Glorious color hard to resist

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Kwanzan or Yoshino cherry tree (Prunus serrulata varieties) and dwarf lilac (Syringa patula) do not usually bloom together. However, in some places and some years April and May species can overlap, and then these make a good combination. 

It's a feast for the eyes, a breakfast for the soul. We fall in love with color so easily in spring that even non-gardeners say of something seen in bloom,"That's it, it's perfect for that spot I have to plant." At the garden center that person says, "I don't know what it is except it's (name a color)."

Here's a line up to help you identify unknown spring beauties. We've included many that star from late April up to about Memorial Day across the middle of North America. (Stretching into early June, farther north).

Color key: A quick link-list by color

By plant name: Link-list of plants included in this article

However, before you note a plant's name and run out to buy it, click on its name or photo here. That will take you to the plant's summary page where we list what's good, great or simply essential to know.



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Color key

To find a plant by its color or to look for trees and shrubs that bloom the color you need:
     • Do a quick scroll of this whole article, stopping each time you see that color.
     • Or click through the plants listed below for the color you're seeking.


See this color in spring on a tree or shrub... may be a: 
(Many species have a wide range in bloom color. Links below take you to more information about the species; photos there may not portray the species' entire spectrum.)
White andromeda, azalea, bridal veil spirea, callery pear, cherry (pie-, weeping-, others), crabapple, flowering dogwood, Fothergilla, fragrant Viburnum (Burkwood, Koreanspice, Judd, others), hawthorn, horsechestnut, leatherleaf Viburnum, lilac (common- and tree liac), Magnolia, mock orange, Rhododendron, serviceberry
Pink azalea, cherry (Kwanzan-, weeping-, others), crabapple, flowering dogwood, flowering almond, hawthorn, Magnolia, mountain laurel, Rhododendron, sandcherry
Red azalea, quince, red maple, red horsechestnut, Rhododendron
Violet crabapple, lilac (common- and dwarf lilac), redbud, Rhododendron, Wisteria
Maroon (leaf color) barberry, crabapple, Japanese maple, Norway maple, peony, purple leaf plum, shrub rose
Blue vining Clematis montana
Yellow-green elm, Norway maple, red oak, sugar maple
Yellow azalea, clove currant, Cornelian cherry, Forsythia, grapeholly, Kerria, Magnolia
Orange azalea

This key is a good start but not without bumps. For instance, some people say quince is orange but we've listed it as red because we most often hear people refer to it that way. Viburnums are another example. We list them as white even yet there are a few uncommon pinks, and some are pink in bud before they open to white.

Plants pictured here

callery pear,    cherry,     crabapple,
dwarf lilac (photo at top of this article)
flowering almond,   flowering dogwood,   Forsythia,   Fothergilla,    fragrant Viburnum (Burkwood, Koreanspice, Judd, others),
Japanese maple
,   Kwanzan cherry,
leatherleaf Viburnum,   lilac

Norway maple
peony,   purple leaf plum
red maple,   red oak,   redbud,   Rhododendron,   rose
sandcherry, sugar maple
tree lilac
weeping cherry,   Wisteria

Plant in our chart or list has no link?

Use our Search for more information, which is almost certainly here. The links featured here are specifically to spring portraits. For instance, dwarf lilac features in a great pruning article but its spring color is secondary there.


Barberry (Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea) with Judd Viburnum (Viburnum x juddii).


Callery pear, flowering pear

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) varieties  'Bradford' (left) and 'Chanticleer' (right).

CallBrad6976.jpg CallNarrow6977.jpg


Weeping cherry (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula')

WpChryBroad6999.jpg WpChryTall7000.jpg


Kwanzan cherry  (Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan', P. x 'Yedoensis')

KwanChry7003.jpg KwanChryFlw7005.jpg


Crabapples (Malus hybrids and cultivars)

Crab6905.jpg CrabSmWhtBroad7050.jpg PnkWpCrab6947.jpg CrabSmWht6927.jpg


American elm (Ulmus americana)

Below: Camperdown elm (Ulmus glabra 'Camperdownii')


Flowering almond

Flowering almond (Prunus triloba)


Flowering dogwood

Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida hybrids and cultivars)

FLDog6995.jpg CreamFlwDog.jpg PnkDgwd6945.jpg FlwDog6998.jpg FlwDgwdPnk7058.jpg

Most spring blooming dogwoods have lacy flowers, or are creamy white. The popular shrub dogwoods (redtwig, yellowtwig) bloom white. The flowers of North American native pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) are lacy and creamy white.


Forsythia species


LrgLLfVib6988.jpg LrgLLfVibFlwr6989.jpg VibLLf6969.jpg VibAllghy7040.jpg


Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii)

Foth6963.jpg Fothergilla6968.jpg


Grapeholly (Mahonia aquifolium 'Compacta', M. repens?)

MahoniaComp7038.jpg MahoniaRepens7072.jpg


Hawthorn (Crataegus ssp.)

Hawthorn6908.jpg WashHaw6978.jpg


Jetbead (Rhodotypos scandens)

Jetbead7031.jpg JetbeadFlw7035.jpg


Kerria japonica

Kerria4262.jpg KerriaDbl6956.jpg


Lilac (Syringa hybrids and cultivars)

Lilac7020.jpg LilacBlu7062.jpg SmPnkLilac6932.jpg DpPkLilac6936.jpg LrgPnkLilac6916.jpg


Magnolia (Magnolia cultivars and hybrids)

SaucMag6941.jpg NarrowMag6959.jpg MagYlwLrg7079.jpg MagYlwSm7054.jpg MagRdBd6952.jpg


Red oak (Quercus rubra)

RedOak7137.jpg  RedOakFlw7145.jpg


Purple leaf plum (Prunus cerasifera)

PurpleLvPlum7153.jpg  PurpleLfPlum7007.jpg


Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)

QuinceLilac7023.jpg Quince7024.jpg

Redbud, Eastern redbud

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Redbud6958.jpg RedbudSm7041.jpg

Rhododendron and azalea

Rhododendron (azaleas are Rhododendron cultivars and hybrids)

RhodoWht7064.jpg AzaleaPnk7043.jpg RhodoPnk7067.jpg PJM7047.jpg Rodo6982.jpg PJMPnk6966.jpg


Fragrant viburnums (Viburnum carlesii, V. x judii, V. x burkwoodii)

VibCarl6938.jpg  VibJud6943.jpg  VibBurk7069.jpg

Leatherleaf viburnums (Viburnum rhytidophyllum, V. x rhytidophylloides)

LrgLLfVib6988.jpg LrgLLfVibFlwr6989.jpg VibLLf6969.jpg VibAllghy7040.jpg


Purple leaf sandcherry (Prunus x cistena)



Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)

Wisteria6948.jpg WistFlwr6950.jpg


Maroon foliage, other colors, too!

Don't forget the foliage color which can be as beautiful as the flowers.

Below (right to left): Yellow leaf Norway maple (Acer platanoides 'Princeton Gold', seen far less often than the purple leaf A. p. 'Crimson King'), Japanese maple (Acer palmatum atropurpurea) and flowering crab (Malus hybrid).




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