27 Flowering Trees That Grow Well in Michigan
If you live in Michigan, picking the right flowering tree for your home or garden space is critical, due to living in a colder climate. While there are several options to choose from, not all trees can withstand harsh winters. In this article, we look at our favorite flowering trees for Michigan home landscaping or gardening spaces.
The state of Michigan’s climate and environment is perfect for growing fruit, vegetables, grasses, vines, flowers, trees, and other landscaping plants. The state has a continental climate, an environment in which flowering trees and vegetation thrive.
Temperature deciduous, temperate evergreen forests, temperate grasslands, temperate woodlands, and coniferous forests flourish in continental climates. In fact, Michigan serves as a home to many beautiful, unique native plants and trees that frequent wildlife visitors like hummingbirds and butterflies.
Michigan is home to two distinct regions that make the landscape unique and prime for different vegetation. Climate Data explains that the southern and central parts of Lower Michigan have a warmer climate (Köppen Dfa) characterized by hot summers and cold winters. Upper Michigan has more severe weather (Köppen Dfb), with short warm summers and long, cold winters.
No matter what part of the state you live in, these 27 beautiful flowering trees will add to any landscape and complement other vegetation in Michigan yards and gardens..
Scientific name: Sambucus canadensis
American elderberry trees grow fast and range from five to 12 feet tall. The tree’s star-shaped, cream-colored flowers make it famous, alongside its production of elderberry fruit.
According to The Department of Natural Resources in Michigan, the American elderberry’s nectar-rich flowers, fruit, and shelter make the tree a prime attraction for wildlife. Birds create nests in elderberry trees, and small mammals pick at elderberry fruit. In early summer, bees and butterflies pollinate the tree’s flowers.
The American elderberry tree is native to Michigan. This well-adapted tree provides beauty, wildlife entertainment, and delicious fruit. What more can you ask for?
Scientific name: Prunus americana
Another fruit-providing tree native to Michigan is the American wild plum tree. As the name implies, the tree grows plums.
The American plum has a short trunk and sometimes resembles a shrub. The 35-foot tree blossoms large white flowers in the spring before the plums ripen in August and September. In the fall, the American plum tree exemplifies beauty with red and yellow leaves.
Humans and wildlife enjoy the American Plum tree’s fruit. Owners of this tree enjoy making the plums into jellies, preserves, jams, and desserts. Some people prune the plums and enjoy them dried.
Scientific name: Tilia americana
According to the Natural Area Preservation of Ann Arbor, the American basswood, also known as the American linden, is a large native tree to Michigan. The tree grows as tall as 60 to 100 feet.
The basswood has lopsided, green, heart-shaped leaves. In the fall, the leaves turn pale green and pale yellow.
The tree grows primarily in Lower Michigan, as the basswood thrives in moist environments. In the spring and summer months, flower clusters form on the leaves that attract bees. The bees use the flower’s nectar for honey, earning the basswood the nickname “the bee tree.”
Scientific name: Viburnum prunifolium
Originally from Missouri, the blackhaw viburnum inhabits Lower Michigan. According to the MSU Natural Features Inventory, these flowering trees live wild in moist woods, oak woods, and floodplain forests.
The blackhaw’s white, clustered flowers bud in early fall, and the tree grows to about 12 to 15 feet. The normally green pointed leaves change to a reddish-purple color in the fall. The flowers also produce edible, small berries.
The tree’s beauty and berries make for a lovely addition to your landscape. Wildlife frequents the blackhaw viburnum throughout the spring, summer, and fall months.
Scientific name: Cephalanthus occidentalis
The buttonbush blooms in the summer and grows up to 12 to 15 feet. Among these flowering trees, the buttonbush’s flowers are unique. The buttonbush flowers often compare to a pincushion because of their needle-like bloom. The flowers are spherical and off-white. The buttonbush’s leaves turn yellow in the fall.
According to Plant it Wild Michigan, the buttonbush attracts lots of diverse wildlife. Ducks and other water birds consume the buttonbush’s fruit seed, and butterflies and bees enjoy the flowers.
Scientific name: Prunus serrulata
The cherry blossom tree is famously associated with Japan. However, this tree can thrive almost anywhere in the United States, living for decades.
The cherry blossom trees in Northern Michigan attract tourists when in bloom. The Old Mission Peninsula is the best place to observe cherry blossom trees in Northern Michigan. This tree shouldn’t be confused with a fruiting cherry tree.
The large tree blooms in April and lives best in moist soil, and can grow up to 40 feet tall. Its green leaves turn brown, red, and yellow in the fall. The clusters of pink flowers the cherry blossom is known for beautifying any landscape.
Scientific name: Prunus virginiana
Chokecherry trees are native to the United States. The average height of the tree is between 10-30 feet. In the fall, the traditional green oval leaves turn yellow.
The chokecherry tree grows thick clusters of white flowers in the summer months. After flower formation, the chokecherry tree grows small cherries. The blossoms attract butterflies, silk moths, and the small-eyed sphinx moth.
Scientific name: Physocarpus
The common ninebark wins as one of the fastest-growing flowering trees. It is quite short compared to other trees, ranging from six to nine feet.
The resilience of the common ninebark tree fares well in harsh weather conditions. The tree forms thick clusters of pinkish-white flowers in the summer months. In the fall, birds, insects, and mammals are attracted to the common ninebark tree’s red fruit.
Scientific name: Malus
According to the University of Michigan Herbarium, the wild spread of the crabapple tree makes the tree difficult to identify. However, the crabapple tree’s fruit and flowers make it easier to identify.
The tree grows up to 40 feet high and blooms white or pink flowers in the springtime. In the fall, the tree produces yellow, green, or red apples. The crabapple looks like a normal apple, except smaller. The fruit also tastes more tart.
Scientific name: Cornus
The flowering dogwood, a Michigan native, produces stunning white and pink flowers in the spring. The flowering dogwood can grow up to 30 feet tall but generally stops growing at about 15 feet.
In the fall, the flowering dogwood produces tiny berries that wild critters enjoy. The leaves turn red and purple in the fall, creating a colorful addition to a yard.
Scientific name: Philadelphus coronarius
The double mock orange tree is native to Europe and still earns itself a rightful spot among flowering trees that will grow well in Michigan. The tree grows fast and forms large white flowers in the middle of spring, just in time for summer.
The flowers provide an orange-blossom aroma, hence the name mock orange. The tree grows to be between ten to 12 feet tall. The mock orange tree is low maintenance, making it a popular choice for landscaping.
Scientific name: Cercis canadensis
According to the Kent Conservation District, the eastern redbud is a small Michigan native flowering tree. At the beginning of spring, the tree blooms small pink colored flowers. Bees and butterflies enjoy the flower’s nectar throughout the warmer months.
In the fall, the eastern redbud produces heart-shaped leaves, and in the winter, the tree forms brown seed pods. Small mammals and birds eat the seed pods. The tree grows between 15 to 30 feet tall. If you are looking for a smaller version, consider a dwarf redbud, which is a flowering tree that’s smaller in stature.
Scientific name: Chaenomeles
The flowering quince is native to Korea and China but has made its way to Michigan. The plant is notoriously charming and messy. In the spring, when the tree blooms, the flowers bloom everywhere in a sporadic yet colorful manner.
The flowers create blossom-shaped flowers in white, red, pink, and vermillion. The flowering quince’s height ranges from ten to 20 feet. This troublesome tree has thorns and branches that grow close together and increase the plant’s messy feel.
The flowering quince also produces a fruit called pome that is safe to eat. The pome ripens in the fall, turns yellow, and has a pleasant aroma.
Scientific name: Forsythia
The forsythia, another foreign tree with flowers, hails from Eastern Asia and Europe. Some people know this tree as a golden bell. The golden bell blooms in the spring and grows between eight to ten feet.
The flowers resemble stars in shape and their golden, yellow color. The leaves are narrow, oval, and green. In the fall, the leaf color sometimes changes into shades of gold and purple. Interestingly, the leaves of the forsythia take a long time to release in the fall.
The forsythia tree is a resilient plant, surviving effortlessly in Michigan’s coldest climates. However, the flowers need warmth to grow and have trouble surviving brutal winters.
Scientific name: Crataegus
Albion College explains that many species of hawthorn trees live throughout Michigan, some native and some not. Overall, hawthorn trees are great for wildlife, providing nectar and pollen for butterflies and bees and fruit for birds and small critters. The hawthorn species blooms in the springtime.
The pasture hawthorn type inhabits many yards in Michigan. The tree grows between 15 to 20 feet high and has large thorns and blue and green leaves. In the spring, white flowers bloom alongside edible fruit. In the fall, the leaves turn into red and orange shades.
Additionally, the green hawthorn populates Michigan. Compared to the pasture hawthorn, the green hawthorn grows much larger, averaging a height of 30 to 72 feet. The tree also has thorns and produces white flowers with small fruits in the spring. In the fall, the tree’s green leaves morph into red and purple colors.
Scientific name: Viburnum trilobum
The American highbush cranberry, a Michigan native, blooms in the summer and grows to be about eight to 15 feet. The tree’s bloom features tiny white flowers surrounded by larger flowers.
In the fall, the dark green leaves turn purple and red. Additionally, the tree bears small red fruits that ripen in late summer and the beginning of fall. The fruits are edible; however, individuals report that the fruit tastes so horrible that it is practically inedible.
The small red berries taste tart and bitter, but the beauty of the tree makes up for it!
Scientific name: Ostrya virginiana
The ironwood tree originates from several states in the US. The tree blooms in the spring and is quite large, ranging from 36 to 72 feet in height.
The flowers produced are lavender, male and female, and come in flowers called catkins. According to the BBC Earth, a catkin is a long slim flower spike that does not have petals. Catkins reproduce as the male flowers pollinate the female flowers.
The Ironwood’s green flowers turn red, orange, and yellow in the fall. Wildlife feeds on the catkins.
Scientific name: Amelanchier
The juneberry tree goes by many other names, such as serviceberry and saskatoon. At the beginning of spring, the juneberry blooms white flowers that attract bees and butterflies. The tree averages a height of ten to 25 feet.
In the fall, the green leaves turn red, orange, and yellow. The flowers produce a small dark-colored berry that ripens in the summer. Birds and mammals feed on the berries. People also report enjoying the tasty fruits.
This tree is pleasing to look at and attracts a variety of wildlife!
Scientific name: Gymnocladus dioicus
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the Kentucky coffee tree does not come from Kentucky. Instead, the tree is native to a variety of states across the country. The plant earns its name from early Kentucky settlers who noticed the tree’s nuts resemble coffee beans.
The Kentucky coffee tree is quite large, averaging a height of 60 to 75 feet. The tree blooms in late spring and early summer, bringing with it clusters of pale green flowers. Female Kentucky coffee trees produce flowers that smell like roses.
In the fall, the Kentucky coffee tree’s blue and green leaves turn yellow. The tree produces seed pods in the fall. It is unclear if the pods are safe for wildlife. Allegedly, the seed pods are toxic to cattle!
Scientific name: Tilia cordata
The little leaf linden is native to Europe. Due to its transplant ability, the tree lives all over the United States, including Michigan. The little leaf linden produces white and yellow clusters of flowers, late in the summer after most other vegetation has already bloomed. The flowers famously smell strong and pleasant.
The tree has green and dark green leaves shaped like hearts. Wildlife enjoys the tree’s flowers and nectar, attracting the likes of bees and butterflies.
The little leaf linden is quite tall, averaging a height of 40 to 80 feet. The height and density of the leaves make the tree prime for shade.
Scientific name: Albizia julibrissin
Most mimosa trees do not fare well in Michigan due to the cold weather. However, the cold-hardy mimosa tree fits well with other flowering trees because of its durability.
The cold-hardy mimosa tree’s resilience makes it resistant to snow and layers of ice. The pink blooms possess the ability to live in extreme temperatures, down to -10 degrees.
The cold-hardy mimosa trees bloom pink flowers in the summer that last until the fall. Wildlife, such as bees and hummingbirds, attract to the cold-hardy mimosa. The tree grows relatively fast and reaches an average height between 20 to 35 feet.
Scientific name: Sorbus subg. sorbus
The mountain ash, another Michigan native, grows white flowers in the spring that turn into beautiful red and orange fruits in the fall. The tree is relatively easy to take care of and grows slowly, reaching a final height of about ten to 30 feet.
The mountain ash’s fruit ripens in the fall and into the winter. Birds and small mammals use the fruit as a source of food during the winter months.
The mountain ash is particularly lovely in the fall, as its leaves turn red, purple, yellow, and orange. The fruit adds to the tree’s beauty.
Scientific name: Catalpa speciosa
The northern catalpa tree, a lovely North American native, blooms in the spring and early summer. The tree is known for its beauty, with its giant heart-shaped leaves, dangling seed pods, white flowers, and lovely trunk. At the end of growth, the tree reaches a height of 40 to 60 feet.
The seed pods start green and progressively turn brown as they ripen. They are filled with seeds that birds, bees, and wildlife feed on. The northern catalpa tree is the sole environment for the catalpa sphinx moth.
Be careful if you add this tree to your landscape! The northern catalpa tree’s fruits and flowers are known to be slippery. This is hazardous in environments where people frequently walk.
Scientific name: Heptacodium miconioides
According to The Morton Arboretum, the seven-son flower is native to China but survives well alongside other flowering trees. The plant grows up to 15 to 20 feet high. The tree features seven-branched clusters of fragrant white flowers that bloom in the fall.
The white flowers develop small, lovely fruits with green leaves. Even after the flower’s petals fall, pink capsules remain on the tree, giving the illusion that the tree is blooming all over again.
The seven-son flower tree provides birds with habitats and food. Additionally, pollinators enjoy the nectar from the flowers. The plant adds beauty to any Michigan landscape season-round and is great for wildlife!
Scientific name: Liriodendron
The tulip tree is native to the eastern United States, including Michigan. The tree blooms in the late spring and early summer, producing a flower with an orange base and yellow and green pedals. The seeds of the tree are also colorful.
The tulip tree is very tall, ranging from 80 to 120 feet in height. The tulip tree is the largest tree of its species in the United States. The tree even wins a spot as the tallest hardwood tree in North America.
The tulip tree has green leaves and produces cone-shaped fruits. In the fall, the green leaves turn into a bright yellow.
Many species of wildlife enjoy the tulip tree year-round. In the colder months, rabbits and deer pick at younger tulip trees. In the spring, the nectar of the flowers attracts hummingbirds. In the summer and into the winter, the tulip tree’s seeds provide food for birds and small mammals.
Scientific name: Quercus alba
The native white oak tree attracts white-tailed deer and small mammals. The tree forms acorns that wildlife particularly enjoy in the fall and winter months, and deer rely on the acorns for a good portion of their diets. Larvae moths also develop inside the acorn, eating the nut before they fully develop into a moth.
Besides attracting an interesting array of wildlife, the tree reaches a height of 50 to 80 feet at maturity. The large tree is particularly lovely in the fall. The leaves are dark green in the summer and develop into shades of brown, red, and orange in the fall.
The white oak tree potentially lives for centuries and adds long-lasting beauty to any landscape. The tree also features white catkins during the blooming season.
Scientific name: Hamamelis
The witch-hazel tree blooms throughout the fall and early winter, making the tree wonderful for landscapes in the fall. The tree is on the smaller side, reaching a maximum height between ten to 20 feet.
The tree produces aromatic red, yellow, and orange flowers from October through December. The witch-hazel’s green leaves turn orange and red in the fall. The tree also lures wildlife such as butterfly larvae, wild birds, and even wild turkeys. Mammals are known to attract witch-hazel trees as well. The tree is hardy, durable in cold months, and has a distinct blooming pattern that makes it easily identifiable.
Lovely shrubs, trees, and vegetation are the foundation of any yard. Fortunately, thousands of flowering trees exist, and the flowering trees we’ve listed here will provide gardeners that call Michigan home many options for their landscape.
Make sure to consider your landscape size and how each tree will interact when the tree is in full bloom. Ensure that anything you introduce into your landscape will not obstruct other plants or affect neighborhood infrastructure.
More so, try to stick with native trees or flowering trees known to fare well in Michigan. Plants that are not native or tested in Michigan may be unable to survive in the climate, hurt your other vegetation, or even harm wildlife.