18 Small Trees That Will Add Tons of Color to Your Landscape

Golden Chain Tree Laburnum x watereri
Photo: Bill Stites

They may not reach towering heights, but small trees can still pack a big punch in your landscape. Whether you've got a modest-size yard or are just running out of room to add more plants, these varieties will fit in perfectly.

01 of 18

Crabapple

Pink Crabapple Malus
Denny Schrock

Add spectacular seasonal flair to your landscape with crabapples. There's a wide array available that bears flowers in shades of white, pink, and red. Whether they have weeping, rounded, or columnar habits, they're known for producing orange, gold, red, or burgundy fruit. 'Prairifire' is a standout variety that has dark pink flowers, reddish-purple foliage, and great disease resistance. Another popular variety is 'Centurion' which has rose-pink flowers, an upright shape, and great disease resistance.

Name: Malus selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: From 6 to 30 feet tall and wide, depending on variety

Zones: 4-8

Buy It: Prairie Fire Flowering Crabapple Tree Bare Root ($25, The Home Depot)

02 of 18

Redbud

redbud cercis canadensis with pink flowers near blue house
Jerry Pavia

Valued for its outstanding display of pink or white flowers in spring, redbud is an easy-to-grow small tree with delightful heart-shape leaves that turn golden-yellow in fall. 'Forest Pansy' is a standout variety that has purple foliage which fades to dark green in late summer. Also look for 'Silver Cloud' which has white-splashed leaves. 'Royal White' clearly stand apart from other flowering tree varieties with its pure-white flowers.

Name: Cercis canadensis

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 10 feet tall

Zones: 5-9

Buy It: Eastern Redbud Tree with Pink Blossoms ($30, The Home Depot)

03 of 18

Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle Lagerstroemia
Gordon Beall

A Southern-garden gem, crape myrtle offers big clusters of frilly flowers in shades of pink, red, lavender, or white in summer and fall. Many varieties show off beautiful red, yellow, or orange foliage in autumn, as well as interesting patches of green or silver on the underside of their peeling cinnamon-color bark. 'Arapaho' is a standout variety that has red blooms and purple-tinged foliage and good disease resistance. 'Catawba' is also a great pick with its purple flowers, brilliant fall color, and good disease resistance.

Name: Lagerstroemia selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: From 6 to 25 feet tall and wide, depending on variety

Zones: 6-9

Buy It: Coral Pink Sioux Crape Myrtle Tree ($37, The Home Depot)

04 of 18

Flowering Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood Cornus florida
Allen Rokach

One of the most beautiful North American native trees, flowering dogwood bears pink or white springtime flowers, bright red fruits in late summer, and outstanding purple-red fall foliage. If you're looking for a slightly unique dogwood, check out the variegated foliage and rich pink blooms of 'Cherokee Sunset'. Also consider looking at 'Cloud Nine', a floriferous variety with extra large blooms.

Name: Cornus florida selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: From 15 to 30 feet tall and wide, depending on variety

Zones: 5-9

Buy It: White Flowering Dogwood Tree ($35, Lowe's)

05 of 18

Kousa Dogwood

flowering dogwood kousa cornus treet
David A Land

Count on kousa dogwood to put on a terrific spring show with its attractive pink or white blooms. This small ornamental tree keeps performing once spring ends. It bears red fruits in late summer and wonderful reddish-purple autumn foliage. It's typically more disease-resistant than its North American cousin, flowering dogwood. If you're looking for a variety that has a lot of blooms, consider planting 'Milky Way'. Another outstanding bloomer with pink flowers is 'Satomi'.

Name: Cornus kousa selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: From 15 to 30 feet tall and wide, depending on variety

Zones: 5-8

Buy It: Kousa Japanese Dogwood ($10, Etsy)

06 of 18

Saucer Magnolia

Saucer Magnolia Magnolia x soulangeana
David Speer

Offering some of the most beautiful flowers of any tree, the saucer magnolia has large blooms that appear in shades of white, pink, and purple in mid- to late spring.

Test Garden Tip: Do some research before buying a magnolia to make sure you have the best selection for your climate. Some types, while hardy, suffer flower damage from late frosts.

Name: Magnolia x soulangeana

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 25 feet tall and wide

Zones: 4-9

Buy It: Saucer Magnolia Soulangeana

07 of 18

Fringe Tree

Fringe Tree Chionanthus virginicus
Susan A. Roth

Native to parts of Eastern North America, fringe tree is a versatile plant you can grow as a large shrub or small tree. It offers clouds of fragrant white flowers in late spring that turn into clusters of blue-purple fruits in fall. The fruits are sure to attract birds.

Name: Chionanthus virginicus

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: From 12 to 20 feet tall and wide

Zones: 3-9

Buy It: White Fringe Tree

08 of 18

Golden Chain Tree

Golden Chain Tree Laburnum x watereri
Bill Stites

Magnificent when it blooms in late spring and early summer, golden chain tree produces hanging clusters of yellow flowers that resemble wisteria. Its flowers give way to seedpods that ripen in the fall. The tree's green, clover-like foliage is attractive, too.

Name: Laburnum x watereri

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 30 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-7

Buy It: Golden Chain Tree ($35, Etsy)

09 of 18

Carolina Silverbell

Carolina Silverbell Halesia tetraptera
Susan A. Roth

Enjoy a delightful early-spring show from Carolina silverbell. This small ornamental tree (or large shrub, depending on how you prune it) displays dangling clusters of white bell-shape flowers just before it leafs out. Then in fall, its foliage turns a delightful shade of yellow. Named varieties of this tree can be hard to come by, but look for 'Rosea', which has pink flowers or 'Tyler's Variegated', which has yellow-and-green foliage.

Name: Halesia tetraptera

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 40 feet tall and 35 feet wide

Zones: 4-8

Buy It: Carolina Silverbells ($12, Etsy)

10 of 18

Hawthorn

Hawthorn Crataegus crus-galli
Peter Krumhardt

Attracting pollinators in early summer with sprays of fragrant, white flowers, hawthorn is a dense, low-branched tree that is armed with numerous large thorns. In late summer and fall, it attracts birds with its small red fruits. The orange-red autumn color adds another layer of appeal.

Name: Crataegus crus-galli

Growing Conditions: Full sun in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 25 feet tall and 35 feet wide

Zones: 3-7

Buy It: Washington Hawthorn Tree

11 of 18

Japanese Maple

‘Bloodgood’ Japanese maple Acer palmatum
Adam Albright

Few plants are more beautiful than a Japanese maple in its full fall finery. And happily, there are numerous ways to use this little tree in your yard; try it as a specimen in a partly shaded spot, for example, or use it as a focal point in a mixed border. 'Bloodgood' is a common selection with fine-texture burgundy foliage that turns red in autumn. 'Sango-kaku' is another great choice that has red branches that stand out after it loses its foliage in fall.

Name: Acer palmatum selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 20 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-8

Buy It: Bloodgood Japanese Maple ($25, Etsy)

12 of 18

Serviceberry

Serviceberry Amelanchier 'Autumn Brilliance'
Marty Baldwin

The ultimate small tree (it's also native) for four-season beauty, serviceberry bears clusters of slightly fragrant, white flowers in drooping clusters before the leaves emerge in early spring. The flowers give way to small, round green berries which turn red and mature to delicious dark blue fruits which are often used in jams, jellies, and pies. The finely toothed leaves have outstanding red fall color. In winter, its silvery gray bark adds interest.

Name: Amelanchier selections

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 25 feet tall and wide

Zones: 4-9

Buy It: Serviceberry Plant

13 of 18

Mountain Stewartia

Mountain Stewartia Stewartia ovata
Stephen Cridland

An elegant small tree with beautiful flowers in midsummer, mountain stewartia is an uncommon tree that deserves a prominent position in your landscape. It's noted for its camellia-like flowers and dark green summer foliage. This relatively slow-growing native of Southeastern North America puts on a terrific fall show when the leaves turn orange and red.

Name: Stewartia ovata

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 15 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-9

Buy It: Mountain Stewartia

14 of 18

Snowbell

Snowbell Styrax japonicus
Stephen Cridland

Offering subtle beauty to the landscape, snowbell produces white bell-shape flowers that hang from the branches among the leaves. Its mildly fragrant blossoms become blue-gray fruits in fall when the leaves turn shades of reddish-yellow. Some standout varieties include 'Pink Chimes' bears pink bells instead of white; 'Pendula' has an exceptionally graceful weeping form; and 'Crystal' has a columnar form.

Name: Styrax japonicus

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 30 feet tall and wide

Zones: 5-9

Buy It: Japanese Snowbell Tree

15 of 18

Pagoda Dogwood

Pagoda Dogwood Cornus alternifolia
Stephen Cridland

A favorite of wildlife gardeners, pagoda dogwood is a North American native species that produces clusters of blue-purple berries in summer that attract birds. The early-summer flowers attract bees and other pollinators, too. Like other dogwoods, this tree develops wonderful fall color and tolerates shade. Be sure to look for the following varieties with amazing fall color: 'Golden Shadows' has bold, yellow-edge foliage in spring and summer; 'Argentea' has leaves edged in white; and Gold Bullion has golden-yellow foliage.

Name: Cornus alternifolia

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 25 feet tall and 32 feet wide

Zones: 3-7

Buy It: Pagoda Dogwood Seeds

16 of 18

Japanese Tree Lilac

Japanese Tree Lilac Syringa reticulata
Marty Baldwin

If you love lilacs, check out Japanese tree lilac. This species has clusters of fragrant creamy-white flowers in early summer, after all the other lilacs have finished blooming. Though its fall color isn't particularly showy, the shiny copper-color bark stands out in winter. If you're looking for an especially floriferous variety, consider 'Snowdance'; it blooms at a younger age than most. 'Golden Eclipse' is another showstopper with its golden-edge foliage.

Name: Syringa reticulata

Growing Conditions: Full sun in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide

Zones: 3-7

Buy It: Japanese Lilac Tree

17 of 18

Chaste Tree

Chaste Tree Vitex agnus-castus
Dan Piassick

If you're looking to add a tree to your drought-tolerant garden plan, consider planting a chaste tree which starts its show in early- to mid-autumn, producing delightful clusters of lavender, blue, or white flowers. The toothed, dark-green foliage is attractive from spring to fall and makes a wonderful foil for the flowers. Two standout varieties are 'Abbeville Blue' with its deep blue flowers and 'Silver Spire' with its pure-white flowers. This tree may be considered invasive in some areas, so check to see if it's problematic in your area before planting it.

Name: Vitex agnus-castus

Growing Conditions: Full sun in medium moisture, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide

Zones: 6-9

Buy It: Chaste Purple Ornamental Flowering Tree

18 of 18

Powder Puff

Powderpuff Calliandra haematocephala
Peter Krumhardt

Whether you grow it as a large shrub or prune it as a small tree, powder puff will delight you with its fluffy and fragrant red, pink, or white summertime flowers. It's a heat-loving, drought-resistant variety good for the warmest areas of California, Texas, and Florida.

Name: Calliandra haematocephala

Growing Conditions: Full sun in moist, fertile soil

Size: Up to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Zones: 9-11

Buy It: Red Powder Puff Plant

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