also spread any conifer clippings (as long as they're not diseased) around the base of my magnolia. All this adds food and a little bit of acidity, in a way that happens in woodland where they would naturally grow. 

Magnolia Spring blossom Green Fingered Blog
Magnolia's tulip shaped flowers

If you are considering planting a tree for blossom in spring, there are four suggestions for you. There are dozens of other possibilities though, so what are you thinking of planting? What will be brightening up your garden once winter is through?




  1. I love these flowering trees! We had an apple tree in my backyard growing up and I loved it. I'm needing something to round out my garden space, but I'm not sure if I have room for a tree. Still contemplating that one!

    1. Thanks for commenting. You probably don't need as much room for a tree as you think. Apple trees can be grown on dwarf rootstocks to keep them smaller, and the Japanese cherry I mentioned in the post I have in my garden and it doesn't get too big either.

  2. Wow! I find this very interesting. I love your opening paragraph. Very well written. This is so handy as have a garden that seem to be like nothing but weeds growing. I love the idea of having an apple tree in my garden. I think I will be shopping for one very soon. Thank you so much for your awesome tips. Very much appreciated. Thanks for linking up with #FabFridayPost

    1. Hi, thanks for your lovely comments, glad you enjoyed the post. Follow the Green Fingered Blog and hopefully your garden will be more than just weeds before very long! If you're buying an apple tree, try and get one on a dwarf root stock - like M9 or M27 (shown on the label) and then the tree won't get too big, but will still have plenty of fruit - more fruit if you have two trees close to each other! Good luck!