Winter does not have to mean barren and lifeless. Many flowering trees are at their showiest in the winter season, with blossom periods falling between December and March. Several of the white-blooming species are purely ornamental, but some bear edible fruit. Plant winter-flowering trees with spring, summer and fall bloomers to have year-long flowers.
The Japanese loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) rises in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10. It rises up to 35 feet tall and is evergreen with oblong leaves plus a rounded canopy. The Japanese loquat has fragrant white blooms from fall to early winter. For late winter and spring blooms, the bronze loquat (Eriobotrya deflexa) is shorter at just 25 feet tall, growing in USDA zones 9 and 10. Both trees require moist, well-draining soil and full sun or partial shade conditions.
Japanese apricot (Prunus mume) rises in USDA zones 6 through 9. It blooms between January and March. White-flowering cultivars include “Shiro-kaga” with one group of petals and “Rosemary Clarke” with a double row of petals. Japanese apricots need full sun or partial shade and loamy, well-draining dirt. The deciduous tree grows 20 to 25 feet tall and has an oval or umbrella-shaped canopy. The apricots are edible, but are usually grown for ornamental purposes.
Magnolia trees (Magnolia spp.) Have blooms that start as early as December and end as late as May. Magnolias grow in USDA zones 5 through 9, with heights and flower shapes that vary with the species and cultivar. Yulan trees (Magnolia denudata) develop up to 40 feet tall in full sun or part shade. Yulan have 4- to 6-inch-wide cup-shaped blooms that appear prior to the foliage, on otherwise bare branches. Thompson magnolia (Magnolia thompsoniana) rises 20 feet tall with smaller flowers and a shrub-like look.
White Floss Silk Tree
The white floss silk tree (Ceiba insignis), also called a drunken tree, grows in USDA zones 9 through 11. The evergreen tree grows up to 50 feet tall and has large, five-petaled star-shaped white or light yellow blooms. The tree needs full sun and does not do well in clay soils. The leaves are light green and palmate at a very high, oval canopy. The tree bark is light grey or green and often includes spines or thorns addressing the bark.