Lush and fast growing or delicate in shape. Dense with flowers or a real blaze of color all year round – ornamental trees come in numerous variants and can serve as a privacy screen or eye-catcher, as a source of shade or a radiant focus. However, this often requires a lot of effort, because the beauty does not come from chance. There are therefore a few things to consider when it comes to maintenance and waste. From the moment of fertilization to correct cutting, it is very easy to do with the following tips. Brief profile of the ornamental trees:

  • Ornamental trees have a decorative, but rarely a practical use value
  • Usually quite intensive in terms of care
  • Can stand out particularly through their fragrance, color, shape or flowers
  • They are also suitable for use as a privacy screen in dense growth and close planting
  • Ornamental trees are not necessarily small, they can – depending on the species – grow quite tall

Popular types

Aside from their decorative character, ornamental trees usually have no direct practical use. So at least they don’t deliver any fruit. However, this statement is not entirely correct.

Ornamental trees can be used as bee pastures, provide shade or protect against unwanted glances – in other words, they can be useful in the garden or front yard. They also prove themselves as protection against wind and dirt, if the type is selected correctly. Basically, a distinction is made between the following groups:

  • Ornamental trees with a special shape
  • Ornamental trees with showy flowers
  • Ornamental trees with unusual foliage colors
  • Ornamental trees with an attractive scent

Of course there is also an overlap here. Specially shaped ornamental trees can also impress with their fragrance or flowers. If you do not want to commit yourself to one of the properties, you should take your time comparing the selection.

Ornamental trees with a special shape

Ball, cone, hanging, accurate column or picturesque and natural wild – the ornamental trees have a lot to offer when it comes to shapes. If you want to bring geometric shapes into the garden, you don’t necessarily have to resort to hedge trimmers all the time, the growth shape is largely retained by the plant itself. If you want to keep the shape all year round, evergreen plants are the best choice. The most tried and tested of these ornamental trees include:

  • Rocket juniper
  • Column cypress
  • Ball false cypress
  • Weeping cypress
  • Shrub forest pine

If, on the other hand, you want a particularly quick protective effect against unwanted looks, want to let open areas immediately overgrown or do not want to wait long for shade, you should rely on fast-growing plants. Such ornamental trees include:

  • Japanese cherry
  • Hanging or Himalayan birch
  • Weeping willow
  • Hanging clove cherry
  • Ball trumpet tree
  • Ball maple

Ornamental trees with showy flowers

Bright yellow or red, flowers of unusual size or particularly decorative shape – richly flowering ornamental trees are appealing highlights during the colorful phase. Often this is exactly where they attract flying insects such as bees, butterflies, bumblebees and beneficial insects, which can keep pests away and also provide a natural spectacle.

If you want to plant such blooms in your own garden, the following are well advised:

  • Japanese cherry
  • Japanese pearl cord tree
  • Magnolias
  • Korea-Tanne
  • Pigeon tree

If flowers and rapid growth are desired, however, these types are recommended:

  • Tulip tree
  • Ornamental apple
  • Judas tree
  • Bluebell tree
  • However Rotdorn

Ornamental trees with unusual foliage colors

Patterned, colorful leaves or a particularly striking tint during autumn turn the ornamental trees into a decorative play of colors and can create extraordinary contrasts.
Above all, different species of the maple family stand out here. They include:

  • Fire maple
  • Red maple
  • Japanese maple
  • Silver ash maple
  • Maple

In addition to these brightly colored maple species, other plants are ideal ornaments with attractive colors. The most popular types here include:

  • Himalayan birch
  • Spree oak
  • Ginko
  • Golden larch
  • Multi-leaved beech

Decorative trees with an attractive scent

Fragrant ornamental trees are decorative and at the same time pleasing to the nose. There is a wide variety of these, but the flowers and the leaves can also exude a pleasant aroma. When making a selection, you can “always follow your nose”. After all, the intense scent should give pleasure for a long time.

The most popular varieties include:

  • Chestnut
  • Gingerbread tree
  • White forsythia
  • Chocolate wine
  • Japanese quince
  • Evergreen olive willow
  • Tree honeysuckle
  • Ash root
  • Bell hazel
  • daphne
  • Seven Sons Shrub
  • Thousand flower bush or bee tree
  • Elsenkirsche
  • Elsbeere
  • Pimpernuss
  • Cinnamon raspberry
  • lilac
  • Large flowered snowball
  • lemon Tree

Species otherwise known as herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and lavender, can also serve as ornamental trees if they are kept in spherical shape. Although they only reach low heights, they can convince with their spicy aromas and are therefore also wonderful plantings for balconies and patios. In addition, as edible variants, they can also be delicious enrichments for the kitchen. If you want to use the spicy herb in cooking, you should look carefully when making your selection. These must be clearly marked as “edible”. The label “only for decorative purposes” or “not suitable for consumption”, on the other hand, excludes them as an ingredient.

The selection

The almost unmanageable range of ornamental trees can be a real challenge when choosing for your own front yard or garden. While the still relatively unknown chocolate wine tempts with its exotic character and enchanting scent, false cypresses, for example, are an ornament all year round thanks to their special shapes and their evergreen appearance.

Appearance and fragrance alone should not, however, be used to make a decision. Above all, space requirements and site conditions are decisive, because these are essential for the success of the planting. It is therefore advisable to always pay attention to the size of the adult plants and their requirements before buying. After all, there are huge ranges here. A lemon tree can be three meters high, but the Japanese gingerbread tree can reach a height of twenty meters.

No matter how beautiful an ornamental tree is – does it not fit in the garden in size or if its requirements are not met at the location despite the best care, the decorative character will – if at all – only last a short time. In addition, especially with very tall ornamental trees, a considerable amount of work is often required for the clippings in order to adapt them to the location. Especially when they are not only growing high, but also growing quickly.

For small gardens – overview

In smaller gardens with limited space, the ornamental trees must of course not grow too high or too wide. The following plants, which reach a maximum height of five meters, are suitable for this:

  • Snowflake bush
  • Kornelkirsche
  • Japanese dogwood
  • Cotinus
  • Hawthorn and hawthorn
  • Pfaffenhütchen
  • Rocket juniper umbrella honeysuckle
  • Some types of magnolia
  • Sugarloaf spruce
  • Dwarf pine
  • Kurilenkirsche
  • Essigbaum
  • lilac

Here, too, you should look carefully, as some cultivated forms can be quite taller or have a surprisingly extensive breadth.

For large areas

If you have a larger garden, you can choose taller plants. The most popular plants here include:

  • Judas tree
  • Hornbeam
  • Losbaum
  • Japanmispel
  • Snowdrop tree
  • Crabapple
  • False beech
  • Japanese cherry
  • Corkscrew willow
  • Umbrella fir


When caring for the ornamental trees, it is of course first necessary to consider which location they need. The following classification can help with the decision:

The ornamental trees for completely to partially sunny locations are suitable:

  • Almost all types of maple
  • Magnolias
  • Forsythien
  • False cypress trees
  • Tulip tree
  • Ornamental apple
  • lilac
  • daphne
  • Snowball
  • Pigeon or handkerchief tree

Of course, this is only a small overview. Numerous other plants can also stand in full sun or a bright planting area. On the other hand, special cultivated forms of otherwise sun-loving plants can also prefer shady places.
Before making a selection, you should therefore always find out where the plant thrives.
If there are more shady places in the garden to be beautified, these ornamental trees are recommended:

  • daphne
  • Ball spring maple
  • Pyramid hornbeam
  • Kornelkirsche
  • Holly
  • Globe sweetgum
  • Cherry laurel

If it is a partially shaded location, the selection is also quite large here. Again, however, it should be checked whether the corresponding cultivated form actually tolerates shady locations and thrives in them. If it only tolerates little light at the location, the flower and fragrance can be significantly less and the beauty suffers.

When planting in the garden and after successful growth, most ornamental trees can do without regular watering. A watering can or garden hose should only be used in longer dry seasons, when the flowers are very abundant and when cultivating in a bucket.

This in turn also depends on the selected plant species.

Whether and how often fertilization is necessary depends on the particular crop. Some ornamental trees can do without it almost completely and also thrive on poor soils without any problems. Others also need ample amounts of nutrients for abundant flowering.

Apart from a few exceptions, ornamental trees also require regular cutting – not just to maintain their shape. A dense, branched growth, the rejuvenation and thus the flowering pleasure depend on it.

When to use the twig scissors is quite easy to decide on the flowering ornamental trees according to the time of flowering.

Plants that bloom early, such as the forsythia, the tulip tree or viburnum, are cut immediately after blooming. As a rule, it is sufficient for them to carry out the measure every two to three years. A third of the branch length is removed in each case.
If the ornamental plants bloom in summer, you can wait until autumn to cut them. However, it is also possible to shorten the branches in early spring, before they sprout again. In this case, however, it is crucial for the bloom to be at the right time. It must neither be cut in frost nor too late, otherwise only a few buds will be formed or even removed from their system.

All other plants, with the exception of willow, are only cut in the respective resting phase. So again in autumn or spring. The measure should be avoided during prevailing frost. That being said, there is usually no need to be too careful. Remove a third or even half the length of the branch.

Note: In addition to the use of freshly cleaned and, at best, disinfected cutting tools, it is also crucial for a successful cut that the special needs of the crop are taken into account. Anyone who is unsure about this should seek professional advice in advance.

Due to the large selection of ornamental trees on the market, the right plant can be found for every garden and every taste – for correct care and the correct location, however, comprehensive information about the species should always be obtained. This is the only way to ensure growth and decorative character.

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