red, white and blue trees
by jac carter
(morristown, TN USA)
I am working on a project for school and need help finding some tree types that would thrive in the Southeast which have red, white, and blue leaves or flowers. Can you help me identify some species that would fit this criteria?
Drought Smart Plants reply:
Hi Jac, what an interesting project! I don't really know your area, so you'll have to double check that these are hardy, and will survive for you:
Trees with red leaves: Red leafed maples, Acer palmatum species and varieties; small trees, and some have more red in their leaves than others. Look for those labeled 'atropurpureum', and buy them in person, or from a reputable grower, otherwise you'll most likely get a seed grown type which will be more green than red.
Berberis is classed as more of a shrub, and also has thorns, so you would have to decide if this is desirable. However, they do have some of the nicest red foliage, and it's almost evergreen in some areas.
White trees: Those which you might be able to use are some of the silver maples, Acer sacharinum, but stay away from the straight species as they're fast growing but weak, causing issues with limbs breaking (not something you want in a school yard!). Recommended varieties are Acer sacharinum 'Silver Queen', grows more upright than the species, golden fall colour; Acer sacharinum 'Laciniatum', or wier maple, silver cutleaf maple.
Blue trees: Some that might do well for you are the blue upright junipers, Juniperus scopulorum, look for types such as J. s. 'Witchita Blue' or others that have really blue foliage.
Other blue foliaged trees are Eucalyptus, which have blue deciduous foliage, but I'm not sure if they'll be hardy enough for your area.
Hopefully this helps with some choices for your project - good luck!