10 Best Small Trees for Your Landscape

Small trees are a perfect choice for landscaping when you want to add a touch of beauty without overwhelming your space. They may not reach towering heights, but these 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.

1. Crabapple (Malus selections)

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.

  • 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

2. Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

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.

  • Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil
  • Size: Up to 10 feet tall
  • Zones: 5-9

3. Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia selections)

A common sight in Southern gardens, 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.

  • 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
  • Note: In some areas, crape myrtles are considered invasive.

4. Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida selections)

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.

  • 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

5. Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa selections)

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’.

  • 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
  • Note: Kousa dogwood is invasive in certain areas, so be sure to check before planting it.

6. Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana)

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.

  • Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil
  • Size: Up to 25 feet tall and wide
  • Zones: 4-9

7. Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

Native to parts of Eastern North America, fringe tree is a versatile plant you can grow as a large shrub or small tree. Fringe trees offer 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.

  • 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

8. Golden Chain Tree (Laburnum x watereri)

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.

  • Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade in medium moisture, well-drained soil
  • Size: Up to 30 feet tall and wide
  • Zones: 5-7

9. Carolina Silverbell (Halesia tetraptera)

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.

  • 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

10. Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)

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.

  • Growing Conditions: Full sun in medium moisture, well-drained soil
  • Size: Up to 25 feet tall and 35 feet wide
  • Zones: 3-7

These small trees are sure to enhance the beauty of your landscape without taking up too much space. Choose the ones that best suit your garden’s needs and enjoy their beauty year-round!

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