Top 10 Patio Trees for Gardeners

By Teo Spengler | May 20, 2017
by Teo Spengler
May 20, 2017

Patio trees are small trees that tuck nicely around patios or small gardens. You can also grow patio trees in containers, pots large enough to allow root development but not so large that you won’t be able to bring them into the garage when temperatures dip. What to plant as patio trees? The options run from small fruit trees to dwarf deciduous to evergreens. Here’s a list of the 10 top patio trees to get you started.

1. Meyer lemon – Juicier than an ordinary lemon and far sweeter, Meyer lemons are understandably popular with gardeners. Small, pretty citrus trees with brilliant green leaves and more lemons that your eyes will believe, Meyers thrive in containers or in the ground in mild climates.

2. PlumPlum trees look like ballerinas in spring with their white tutu of blossoms. The trees are small to begin with and can easily be trimmed to fit any site. You’ll need full sun to get fruit, and choose American over Japanese or European varieties if you need extra hardiness.

3. Ornamental crabapple – No, you won’t be able to sink your teeth into this fruit but it’s hard to find an easier-care tree than the ornamental crabapple. Plus, you’ll get an explosion of white, pink or red when the spring flowers make their appearance.

4. Eastern redbud – Pick single trunk or multi-stem redbuds depending on your site. Even left to its own devices, the redbud stays under 25 feet tall. Gardeners love its gorgeous pink flowers and heart-shaped leaves on an umbrella-shaped canopy.

5. Japanese lilac – If you can only fit one tree into the patio, make it a fragrant one like Japanese lilac to add that romantic edge to your garden. Virtually trouble-free, the Japanese lilac produces elegant ivory colored spring blossoms. This small tree, with its attractive rounded canopy, will be the focal point of summer evenings.

6. Washington hawthorn – Here’s a tree that is ready for spring storms: the Washington hawthorn doesn’t emerge from dormancy until late in the season. But expect lovely white flowers with pink eyes to appear in June, as well as shiny red fruit in the autumn. The glistening fruit hang on the branches long after the leaves have fallen.

7. Crape myrtle – If you live in a region with toasty summers, crape myrtle is a wonderful patio tree. Small and delicate with beautiful bark, crape myrtle produce stunning mantles of summer flowers in brilliant colors. It follows the flower show with brilliant fall color.

8. Kousa dogwood – This small, deciduous flowering tree grows to a maximum height of 15 to 30 feet tall, so Kousa is definitely the right size for a patio tree. The white, showy flower-like bracts appear in late spring around the yellow-green true flowers. The second act is red berry-like fruit, beloved by birds. The long, pointed leaves transform from dark green to scarlet in autumn.

9. Saucer magnoliaMagnolias are magnificent flowering trees with beautiful, fragrant blossoms. Saucer magnolia is the most popular deciduous magnolia cultivated, and you can pick cultivars in almost every imaginable shade. These trees typically grow to 20 feet tall, and the showy flowers can grow to 8 inches in diameter.

10. Hinoki false cypress – Only a little taller than the average gardener, mature Hinoki false cypress grows slowly and develops stunning, layered foliage like tiny, overlapping scales. The foliage looks like flattened ferns, a deep, dark green.

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