Planning a garden encompasses a lot of different ideas and aspects of the trees you plant. One big one revolves around the blooms produced by that tree. Many gardeners try to plan their plants, large and small, so that they have blossoms of some sort the year around. Blossoming feature trees can be an important part of your garden planning.
What’s in a Bloom?
Tree blossoms can have many different purposes. From the tree’s perspective, the blossoms attract insects, birds or even animals who help pollinate them. These same creatures may eat the fruits and thereby spread the seeds, along with a side helping of fertilizer for the future young tree. From the gardener’s perspective, those same blooms might be deliberately planted to attract a specific pollinator. But they might also be planted for their color, size, aroma, or fruit. Having blooms or color throughout as many seasons as possible adds interest to gardens, both for enjoyment and as a compass for the seasons.
Planning for Year Around Blossoms
Knowing the life cycle for the plants in your garden is an important part of horticultural planning, right along with soil types, rainfall, companion planting, and more. To help you plan for your garden of beautiful blossoms, here are ten blossoming feature trees from our nurseries.
- Glauca Grass tree (Xanthorrhoea Glauca) Grass trees bloom infrequently, but when they do it is in the spring. Prolific blossoming is stimulated by bushfires, and some gardeners therefore use fire to prune Xanthorrhoea Glauca. It is a good idea to keep in mind that not all varieties of Xanthorrhoea respond positively to fire, nor is it absolutely essential to trigger blooming. Grass trees put up a tall stalk that produces an abundance of waxy white blooms that are highly attractive to bees and other pollinators. While not especially aromatic, the blossoms have a sweet nectar that enables using them to make a sweet drink.
- Queensland Bottle tree (Brachychiton rupestris) Queensland bottle trees are native to Australia, and bloom from around September to November, which, for our friends who are not from Australia, is springtime for the island continent. Bottle tree blooms frequently appear in late spring. They are creamy white with purple streaks. The aromatic blossoms are highly attractive to all sorts of nectar and pollen loving creatures.
- Avocado (Persea Americana) Avocados were originally from the tropical parts of the Americas, but have naturalized well around the world, including in Australia. Therefore, they bloom in late winter or early spring. An avocado tree, dripping with hundreds of greenish white blossoms, is quite a showy sight. For best fruiting, temperatures need to remain above ten degrees C. The avocados prolific blossoms are largely self-pollinating, but since the male and female blossoms open at different time, having at least two trees facilitates the process. The individual blooms are aromatic, and some varieties of avocado blooms are ground and used as spice.
- Olives (Olea europaea) Olive trees are ancient, hardy growers that originated in the area around the Mediterranean. Over time, they have acclimated to nearly every continent in the world where there is compatible weather. In Australia, they bloom in early spring and are wind pollinated. With this in mind, two or more trees facilitates pollination. If you hope to harvest fruit, check the variety you are purchasing as some types are intended strictly as foliage ornamentals.
- Tahitian Lime (Citrus x latifolia) Tahitian limes are a human created hybrid that has characteristics of lime and lemon. A Tahitian lime tree will typically bloom in early spring, but in hospitable climates, it might very well bloom and produce fruit all year. It is completely possible to have a Tahitian lime tree that has delicate, fragrant white blossoms, green lime-like fruit, and yellow fruit that more closely resembles a lemon all on the same tree at the same time! Tahitian limes trees are much favored by swallowtail butterflies.
- Giant Tree Aloe (Aloidendron barberae) Aloe barberae is the largest of the tree aloes. Originally from South Africa area, it has readily adapted to Australia. Its most striking feature is the fleshy “leaves” at the end of each branch, but it also puts on magnificent blooms in winter, which makes it an excellent choice for continuing blooms into the cooler part of the year. With that said, it is essentially a tropical plant, and it can be damaged by excessively cold weather. The booms are a magnificent pink/orange color and appear on each “head” of the aloe tree. Other varieties of tree aloe have different bloom colors. In their native habitat, they are pollinated by sunbirds. They are highly attractive to nectar or pollen loving birds, but might attract some insect pollinators as well.
- Mango (mangifera indica) One can hardly say the word without envisioning the lush, plump fruit that is lightly yellow with a blush of red, and oh, so very tasty. But before the beautiful fruit comes the dense, greenish yellow blooms that occur in profusion all over the tree. While not a particularly prepossessing blossom, the flowers’ delicate scent presages the delicious fruit to come.
- Native Australian finger limes (Citrus australasica) Finger limes are a native Australian treat. They have a limited fruiting season and the tiny limes do not keep well. But, oh, while they are in season they are delicious. Perhaps it should, therefore, come as no surprise that the blossoms are white with a delicate pink tint that is uniquely beautiful. Like many flowering plants that are native to Australia, they are loved by a variety of insects and birds who feast on these spring blossoms.
- Yucca Filifera (yucca Filifera) Sometimes known as chadaub, is one of the largest and fastest growing of all the yucca trees. As a youngster, it will have tall stem with the leaves growing all down the sides. As it ages, the leaves drape down and shroud the central stem. It blooms in summer. In the United States, where it is native, it will bloom in July or August. The blossoms are said to be edible, and it is much loved by bees and hummingbirds. It makes an amazing feature tree, perfect for sandy loam or dry areas.
- Yucca rostrata (yucca rostrata) Another fast-growing yucca tree, the yucca rostrata or bird-beak yucca is so-called because of the shape of its blooms and seeds, which resemble a sharp bird beak. Like most of the yuccas, it puts up a tall bloom stalk that during blooming season, which is midsummer, much like the Yucca Filifera, that is highly attractive to anything that loves nectar or pollen. It makes a gorgeous architecture tree for areas where dry, sandy soil and hot weather might cause deciduous trees to struggle.
Selecting Flowering Trees for Your Year
You might not want an example of each of these trees in your own backyard, unless you are blessed with a large, parklike area in which to plant. But this list will give you a start on discovering flower trees that will produce lovely blossoms, delightful aromas, and attract pollinating insects and birds. Some will provide edible fruit, while others are primarily for appearance. Whichever tree or trees you select, our team at Designer Trees is ready to discuss soil, climate, rainfall and more to help you get the tree that will best suit your location.