9 Flowering Trees That Thrive in USDA Zone 3 (Pink, Yellow, & White Blooms)

Living in cold areas does not mean you cannot enjoy the vibrant colors and fragrant aromas of flower blooms! We’ve put together this list of the hardiest flowering ornamental trees that you can grow in Zone 3.

USDA Zone 3 includes parts of Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

  • Zone 3 minimum temps: -40°F to -30°F (-40°C to -34°C)
  • Zone 3a average minimum temperatures: -40°F to -35°F (-40°C to -37°C)
  • Zone 3b average minimum temperatures: -35°F to -30°F (-37°C to -34°C)

In the Winter, plants in these areas have to contend with high winds, dry conditions, and low soil temperatures. If you live within Zone 3, don’t forget to choose cold-hardy tree varieties. We recommend planting Apple Trees in your garden!

  • Estimated last frost date for Zone 3: May 15
  • Estimated first frost date for Zone 3: September 15

9 Stunning Flowering Trees for Zone 3

1. Prairifire Flowering Crabapple Tree (Malus x‘Prairifire’)

Prairifire Crabapple Tree

The Prairifire is one of the most popular varieties of Crabapple Trees in American landscapes, and rightfully so. You will see flamboyant fuchsia flowers in Spring, followed by bright red crabapples that won’t drop for months on end. These decorative fruits attract wildlife, but may stain your light-colored paving.

A Prairifire Tree’s wonderful display of colors doesn’t stop there! The leaves will start out as maroon in the Summer, slowly darken to green, and eventually turn golden-bronze in the Fall. Its glossy dark red bark is equally attractive.

Introduced by the University of Illinois in 1982 as a disease-resistant cultivar, the Prairifire Crabapple can survive in your garden for 50-100 years. Just give it access to full sun, well-drained soil, and some pruning in the Winter.

Other Common Names: Prairie Fire, Prairiflower, Crab Apple ‘Prairifire’

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 feet tall, 15-20 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

2. Japanese Lilac Tree (Syringa reticulata)

Japanese Lilac Tree

You will easily find the Japanese Lilac Tree growing throughout parks and neighborhoods in Zone 3. Clusters of white and cream-colored blooms will appear every other year, catching your attention with their faint, musky fragrance.

Although the Japanese Lilac Tree is native to Asia, it has been commonly grown since 1876 as an ornamental shrub or as a shade tree in Europe and America. While it can tolerate partial shade, full sun is best for this tree– along with well-drained, slightly-acidic soil.

Plant a Lilac Tree if you want to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees to your garden. Look for popular cultivars such as the Ivory Silk, Snowdance, Golden Eclipse, Summer Snow, Ivory Pillar, and Signature.

Other Common Names: Japanese Tree Lilac, Korean Tree Lilac, Giant Tree Lilac

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 feet tall, 15-25 feet wide

Flowering Season: Early Summer

3. Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)

Canadian Serviceberry Tree

If you want a tree that puts on a show of colors throughout the seasons, look no further than the Canadian Serviceberry.

It begins with beautiful white blooms in Early Spring, followed by reddish black fruits that will attract birds in the Summer, then showcase yellow-orange leaves in the Fall. Even after the leaves drop, the light gray bark will look elegant in the Winter.

You can even eat the sweet berries of the Serviceberry! Ripening in June and July, these berries can be consumed fresh, or used to make jams and wines. Native Americans enjoyed baking pies from the fruits of the Serviceberry Tree.

As a compact, dwarf variety, the Canadian Serviceberry is well-suited for smaller yards and gardens. It will thrive best in well-drained, neutral to acidic soil. Give it plenty of sun and water for best results.

Other Common Names: Shadbush, Serviceberry, Eastern Serviceberry, Shadblow, Bilberry, Juneberry, Junebush, Chuckle-berry, Thicket Serviceberry, Currant-tree, Sugarplum, Grape Pear

Growing Zones: 2-9

Average Size at Maturity: 10-25 feet tall, 10-25 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

4. Linden Tree (Tilia cordata)

Linden Tree

The Linden is an old and massive tree with truly outstanding ornamental features. The strong sweet smell of the lime-colored flowers are sure to attract bees in your area. You can use the Linden as a shade tree which quickly develops a dense canopy.

Native to Europe, the Linden Tree can be originally found in the ancient woodlands of Britain– where it is regarded as holy by many indigenous cultures. Historical records can trace it back to 3100 BC!

Growing a Linden Tree is extremely easy. You won’t need to prune the foliage, plus it’s fairly disease-resistant. It can tolerate partial shade and moderate drought, but will do best in full sun and plenty of moisture.

Other Common Names: Littleleaf Linden, Limewood, Small-leaved Lime, Small Leaved Linden, European Linden, Pry Tree

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 20-80 feet tall, 35-50 feet wide

Flowering Season: Summer

5. Purpleleaf Sandcherry Tree (Prunus x cistena)

Purpleleaf Sandcherry Tree
Image Credit: F. D. Richards via Flickr

A small ornamental tree, the Purpleleaf Sandcherry lights up the landscape with sweet-smelling white and pink flowers. Its striking red leaves are a showstopper in the Summer. You can make jams with the tree’s strong-tasting purple berries.

Purpleleaf Sandcherry Trees were developed in 1910 by the South Dakota State University as a frost-tolerant variety. They can impressively survive Winter even in USDA Zone 2a! At the same time, these trees will tolerate urban conditions and hot humid summers.

Your Purple Sandcherry Tree can survive for 10-20 years. Plant it in rich, well-drained soil under full sun. With its slow growth and compact size, you can easily prune the Purple Sandcherry into a hedge shape of your liking.

Other Common Names: Purple-leaf Sand Cherry, Dwarf Red-leaf Plum, Prunus x cistena ‘Crimson Dwarf’, Prunus x cistena ‘Purpurea’

Growing Zones: 2-8

Average Size at Maturity: 6-10 feet tall, 5-8 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

6. Red Osier Dogwood Tree (Cornus sericea)

Red Osier Dogwood Tree

The native Red Osier Dogwood Tree boasts small white flowers and berries in Summer, but the true show starts when the leaves and branches turn dark red in the Fall. The color becomes more intense in Winter, dramatically contrasting white snowy landscapes.

You will find many mammals and birds where Red Osier Trees grow. Look for red-stemmed cultivars such as ‘Alleman’s Compact’, ‘Cardinal’, ‘Isanti’, ‘Kelseyi’, and First Editions® Firedance™.

The root system of the Red Osier Tree has excellent soil retention. It can survive up to seven years in flooded conditions! Plant it along water gardens, ponds, or shorelines if you need to control river bank erosion.

Other Common Names: Red Twig Dogwood, Redstem Dogwood, American Dogwood, Western Dogwood, Creek Dogwood, Red Willow, Red-rood, Poison Red Brush

Growing Zones: 2-7

Average Size at Maturity: 5-12 feet tall, 2-10 feet wide

Flowering Season: Late Spring to Early Summer

7. Pinky Winky® Hydrangea Tree (Hydrangea paniculata ‘DVP PINKY’)

Pinky Winky Hydrangea

The Pinky Winky Hydrangea grows more like a hedge than a tree, but its compact size doesn’t take away from the beauty of its two-toned conical blooms. Emerging as lime green in Spring, the flower buds slowly turn to white and then to deep pink as they mature.

While the species is native to Southeast Asia, the patented Pinky Winky cultivar came from Belgium in 1999. You might have heard the name “Tinky Winky” if you’re familiar with the Teletubbies! The breeder derived the shrub’s name from the Teletubbies character because his son was a fan of the show.

It will take 5-10 years for the Pinky Winky Hydrangea to reach its ultimate height. You can easily grow this shrub in any garden. It is adaptable to most soil types, and to both sun and shade.

Other Common Names: Pinky-Winky, Paniculate Hydrangea, Panicle Hydrangea

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 3-8 feet tall, 5-10 feet wide

Flowering Season: Summer

8. American Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

Fringe Tree

A cold-hardy ornamental, the American Fringe Tree is readily found in many gardens up North. Its delicate clouds of fragrant white flowers are a sight to behold in Spring, especially when they fall like snow on the ground. The genus name literally translates to “snow flower.”

Plant this native tree if you want to attract a variety of pollinators and wildlife. The blooms of the Fringe Tree are attractive to bees and moths; the berries are eaten by birds; and the twigs and leaves are browsed by mammals.

You can make use of an American Fringe Tree in woodland borders, in native gardens, or as a specimen plant in lawns. Partial shade will give you the best foliage colors, while full sun will give you the brightest flower colors.

Other Common Names: Fringetree, North American Fringe Tree, White Fringetree, Old Man’s Beard, Grandfather Gray Beard, Grancy Greybeard, Snowflower Tree, Virginian Snow Flower, Sweetheart Tree, Flowering Ash, Poison Ash

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 12-36 feet tall, 10-20 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

9. Scent and Sensibility™ Pink Lilac (Syringa x ‘SMSXPM’)

Scent and Sensibility Pink Lilac

The Scent and Sensibility Lilac is a real show-stopper with a long season of interest. The dark pink buds open in Spring to reveal soft purple flowers. After a period of rest, they will bloom again from Summer until frost comes.

As it is cleverly named, the Scent and Sensibility Lilac has a strong sweet smell that is sure to attract butterflies and hummingbirds in your garden. This dwarf, ornamental shrub has a spreading habit.

It’s surprisingly easy to grow Scent and Sensibility Lilac shrubs. Place them in large containers along your walkway, deck, patio or entryway. You can also directly plant them in garden beds, where they’ll look more vibrant under full sun.

Other Common Names: Lilac Scent and Sensibility, Syringa ‘SMSXPM’ PP26548

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 2-3 feet tall, 4-6 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring to Fall

Other Ornamental Trees for Zone 3

We’ve looked through orchards and online forums to see which ornamental varieties are popular in Zone 3. Here are 8 additional winter-hardy trees and shrubs for you to consider:

  • Crabapple Trees: Crabapples are the best flowering trees you could grow in cold climates. Plant them near Apple, Pear, and Cherry trees to attract pollinators and encourage more fruits. In Spring, Crabapples Trees bloom in shades of pink, red, and white. We recommend the Dolgo and the Thunderchild varieties.
  • Canadian Red Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana): The Red Chokecherry displays clusters of white flowers in Spring, but this tree is more famous for its colorful foliage. The leaves go from maroon in Summer to bright yellow and red in Fall. You can eat the sweet, tart berries of the Canadian Red Chokecherry Tree.
  • Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry(Amelanchier x grandiflora): The Autumn Brilliance is a low maintenance tree that lives for 40 years or more. It has fragrant, pinkish white flowers in Spring. Like its name suggests, it puts on a spectacular display of brilliant red leaves in the Fall. The delicious fruits will attract birds to your yard.
  • Limelight Hardy Hydrangea Tree (Hydrangea paniculata): The conical clusters of creamy white and pink flowers will bloom from Summer to Fall on your Limelight Hydrangea Tree. It is the perfect specimen to plant front and center in your garden. Interestingly, this tree or shrub is tolerant of both extreme cold and heat.
  • Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum): This native shrub provides food and cover for birds, butterflies, and moths. You will see creamy white flowers in the Spring and Summer, followed by reddish purple leaves and blue-black berries in the Fall. Arrowwood Viburnum is perfect for garden borders and hedge screens.
  • Summer Wine Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius): The Summer Wine Ninebark is another native variety, blooming with small soft pink flowers in Summer. It gets its name from the dramatic shades of purple and black on its leaves, quite like the color of wine. You can expect this shrub to grow fast, rarely having pest problems.
  • Quaking Aspen Tree (Populus tremuloides): One of the hardiest trees you can plant, the Quaking Aspen stands well against high winds and freezing temperatures. Its flowers may be insignificant, but the golden yellow foliage is a sight to behold in the Fall. Quaking Aspens are some of the oldest, biggest trees native to America.
  • Maple Trees: Maple Trees are more known for their striking foliage colors than their inconspicuous flowers. Nevertheless, you will find many orchards listing the Maple as the top choice for ornamental and shade trees. We recommend the Sugar Maple, Scarlet Maple, and the Autumn Blaze, but any variety will do well in Zone 3.

Final Thoughts on Zone 3 Flowering Trees

USDA Zone 3 covers some of the coldest regions of America, where many flowering plants won’t survive the harsh winter conditions. Luckily, decades of scientific research have made it possible for us to grow selected varieties of ornamental trees in these areas!

Who says flowers are just for warm climates? Plant any of the trees we listed above, and enjoy the colorful blooms along with the pollinators and other wildlife that will visit your yard!

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