20 Beautiful Flowering Trees For Illinois Gardens

Are you looking to plant some exquisite flowering trees in your Illinois home? Well, you will be immensely pleased to know that the Prairie State has the soil and climate to grow a wide array of blossoming trees. Read on to find out the best flowering trees in Illinois! 

Formerly covered with huge patches of prairie grass, Illinois’s landscape can be divided into three major regions – The Central Plains, The Shawnee Hills, and The Gulf Coastal Plain. The state is blessed with fertile lands, low hills, high elevations, forests, rivers, smaller hilly regions, and fertile delta. 

Due to its land coverage and mid-continental placement, Illinois has a widely varying climate. However, most of the state enjoys a humid, continental climate with warm, humid, wet summers and cool to freezing cold, windy winters. The state experiences fluctuations in humidity, temperature, cloudiness, and wind directions throughout the year. It also enjoys pleasant, moderate temperatures in spring and fall. 

One of the best known natural resources of the Prairie State is its incredibly fertile soil. This, combined with the ideal weather, makes Illinois one of the best places to grow beautiful flowering trees. If you’re planning to grow a blossoming tree in your home garden, you can experiment with many small, medium, and tall trees, including Oak, Dogwoods, Serviceberry Trees, Maple Trees, Crabapple Trees, White Ash, Sassafras, Yellow Poplar, Magnolias, Crepe Myrtle Trees, Pine, and more.

The best part about growing a flowering tree in your garden is that they quickly become the center of attraction and enhance your home’s curbside appeal. The contrast of colorful blooms against the backdrop of neat grass is incredibly pleasing to the eye. Plus, many of these trees will invite colorful buzzing bees, chirping birds, and swishing butterflies to your garden. 

So, without any ado, let’s take a look at some breathtaking flowering trees in Illinois! 

1. Crabapple

  • Malus sylvestris
  • Flowering in: Spring
  • Height: 40 ft
Malus sylvestris
Hans Hillewaert Malus sylvestris

The Crabapple Tree is a versatile, medium-sized ornamental tree that features deciduous, pointy-tipped, green, oval leaves and clusters of fleshy, tart, green, red, and yellow-hued apples. This Asian, European, and North American native grows beautiful clusters of pink and white blossoms. It has reddish-purple to yellowish-orange fall foliage. This tree thrives in sun-kissed or speckled locations and needs moist, well-drained soils for steady growth. 

2. Japanese Tree Lilac

  • Syringa reticulata ivory silk
  • Flowering in: Early Summer
  • Height: 15-25 ft
28562804 view of japanese tree lilac or syringa reticulata full of flowers in the springtime popular zaimov park district oborishte
Yay Japanese tree lilac (syringa reticulata) full of flowers in the springtime.

Japanese Tree Lilac is a small-sized ornamental tree that grows multi-trunked. You can also trim this award-winning tree to have a solitary trunk. It features dark green leaves that contrast exceptionally well with its copious, large, pendulous clusters of creamy-white, scented, minute flowers. This hardy, low-maintenance tree grows well in sunlit spots and medium moist, well-drained soils. 

3. Pagoda Dogwood/Alternate Leaved Dogwood

  • Cornus alternifolia
  • Flowering in: Spring
  • Height: 30 ft
Cornus alternifolia argentea
peganum Cornus alternifolia argentea

Alternate Leaved Dogwood Trees are medium-sized eastern North American natives. These gorgeous ornamental trees yield pale yellow or white blossoms. They also bear bluish fruits and feature horizontally winding branches and red-purple fall foliage. Pagoda Dogwood tends to thrive in sheltered or speckled spots and needs moist soils for steady growth.  

4. Serviceberry 

  • Amelanchier arborea
  • Flowering in: Spring
  • Height: 10-25 ft
Downy Serviceberry
Dan Mullen Downy Serviceberry

Also known as Downy Serviceberry, these trees are small-sized, flowering specimens. They feature abundant drooping clusters of 5-petaled, slightly aromatic, white blossoms that bear minute, black or purple-hued, rounded berries. This northeastern US native features oval, dark green, small foliage that turns orange, red, and yellow in autumn. Serviceberry Trees grow well in sunlit spots and acidic, well-drained, moist soils. 

5. Seven-Son Flower

  • Heptacodium miconiodes
  • Flowering in: Summer
  • Height: 10 ft
Heptacodium miconioides Seven Son Flower Tree
K M Seven-Son Flower Tree( Heptacodium miconioides )

Seven-Son Flower Trees feature slender, medium-green, shiny, ovate-oblong foliage. This multi-stemmed Chinese native shrub has a fountain-like crown adorned with seven-branched clusters of creamy-white, aromatic blossoms. Each branch grows six blossoms that are followed by miniature, purplish-red fruits. This deciduous tree thrives in sun-kissed locations and well-drained, medium moist soils. 

6. White Ash

  • Fraxinus alba
  • Flowering in: Spring
  • Height: 50-80 ft
White Ash foliage during autumn
Famartin White Ash foliage during autumn

White Ash is an eastern North American native. This tall-sized, primarily deciduous tree has a pyramidal shape that matures into a rounded one. It produces clusters of apetalous purplish blossoms that give way to drooping clusters of winged samaras. This tree features compound, odd-pinnate, oval too lanceolate-oblong, dark green leaves with whitish-green undersides. It has purple to green fall foliage. White Ash grows well in sunlit, wind-protected areas and moist, well-drained, organically rich soils. 

7. Sassafras

  • Sassafras albidum
  • Flowering in: Spring
  • Height: 30-60 ft
Sassafras albidum.
Picasa Sassafras albidum.

Sassafras is a medium-sized, deciduous, ornamental Missouri native with a dense, pyramidal crown. It produces greenish-yellow blossoms that grow in clusters. The flowers give way to small pendulous clusters of bluish-black berries. It features variable, ovate, three-lobed, bright green leaves white undersides. This tree has excellent purple, yellow, and red fall foliage. Sassafras Trees thrive in sun-kissed or speckled locations and well-drained, acidic, moist, loamy soils. 

8. Desert Willow Tree

  • Chilopsis linearis
  • Flowering in: Spring-Summer
  • Height: 30 ft
desert willow chilopsis linearis tree
calpoly.edu Desert Willow (chilopsis linearis) tree

Desert Willow Tree is a popularly grown native ornamental tree originating in the northern areas of the US. This medium-sized specimen is planted for its rapid growth, twisted trunk, and exotic, purple or dark pink, 5-petaled blossoms. The distinctive flowers feature yellow and white strikes running through their centers. This drought-tolerant tree features slender twigs and deciduous green foliage. Desert Willow grows well in sunlit areas and well-drained spots. 

9. Yellow Poplar

  • Liriodendron tulipifera
  • Flowering in: Late Spring and Early Summer
  • Height: 70-90 ft
Liriodendron tulipifera
Crusier Liriodendron tulipifera

Yellow Poplar or Tulip Poplar is a majestic, tall-sized, columnar, deciduous, ornamental, eastern North American native that features a broad conical or pyramidal crown. It’s loved for its cup-shaped, tulip-like, yellow flowers that feature a prominent orange band at the base of each petal. The blooms are followed by scaly, dry, oblong, cone-shaped brown fruits. This tree features four-lobed, bright green foliage that offers golden yellow color in fall. Yellow Poplar Trees thrive in organically rich, moist, well-drained loams and sun-kissed areas. 

10. Flowering Dogwood

  • Cornus florida
  • Flowering in: Spring
  • Height: 25 ft
Cornus florida.
H. Zell Cornus florida.

Flowering Dogwood is an incredibly popular native specimen. With a medium height, deciduous leaves, and a flat-topped, pyramidal or rounded crown, this flowering tree yields compact clusters of minute white blossoms that shoot from pink bracts. This northern Mexican and northern US native has oval green foliage that turns purple-red in autumn. Dogwoods grow well in organic, well-drained soils and speckled spots. 

11. Carolina Silverbell

  • Halesia carolina
  • Flowering in: Spring
  • Height: 30 to 40 ft
Halesia carolina.
Meneerke Bloem Halesia carolina.

Carolina Silverbell is an attractive, low-maintenance, understory flowering tree. Blessed with a wide-spreading, rounded crown, this southeastern US native produces clusters of two to five white, bell-shaped blossoms. This tree has dark yellowish-green, finely toothed, ovate foliage. It tends to thrive in sun-kissed or speckled locations and acidic, well-drained, moist, rich soils. 

12. Cleveland Pear Tree

  • Pyrus calleryana
  • Flowering in: Late Winter to Mid Spring 
  • Height: 30-40 ft
Callery Pear Pyrus calleryana
Frank Richards Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)

Cleveland Pear Tree, also known as Bradford Pear or Callery Pear, is an ornamental, medium-sized, drought-tolerant, and fast-growing tree. This Chinese and Vietnamese native features dark green, ovate, alternate leaves, upright branches, and an attractive, upright, narrow crown. It has red, plum, orange, and mellow golden yellow fall foliage. It produces spectacular clusters of pure white flowers. This tree grows best in sunlit spots and well-drained, somewhat alkaline, organically rich, medium moist loams. 

13. Southern Magnolia 

  • Magnolia grandiflora
  • Flowering in: Spring to Early Summer
  • Height: 37 ft
Magnolia grandiflora.
KENPEI Magnolia grandiflora.

Southern Magnolias are beautiful medium-sized ornamental trees loved for their huge, cup-shaped, aromatic, creamy-white flowers. This US native flowering tree features a sturdy stem, a dense crown, and dark green, evergreen, leathery leaves with rusty brown bases. This tree tends to thrive in sun-kissed or speckled areas and well-drained, organically rich, moderately-watered soils. 

14. Pink Velour Crape Myrtle

  • Lagerstroemia indica pink velour
  • Flowering in: Mid-Summer to Fall
  • Height: 10-20 ft
Lagerstroemia indica Pink Velour
enbodenumer Lagerstroemia indica ‘Pink Velour’

Pink Velour Crape Myrtle is an upright, small-sized, multi-stemmed, deciduous tree with thick, leathery, burgundy to purplish-green leaves. It has orange-brown fall foliage. This tree produces terminal crepe-papery clusters of magenta-pin blossoms that grow on upright branches. The flowers give way to round seed capsules. This tree grows well in full sun and well-drained, medium moist, well-drained clay and loamy soils. 

15. Autumn Cherry Tree

  • Prunus subhirtella ‘autumnalis’
  • Flowering in: Spring
  • Height: 20-30 ft
Prunus subhirtella Autumnalis.
David J. Stang Prunus subhirtella Autumnalis.

Native to Japan, Autumn Cherry Tree or Higan Cherry is a deciduous, small-sized, hybrid tree with pale pink or white, double, non-fragrant blooms. It also bears pea-sized blackish fruits. Higan Cherry features lanceolate to ovate green foliage that turns yellow in autumn. This tree thrives in fertile, well-drained, moist loams and full sun or partial shade, but flowers best in full sun. 

16. Oklahoma Redbud

  • Cercis reniformis ‘Oklahoma’
  • Flowering in: Spring
  • Height: 40-50 ft

Oklahoma Redbud is a compact and broad-rounded variety of the popularly grown Eastern Redbud. It produces darker, rosy magenta to red wine-colored flowers. This medium to tall-sized deciduous flowering tree features rich green leaves with a glossy and waxy finish. It grows best in full sun to partial shade and well-drained, medium moist, fertile soils. 

17. Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea Shrub

  • Hydrangea paniculata ‘renhy’
  • Flowering in: Early Summer to Spring
  • Height: 6-7 ft
Hydrangea paniculata Renhy
Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz Hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy’

Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea Shrub is a small-sized, deciduous, upright, rapidly-growing shrub cultivar of Hydrangeas. It features dark green leaves and weighty panicles of showy, sterile flowers that are white when they bloom and then turn pink to pinkish-red to Strawberry red in maturity. This tree thrives in full sun to partial shade and well-drained, organically rich, medium moist soils. 

18. KV’ Flowering Plum Tree

  • Prunus cerasefera ‘krauter vesuvius’
  • Flowering in: Spring
  • Height: 15-20 ft
Prunus cerasifera Krauter Vesuvius.
David J. Stang Prunus cerasifera ‘Krauter Vesuvius’

KV’ Flowering Plum Tree is a purple-leaved cultivar of Cherry Plum. It’s a small-sized, deciduous tree with a spreading, shrubby, dense, upright, rounded crown. This popular landscape ornamental tree produces abundant fragrant, 5-petaled, pink flowers that give way to somewhat sweet, small, edible fruits. It features ovate to elliptic, serrate leaves that mature into a stunning dark reddish-purple hue. It grows well in full sun and medium moist, well-drained loams. 

19. Japanese Snowbell Tree

  • Styrax japonicus
  • Flowering in: Mid Spring
  • Height: 20-30 ft
Styrax Japonicus Pink Chimes
David J. Stang Styrax Japonicus – Pink Chimes

Japanese Snowbell Tree is a deciduous, medium-sized flowering tree with a rounded crown and horizontal branches. This tree produces pendulous, drooping clusters of mildly fragrant, bell-shaped, 5-petaled, waxy white blossoms. It features upright-facing, elliptic-ovate, glossy, and medium to deep green foliage that turns red or yellow in autumn. The flowers give way to greenish-brown, olive-shaped drupes. Japanese Snowbell thrives in full sun or partial shade and medium moist, acidic, well-drained, organically rich soils. 

20. Chinese Fringe Tree

  • Chionanthus retusus
  • Flowering in: Spring
  • Height: 25-30 ft
Chinese Fringe Tree
Puddin Tain Chinese Fringe Tree

Chinese Fringe Trees are medium-sized eastern US natives that yield flopping clusters of creamy-white, fringe-like, scented blossoms. These deciduous trees feature arrow-elliptic or oblong, spear-shaped, waxy, dark green foliage that turns yellow in autumn. Fringe Trees have a rounded, spreading crown that is adorned with olive-like, bluish-black fruits. These trees grow well in sun-kissed or speckled spots and well-drained, moist, fertile soils.