What’s in Bloom?

Cherry tree blossoms in Longenecker Horticultural Gardens

Cherry tree blossoms in Longenecker Horticultural Gardens

This is a selective list of popular blooming horticultural plants in Longenecker Horticultural Gardens (LHG) and native plants in the Wisconsin Native Plant Garden (WNPG) and natural areas. Bloom times are estimates and can change due to weather. Bloom dates will be noted in bold once buds have begun to open (this does not reflect peak bloom). For native plants, additional locations might also be listed. Dates will be updated weekly.

Notes for visitors:

Longenecker Horticultural Gardens

Map of Longenecker Horticultural Gardens (PDF)

2024 bloom updates

April 23 update

Peak magnolia flower display has passed, hastened by some frost damage to open flowers on Sunday morning, April 21, with a low of 27 degrees Farenheit. There are still many plants with good to excellent flower displays. Late-blooming yellow-flowered types are just coming into bloom and should offer magnificent floral displays by the week’s end. Magnolias are located in the lilac collection and along McCaffery Dr. bordering the garden.

Peak flowering of cherries has passed, but there are still many blooms to see and several late-flowering types are beginning to bloom.

A number of early flowering lilacs are in bloom, with many more expected over the week. While it is too early to predict peak bloom time, please note that the lilac collection comprises early, mid-, and late-flowering types. This prolongs the bloom season but also means the entire collection will not be in full bloom at any one time.

A few of our 140 crabapple trees are in bloom, with many more expected later this week.

Also blooming: Amelanchier species, almonds, pears, quince, redbuds, and wild plums are in full bloom. Many daffodils are in bloom. Several early flowering rhododendrons are in bloom with more expected to bloom by the weekend. Forsythia are past peak. Many types of viburnums are coming into bloom, including Korean spice and hybrids.

April 18 update

Over 70 of our 100 magnolias are in bloom. While many early flowering types have faded, mid- and late-flowering types are in full bloom, including the “Girl” series, Dennis Ledvina hybrids, and several yellow-flowered trees, including ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Butterflies.’ Other later blooming yellow-flowered types are yet to bloom. Dynamic flower displays are expected over the next two weeks. Magnolias are located within the lilac collection and along McCaffery Dr. bordering the garden.

Peak flowering of cherries has passed, but there are still many delightful blooms to see and several late-flowering types are yet to bloom.

A handful of early flowering lilacs have begun to bloom, with many more expected over the next week. While it is too early to predict peak bloom time, please note that the lilac collection comprises early, mid-, and late-flowering types. This prolongs the bloom season but also means the entire collection will not be in full bloom at any one time.

A few of our 140 crabapples are just starting to bloom, with dynamic flower displays expected by mid to late next week.

Cool cloudy days this week and next will help hold open flowers and also slow the progress of other plants yet to flower.

Also blooming: Amelanchier, almonds, pears, redbuds, and wild plums are in full bloom. Many daffodils are in bloom, and several early flowering rhododendrons are in bloom. Forsythia are past peak.

April 15 update
More than 50 of our 100 magnolias are in bloom. Several of the earliest flowering types have begun to fade, and many mid- to late-flowering types are just coming into bloom, including some of the earliest yellow-flowered forms (‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Butterflies’).

Cooler temperatures this week and next will help hold open blossoms and slow flower development for those yet to open. Dynamic flower displays are expected over the next two weeks. Magnolias are located within the lilac collection and along McCaffery Dr. bordering the garden.

Cherries are currently in peak bloom and are expected to last through the week.

Lilac buds are swelling on early varieties, with first blooms expected later this week. It is too early to predict peak bloom.

Crabapple buds have not begun to swell and flowers have not yet opened.

Also blooming: Redbuds are beginning to bloom. Amelanchier, almonds, and pears are in full bloom. Forsythia are past peak.

April 9 update
More than 16 of the earliest magnolia flowering types are showing significant color and are expected to be in full bloom by midweek. Many mid-season types are breaking bud and we expect significant blooming by the weekend. The magnolia collection includes more than 100 trees, and flower displays are expected over the next month. Most magnolias are located amidst the lilac collection and along McCaffery Drive bordering Longenecker Horticultural Gardens.

A few cherries have begun to bloom, and flowering is expected to accelerate through the week. Peak flowering is expected to start this weekend.

Lilac buds have begun swelling on early flowering types, with first blooms expected over the weekend. It is too early to predict peak bloom times.

Also blooming: Daffodils are beginning to bloom. Cornelian-cherry dogwood, red and Freeman maples, and vernal witchhazel are in full bloom. Forsythia and early viburnum (V. farreri) are past peak bloom.

March 15 update
We are seeing some early bloom activity after three days of unseasonably warm temperatures capping the warmest winter on record for Wisconsin. Forsythia and Cornelian cherry dogwoods are in full bloom. A few early flowering magnolias have flowers emerging, while other early flowering species such as common lilacs, cherries, and amelanchier are poised to begin flowering as soon as temperatures return to temperatures in the 60s F and above. (Early blooming species are triggered by warming temperatures; later blooming species are triggered by day length and won’t bloom until days are longer.) While the current seasonally cool temperatures have stopped additional flower emergence, flowering is currently trending three weeks earlier than expected. With the return to below-freezing temperatures, damage is likely on flowers that already opened.

About blooming tree collections

All collections include early, mid-, and late-flowering types. This means that there is a range of bloom times within any particular collection. Bloom timing and duration are heavily affected by weather. Hot sunny days can cause early flowering but will often decrease bloom length. Cool cloudy days can delay flowering but lengthen bloom period. Once flowers are open, they are easily damaged by freezing temperatures.

  • Cherries (Prunus spp.): early to mid-April / begun week of April 8
    44 specimens (consisting of 21 taxa*)
  • Magnolias (Magnolia spp.): April–May / begun week of April 8
    82 specimens (consisting of 75 taxa)
  • Crabapples (Malus spp.): April–May / begun April 17
    206 specimens (consisting of 153 taxa)
  • Lilacs (Syringa spp.): April–May / begun April 17
    400 specimens (consisting of 273 taxa)
  • Rhododendrons and azaleas (Rhododendron spp.): mid-April–May / begun April 17
    99 specimens (consisting of 65 taxa)
  • Horsechestnut/Buckeyes (Aesculus spp.): mid-May
    31 specimens (consisting of 24 taxa)

*taxa include species, subspecies, and cultivars

Native Plants

Bloom Updates

Map of the Wisconsin Native Plant Garden (PDF)

About native plant blooming

For native plants, the species listed below will generally bloom earlier in the gardens than they do in the natural areas. First bloom date is the Native Plant Garden unless otherwise noted.

  • Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata): April–May
  • Trout-lily (Erythronium spp.): April–May
  • Hepatica (Anemone acutiloba): April / April 16
  • Pasqueflower (Anemone patens): April / April 12
  • Prairie-smoke (Geum triflorum): April–May
  • Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis): April–May / April 16
  • Wild ginger (Asarum canadense): April–June / April 18
  • Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria): April–May
  • Virginia bluebellsMertensia virginica): April–May
  • Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata): May–June / April 18
  • Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum): May–June
  • Trillium (Trillium spp.): May
  • Shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia): May
  • Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis): May–June
  • Indigos (Baptisia spp.): May–July
  • Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis): late May–June
  • Milkweed (Asclepias spp.): June–August
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