Winter Flowering Trees: There are fewer trees to choose from that bloom during the coldest time of year, but the choices are beauties.
Cornus mas, corneliancherry dogwood, Zones 4-7. The tiny yellow blooms that cover this small winter flowering tree before the leaves emerge create a lovely glow to herald the approach of spring. Makes a nice specimen or screen and is most effectively using against a darker background to showcase the spring color.
Cornus officinalis, Cornel dogwood, Zones 5-8. This late winter to early spring blooming member of the dogwood family is similar to Cornus mas and blooms at the same time, though the flowers are a little showier and the bark is more ornamental.
Magnolia zenii, Zen's magnolia, Zones 6-8. This winter blooming magnolia, from China, is a recent introduction to the United States, and is one of the first magnolias to bloom (January to February) with flowers similar to M. X soulangeana and fragrant.
Parrotia persica, Persian ironwood, Zones 4-8. This member of the witchhazel family is an outstanding small winter blooming tree or large shrub that deserves wider use. Not only does it provide winter flowers of deep red ( though small, actually the stamens) that are long-lasting, but the new leaves emerge reddish-purple, it has beautiful exfoliating bark, and the fall color is outstanding too. A tree for all seasons.
Prunus mume, Japanese flowering apricot, Zones 6-9. An interesting small winter flowering tree that produces pale pink winter flowers on bare green branches.
Prunus 'Okame,' Zones 6-8. One of the loveliest of flowering cherries for winter and one of the earliest to bloom is 'Okame,' a hybrid between P. campanulata and P. incisa with lovely deep pink blooms and greaterhardiness from its P. incisa parent.
Prunus subhirtella var. autumnalis, autumn flowering cherry, Zones 5-8. Some of the delicate pale pink flowers open in the autumn and sporadically during a mild winter to finish with a flourish in late winter to early spring. A lovely winter flowering tree to use as a specimen in the garden.
Plant of the Month