Glorious color hard to resist

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.

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.

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.

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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... ...it 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

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

Norway maple
peony,   purple leaf plum
quince
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

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).

Cherries

Weeping cherry (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula')

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

Crabapples

Crabapples (Malus hybrids and cultivars)

Elm

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)

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

Forsythia species

Fothergilla

Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii)

Grapeholly

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

Hawthorn

Hawthorn (Crataegus ssp.)

Jetbead

Jetbead (Rhodotypos scandens)

Kerria

Kerria japonica

Lilac

Lilac (Syringa hybrids and cultivars)

Magnolia

Magnolia (Magnolia cultivars and hybrids)

 

Oak

Red oak (Quercus rubra)

Plum

Purple leaf plum (Prunus cerasifera)

Quince

Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)

Redbud, Eastern redbud

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Rhododendron and azalea

Rhododendron (azaleas are Rhododendron cultivars and hybrids)

Viburnum

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

Leatherleaf viburnums (Viburnum rhytidophyllum, V. x rhytidophylloides)

Sandcherry

Purple leaf sandcherry (Prunus x cistena)

 

Wisteria

Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)

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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