Planting trees that bloom in winter is a great way to continue loving your garden and yard through the holiday season. But a big rule of thumb applies: Research and choose trees and plants that are native to your region for the best results.
Utah winters can be particularly fierce, and a tree that blossoms in the so-called winter of Southern California won’t last a day in heavy snow, sleet and ice. But you can find plenty of hearty, gorgeous trees here — choose options that bloom a stunning white to make the most of the winter wonderland in your back yard.
The U.S. Forestry Center has defined hardiness zones that you can check to see which trees and plants will thrive in different parts of the country. Utah, being a diverse region, has hardiness zones ranging from 2 to 8. You can check your specific city at the U.S. Forestry Center’s website to ensure the trees and plants you’re considering are suited for your area.
Get your holiday treat a little early by choosing the Eriobotrya japonica, which is suitable for zone 8. Since it’s an evergreen, you’ll enjoy it year-round. It can grow up to 35 feet tall and features a round canopy with stunning white blossoms from fall through December. It will need soil that’s moist, drains well and prefers being at least partially in the sun (although full sun exposure is best).
The Japanese apricot is an import, but it does well in zones 6, 7 and 8. Since it’s a late bloomer, you’ll start seeing white blossoms in January.
Or choose a Shiro-Kaga, which has single petals, or a Rosemary Clarke, which stuns with double petal rows. These trees also like full sun as well as loamy soil that drains well. They can grow up to 25 feet tall with a canopy shaped like an umbrella. The best part? It’s a fruit tree and the apricots are technically edible, but usually better for ornamentation.
Extend the Holiday Cheer Outdoors
Live in a chillier part of Utah? Go with a magnolia tree, which is well suited for zones 5 through 9. It can start blooming in early December and keep blossoming all the way through May. Magnolia trees have many species, so you can handpick the size and types of flowers you love best.
One of the biggest is the yulan, which can skyrocket to 40 feet tall, particularly in full sun. These trees have blossoms up to 6 inches in diameter. Another option is the Thompson, which is half the size and looks more like shrubbery.