With its brilliant colored foliage, the Japanese maple lends a note of exotic color.

Small Weeping Tree Varieties

by Benjamin Shorter

With their droopy, floppy, downward-directed growth habit, weeping trees are visually dramatic and distinctive. In smaller sizes, these trees provide an emphatic statement to a landscape design with their eye-catching shape. When choosing your variety of weeping tree, consider your needs and space requirements. A flowering weeping tree will provide a needed splash of color in an otherwise steadily green landscape, while a small weeping evergreen will mean a constant, austere green in your garden.

1. Flowering

Flowering weeping trees add visual interest with colorful, fragrant smelling blossoms. With a wide range of colors available, the cut branches of weeping flowering trees are attractive for indoor flower arrangements. This trimming not only means a steady supply of beautiful cut blossoms during the flowering season, it also serves to prune the trees, keeping them a manageable height for your garden. The Japanese snowbell known as the “Fragrant Fountain” (Styrax japonicus “Fragrant Fountain”) produces pure white blossoms in the springtime, which last all the way till summer. With their heady fragrance, these white blossoms attract a variety of insects and look particularly beautiful against the contrasting, dark green leaves. It grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8 and can reach 6 feet in height. It can grow in partial sunlight. The double weeping flowering cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella “Pendula Flora Piena”) can reach 20 feet and produces deep pink buds that become a bright pink double blossom when they open. It grows best in USDA zones 5 through 8.

2. Dwarf

Dwarf weeping trees have been bred to grow under 10 feet tall, and in some cases, will not grow fruit or produce flowers, as they are special cultivars. The Siberean peashrub known as the “Walker” (Caragana arborescesn “Walker”) has fernlike leaves and bright yellow flowers. A deciduous tree, it tolerates salt, wind, sand and soil with low nutirition. It grows about 6 feet tall and wide and thrives in USDA zones 3 through 8. The Morus alba “Chaparral,” also known as the “Chaparral white mulberry" grows from 6 to 8 feet tall, with shiny, dark green leaves that are 8 inches across. This weeping cultivar is a dwarf variety and doesn't produce fruit. It thrives in USDA zones 4 through 8.

3. Sun Lovers

Sun-loving weeping tree varieties work well as the central focus of a landscape design, as they aren't overshadowed by taller, shade-producing plants. With their wrinkled white flowers, the “Acoma” crape myrtle (Lagerstoemia indica “Acoma”) is special as it provides visual interest during the nonflowering winter months with its peeling bark. It grows best in USDA hardiness zone 6 through 9 and reaches 7 feet tall. With their brightly colored leaves on gently swaying branches, the Japanese maple “Crimson Queen” variety (Acer palmatum “Crimson Queen”) grows no more than 10 feet tall. The leaves first appear as brilliant fiery red, but then change into a rich purple-red color during the summer. In the fall, the leaves change color again to a crimson shade. It does best in USDA zones 5 through 8.

4. Evergreen

As a nondeciduous variety, weeping evergreens provide year-round color to your landscape, especially during cooler winter months when scenery turns a dull brown or grey. In areas that receive snowfall, the contrast between dark green and a brilliant white is one of the small treats of wintertime. With their blue-green needles with a silvery sheen, the weeping blue atals cedar (Cedrus atlantica “Glauca Pendula”) requires full sun and grows to 25 feet tall. The floppy, downward bent branches produce an elegant silhouette and it thrives in USDA zones 6 through 9. For a double-benefit weeping evergreen, the “Andean Gold” (Azara serrata “Andeant Gold”) not only produces glossy green foliage, it also has yellow-gold flowers in the early summer. A fast growing evergreen, this weeping tree variety thrives in USDA zones 7 through 10. It's somewhat shade tolerant, and can grow with full or partial sun exposure.

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