Spring blossom is a celebration of winter’s end, and a reminder that summer is just around the corner. Pretty pink and white flowers burst into bloom, providing an early source of pollen and nectar for bees and other pollinators, before falling from their boughs like confetti.
While there are many other spring-flowering shrubs and trees, it’s generally the flowers of fruiting trees belonging to the Rosaceae family including apples, cherries, peaches and pears, which are referred to as blossoms – the flowers which precede their fruit.
Cherry blossom trees
The most popular spring blossom tree is the flowering cherry. Flowering cherry trees are renowned for their beauty in spring, and many varieties are grown for their flowers rather than their fruit. Most ornamental cherry varieties are cultivars of the Japanese cherry tree Prunus cerasus (known as Sakura), which has been celebrated in Japan for centuries. The Japanese take cherry blossom very seriously – cherry blossom is the country’s national flower and families and friends gather each spring for ‘Hanami’, or to view the cherry trees.
Cherry trees and other fruiting blossom trees are easy to grow, although you need to pay attention to pruning calendars if growing the trees for fruit. Blossom trees do best in a position of full sun, and tolerate a wide range of soil types.
Browse our gallery of 10 gorgeous blossom trees, below.
A striking upright ornamental crab apple with magenta flowers. Glossy foliage that turns deep red in autumn. The small red fruits make a fine crab apple jelly, or left alone provide a good food source for birds in winter.
Malus domestica ‘Arthur Turner’
One of the best flowering apples, Malus ‘Arthur Turner’ has outstanding pink flowers followed by golden apples that are excellent for cooking and baking. A large, upright tree that is suitable for training as a cordon or espalier.
Prunus ‘Pink Shell’
Prunus ‘Spire’ is a compact and upright ornamental cherry that produces an impressive show of pink flowers from late March. Its colourful foliage begins bronze, turning yellow and green in summer, followed by red in autumn.
An ancient cultivar, this great white cherry bears white blossoms much larger than most ornamental cherries, up to 6cm wide. Gorgeous bronze foliage turns green in summer. A large, wide tree that’ll need plenty of room.
Prunus avium ‘Regina’
An excellent variety of cherry, ‘Regina’ produces clouds of pure-white blossom in spring, followed by large, crimson cherries with superb flavour in summer. Great for a small garden.
Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’
Reaching up to 2m, this compact ornamental cherry is ideal for a small garden. Showy white flowers blushed pink burst from attractive twisted branches. Excellent red and orange autumn colour.
Prunus persica ‘Avalon Pride’
The beautiful peach tree Prunus persica ‘Avalon Pride’ has showy pink flowers early in the spring season, followed by large, juicy peaches in summer. Resistant to peach leaf curl. Choose a sunny, sheltered spot for planting in autumn.
Prunus serrulata ‘Shirotae’
This ornamental cherry produces masses of fragrant, semi-double white flowers on dark branches, followed by pretty autumn colour. Its flat crown and spreading habit creates a stunning oriental frame.
Pyrus communis subsp. caucasica
An upright, ovoid ornamental pear, Pyrus communis bears attractive single white blossoms on a dark grey trunk. The flowers are loved by pollinators. Pears follow in autumn which, while edible, are tasteless, although loved by birds.