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:
- Dogs, tree climbing, picnics, and drones are not allowed. See visitor etiquette»
- Posed photography requires a permit. See photography policy»
Longenecker Horticultural Gardens
May 15 update: About a dozen late-flowering magnolias still have good flower displays. Lilacs are in peak bloom and expected to last through the week or longer. Peak bloom for crabapples occurred over the weekend, though there are still exceptional flower displays in the collection. Buckeye/horsechestnut trees are just coming into bloom, with several in full bloom. More are expected to start blooming through the week, with peak by the weekend. Also in bloom: azaleas and chokeberry are beginning, and coralbells, Daphne, and flowering quince are in full bloom.
May 12 update: Peak bloom for crabapples and lilacs is beginning. Based on the current forecast, we expect good flower displays through the week of May 15. Some magnolias trees have lingering flowers. However, blooms are weather dependent and heavy rain, strong winds, or hot days could affect them. With UW–Madison graduation and Mother’s Day this weekend, we expect many visitors. If possible, visit during the week to avoid congestion. Please remember that dogs, tree climbing, picnics, hammocks/slack lines, and drones are not allowed (see visitor etiquette). Professional posed photography requires a permit. Thank you, and enjoy the blooms!
May 3 update: Most early flowering magnolias have faded. About twenty mid- and late-flowering types are still showing excellent color. Several yellow-flowered forms are at peak color and a handful of others are coming into bloom. Dynamic flower displays are expected to last through next week. Flowering cherries have passed peak bloom, but a few late-flowering types are in full bloom and expected to last into the weekend. Cool temperatures have slowed flower development on lilacs and only a handful of the earliest flowering types are in bloom. More are expected to appear by the weekend. Given current conditions, peak lilac bloom is expected to begin over Mother’s Day weekend and last through the following week. A handful of our 150 crabapple trees have begun to flower, with many more expected to come into bloom through the weekend. Amelanchier species, daffodils, almond and plum trees, and redbuds are in bloom. A few early flowering rhododendrons are in bloom.
April 27 update: Early flowering magnolia types are fading. Many mid- and late-flowering types are in full bloom or coming into bloom, including the seven “Little Girl” series trees and some early yellow-flowered forms. Dynamic flower displays are expected over the next two weeks. Peak bloom for flowering cherries has passed, yet many blooms remain and a few late-flowering types are coming into bloom. Though cool temperatures have slowed flower development on the lilacs, but blooms on the earliest flowering types are expected to appear by the weekend. It is still too early to predict peak bloom times. Crabapple buds are swelling, and some flowering is expected over the weekend. Amelanchier species, forsythia, and eastern redbuds are in full bloom. Early-flowering rhododendrons are in bloom.
April 20 update: More than 50 magnolias are currently in bloom. Several of the earliest flowering types have begun to fade. Many mid- to late-flowering types are starting to bloom, including some of the yellow-flowered forms. Cool temperatures this week and next should help hold open blossoms and slow the progress of flower development on those yet to open. Flower displays are expected over the next two weeks. Flowering cherries are in peak bloom and are expected to last through the weekend. Some bud swelling has occurred on the earliest flowering lilacs, but cool temperatures have slowed flower development. We hope to see some flowers open over the next week, but it is too early to predict peak bloom times. Crabapple buds have yet to swell and no flowers have opened. Amelanchier species, forsythia, and flowering pear are in full bloom. Redbuds are beginning to bloom.
April 14 update: With the record-breaking heat this week, over thirty of the early-flowering magnolias types are in bloom. About twenty mid-season magnolias have begun to show color and blooms should start opening this weekend. Cool temperatures next week should help to hold blooms. Flower displays are expected over the next two weeks. The first cherry blooms have begun to open. Significant bloom is expected by Saturday afternoon through the week of April 17. Lilac buds have begun swelling on early varieties, with first blooms expected by the end of next week. It is still too early to predict peak bloom times. Cornelian-cherry dogwood, forsythia, red and Freeman maples, vernal witchhazel, early viburnum, leatherwood, and white forsythia are also in full bloom.
Week of April 10: The first magnolias have begun to open, with significant bloom expected by the end of the week and continuing over the next month. Cornelian cherry dogwood is in full bloom. Forsythia are beginning to bloom, with full bloom expected by the end of the week. Red and Freeman maples are in full bloom. Many cultivars of vernal witchhazel are in full bloom and fragrant.
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 / started April 14
44 specimens (consisting of 21 taxa*)
- Magnolias (Magnolia spp.): April–May / started April 11
82 specimens (consisting of 75 taxa)
- Crabapples (Malus spp.): April–May / started May 3
206 specimens (consisting of 153 taxa)
- Lilacs (Syringa spp.): April–May / started May 3
400 specimens (consisting of 273 taxa)
- Rhododendrons and azaleas (Rhododendron spp.): mid-April–May /
99 specimens (consisting of 65 taxa)
- Horsechestnut/Buckeyes (Aesculus spp.): mid-May / started May 15
31 specimens (consisting of 24 taxa)
*taxa include species, subspecies, and cultivars
May 18 update: Prairie trillium, wild geranium, shooting star, prairie smoke, and wild columbine are in bloom.
April 23 update: Virginia bluebells and bellwort have begun blooming.
April 21 update: Rue anemone, spring beauty, wild ginger, and blue cohosh have begun blooming.
Week of April 10: Hazelnut, hepatica, and pasqueflower are blooming in the Native Plant Garden. Twinleaf, toothwort, and leatherwood started April 14.
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 / started April 14
- Trout-lily (Erythronium spp.): April–May
- Hepatica (Anemone acutiloba): April / started April 11
- Pasqueflower (Anemone patens): April / started April 11
- Prairie-smoke (Geum triflorum): April–May / started May 12
- Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis): April–May
- Wild ginger (Asarum canadense): April–June / started April 21
- Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria): April–May
- Virginia bluebells ( Mertensia virginica): April–May / started April 23
- Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata): May–June
- Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum): May–June / started May 17
- Trillium (Trillium spp.): May / started May 12
- Shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia): May / started May 12
- Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis): May–June
- Indigos (Baptisia spp.): May–July
- Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis): late May–June
- Milkweed (Asclepias spp.): June–August