Florida offers a largely stable ecology and plenty of space for little trees to flourish, regardless of where you are in the north or the south. Small trees will enhance the scenery of Florida gardens for several reasons.
They can be grown as a front yard accent, a focal point for an amazing design, a controllable privacy screen against the fence, or even as a complementing partner with other herbs and blooming plants.
Table of Contents
Small Trees for Florida Landscaping
- Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)
- Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
- Florida maple (Acer floridanum)
- Flowering dogwood (Prunus mexicana)
- White fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
- Common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
- Weeping bottlebrush tree (Melaleuca viminalis)
- Golden dewdrop tree (Duranta erecta)
- Sweet acacia (Vachellia farnesiana)
- Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria)
- Dahoon Holly (Ilex Cassine)
- Two-winged silverbell (Halesia diptera)
- Oleander (Nerium oleander)
- Sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum)
- Dwarf Cavendish banana tree (Musa acuminata ‘Dwarf Cavendish’)
- Frangipani tree (Plumeria spp.)
- Geiger tree (Cordia sebestena)
- Dwarf jatropha tree (Jatropha integerrima ‘Compacta’)
- Dwarf Poinciana Tree (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
- Powderpuff Tree (Calliandra haematocephala)
- Jerusalem Thorn (Parkinsonia aculeata)
- Purple Glory Tree (Tibouchina granulosa)
- Bougainvillea Tree (Bougainvillea)
1. Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)
An eastern redbud is a great option if you’re seeking a tree to brighten up a plain backyard area.
This diminutive tree, which grows to a height of 20 to 30 feet, will astound you in the early spring when its profusion of stunning pink flower clusters blooms, followed by white flowers. Redbuds will draw a variety of pollinators, butterflies, and birds to brighten up the environment.
Due to its drought tolerance, planting in full sun or light shade will enable this species to thrive on its own and require little maintenance once established. If necessary, prune lateral limbs to make the tree more robust.
2. Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
The Crape Myrtle Tree is a great choice if you like a tree that serves as a privacy screen or a hedge.
Anywhere you put this deciduous tree, colorful summers will become the norm because that’s when it adorns its branches with panicles of lovely pink or burgundy blooms. The shiny green leaves of the tree then change to gold, orange, or burgundy in the fall.
Unusable fruits from the tree make wonderful additions to tabletop potpourris! Additionally, both kids and pets can safely play with the entire tree, including the seeds, roots, stem, blooms, and leaves.
At maturity, they reach heights of 3 to 25 feet and widths of 2 to 15 feet.
3. Florida maple (Acer floridanum)
If you want a tree that will live a long time on your property, the Florida maple is the ideal option. This deciduous tree is well-liked for backyards in the Sunshine State for more reasons than just its soothing yellow and orange fall foliage.
Due to its round growth habit, which typically only grows to a height of twenty to thirty feet and a spread of around twenty-five feet, it is the perfect shade tree without taking up too much room.
The fruits and blossoms that appear every spring are unassuming and simple to tidy up after they fall.
Any substrate that doesn’t retain moisture works well for Florida maple, though it’s always preferable to water it frequently for the best results. Use caution when mowing or digging immediately surrounding the trunk because the roots are shallow.
4. Flowering dogwood (Prunus Mexicana)
When it comes to smaller trees, flowering dogwood, also known as white cornel, arrowwood, and Florida dogwood, is exceptional.
In southern Florida, it has a relatively short trunk and a wide, spreading crown that is brimming with red fruits and 4-petaled white and pink flowers in the spring. It is round, and green leaves change to crimson in the fall, providing a variety of looks all year long.
If planted in the correct shade, this tree will reach a height of 20–40 feet and can withstand cold temperatures and drought. Birds, butterflies, small mammals, and even deer will be attracted by the attractive blossoms and related fruits!
The bark of flowering dogwood has been used medicinally to cure fevers and a variety of mouth issues. It also produces a red dye that can be used for coloring.
5. White fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)
White fringe tree, a small deciduous tree in the olive family, is also known as granny greybeard and old man’s beard. These names derive from the plant’s two-week-long spring blooming blooms, which have long, wispy white petals and equally fragile stalks.
Given that it only grows to a mature height of twenty feet and a spread of fifteen feet, it is a common choice for backyards and urban areas.
Although these trees are fairly resistant to dry spells, they do best with routine irrigation. Any sort of soil will suffice. The fact that this tree requires little maintenance is another benefit of placing it in the landscape.
6. Common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
Common boxwood will look great in a Florida backyard if you’re willing to put some effort into keeping the tree form of this (technical) shrub. This slow-growing evergreen has the potential to grow to a height of twenty feet and become rather dense when grown as a tree.
Although its tree form is regal, it is recognized for its formal appearance in formal gardens when it is shorn into topiaries. The branches react nicely to routine branch cutting and have small, leathery, dark green leaves.
Early spring brings out the unassuming, light-yellow blossoms of this plant. Due to a poisonous alkaloid that makes the species unappealing, this plant is one that wildlife is inclined to avoid.
7. Weeping bottlebrush tree (Melaleuca viminalis)
The weeping bottlebrush tree, a native of Australia, is one of the most well-liked trees in Florida. The magnificent tree has stunning red blossoms and a weeping aspect. The pretty tree is frequently compared to a small weeping willow.
Weeping bottlebrush trees are a great choice for patio or pool privacy or shade because of their broad, dense appearance. Additionally, you might grow a few of them as a hedge along the perimeter of your land.
Apply organic peat moss or topsoil when planting your weeping bottlebrush in a spot with partial or full sun. When fully grown, they are often 8 to 15 feet broad and 15-20 feet tall.
8. Golden dewdrop tree (Duranta erecta)
You can cultivate tropical broadleaf evergreen Golden Dewdrop trees in the ground or containers. The tree produces beautiful clusters of light-blue, white, or violet blooms as well as round or oval leaves with a vivid green tint.
Lots of direct sunlight is necessary for Golden Dewdrop trees to flourish. They prefer their soil to be damp but not soaked, and as they do best in warm climates, they are ideal for Florida’s hot environment.
These trees will thrive in most soil types as long as there is adequate drainage if you can put them in their hardiness zone. The berries are poisonous to people and animals, but the local birds adore them. When fully grown, they are often 10 to 20 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet broad.
These trees grow quite quickly, making them the ideal option for quickly covering a blank region in your garden or courtyard. Golden Dewdrop trees frequently serve as excellent privacy screens as well, especially in a climate like Florida where they can flourish all year long.
9. Sweet acacia (Vachellia farnesiana)
Sweet acacia, another member of the legume family, is a long-lasting perennial with evergreen foliage that adds a stunning focal point to any backyard.
It has a pleasant scent, but you shouldn’t come too close to enjoy it because thorns are present on both the branches and the trunk. The tree, as a whole, offers good protection for both birds and small mammals because of these thorns.
This shrub-turned-tree is suitable for any size yard because of its mature height range of eight feet to twenty feet.
Light green, bipinnate leaves and fluffy yellow flowers that bloom in clusters in the late winter are characteristics of sweet acacia. Southern Europe has seen considerable cultivation of these alluring flowers because they are a key component in perfumes.
10. Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria)
The yaupon holly is the ideal tree if you want to add a dependable splash of brilliant crimson to your environment. The fruit is attractive to a variety of bird and small animal species, while insects find the blossoms attractive.
Yaupon holly can thrive in both sunlight and shade and needs little water to develop. In addition to being used to make Christmas decorations, some owners have collected fruiting branches because they contain caffeine that may be used to make tea. To maintain the tree’s look, prune annually!
11. Dahoon Holly (Ilex Cassine)
The dahoon holly, like the yaupon holly, produces rich red fruits in the winter that entice a variety of birds and creatures to your backyard. The mature height of this tree is typically between twenty and thirty feet, but with appropriate room, it can grow as high as forty feet.
Dahoon is a well-liked option for both urban landscapes and small backyards due to its adaptability to grow in a variety of area sizes. Fortunately, this evergreen plant grows slowly and won’t need frequent pruning to keep its size under control.
Although dahoon can withstand brief periods of dryness, it is essential to constantly water this tree to replicate its native swamp environment and promote its healthiest growth. Dahoon holly needs full sunlight to stretch its leaves out broader and more fully.
12. Two-winged silverbell (Halesia diptera)
Although the juvenile, acidic fruit is appreciated by a variety of species, these fruits turn tan in the fall. Even better, you can gather the fruit for your use as a snack!
Although some people prefer to retain the silverbell as a multi-trunked shrub, it is simple to train it to grow into a tree by focusing on the appearance of a single trunk. Two-winged silverbell prefers partial shade because it is a natural understory plant.
Two-winged silverbell will grow into a lovely deciduous tree that only reaches a low height of fifteen feet if it receives regular watering.
13. Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Oleander trees are tough, attractive flowering trees that are ideal for the humid climate of Florida. These unusual plants begin as shrubs and then grow into trees with several trunks.
The Oleander, a Moroccan native, is a sight to behold every spring. The Oleander produces beautiful cream, gold, orange, salmon, lavender, burgundy, and white flowers, depending on the kind you bring home.
Oleander can be brought indoors during the winter and produces excellent container plants. They can expand anywhere from one to two feet (or more!) every year under optimum circumstances.
Nevertheless, ingesting any component of this tree is poisonous. Therefore, even if it may change confined places, you’ll need to keep children and pets away to prevent unintentional accidents. Their average size of maturity is 6-20 ft tall and 6-10 ft wide.
14. Sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum)
Sparkleberry (huckleberry or farkleberry), a magnificent tree that will shine in any garden size, never ceases to astound with its patchy red and brown bark, alternate oval, glossy leaves, and numerous bell-shaped, amusing white blooms.
Even more intriguingly, sparkleberry replaces the summer bloom with a small, black fruit that matures in the fall. Wildlife also uses this fruit as a major food source!
A sparkleberry in the backyard would be a blessing for any Floridian, and it won’t take up much room as it only grows to a height of 10 to 20 feet and has a similar spread. Humans have historically used sparkleberry to make wooden tools and heal sore throats using leaf extract.
15. Dwarf Cavendish banana tree (Musa acuminata ‘Dwarf Cavendish’)
The dwarf cavendish banana tree, which needs little space to flourish, is ideal if you enjoy bananas. These yellow bananas are essentially the same as those seen in grocery stores and supermarkets. The dwarf cavendish banana tree matures at only 8 to 10 feet in height.
In ideal circumstances, it would take your tree between nine and fifteen months to begin bearing fruit. Once it does, anticipate it to yield almost 100 bananas per growing season! You must completely remove all ripe bananas during harvest to improve plant health and promote a plentiful output.
16. Frangipani tree (Plumeria spp.)
The frangipani (plumeria) plant is the best option if you want to create the aesthetic of a tropical, beach paradise holiday in your backyard. Even better than its luxurious applications, frangipani often grows to a maximum height of eight feet after pruning.
However, as this tree enjoys minimal upkeep, trimming is not required, and even at its natural height, it only grows to a maximum height of twenty feet.
Being succulents, frangipanis are resistant to drought and sun exposure due to their liquid-filled stems. A landscape with frangipani will have a stunning appearance and instantly liven the region up!
17. Geiger tree (Cordia sebestena)
Consider taking home the Geiger tree if you like red blossoms. The Florida-native tree blooms all year long, but in the summer, when they are at their busiest, your landscape will be painted a vibrant crimson! The tree yields tiny, unappealing white edible fruits in the late summer.
The Geiger tree, a native of the West Indies, is a superb landscape plant that adds vitality to any area. The best feature of this tree is that it can withstand wind, salt, and drought, making it ideal for active families.
The vibrant blossoms can be any color but are most frequently orange or yellow. The vivid hues of the blossoms provide a stunning contrast with the lush foliage’s dark green. When fully grown, they are often 10 to 30 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet broad.
18. Dwarf jatropha tree (Jatropha integerrima ‘Compacta’)
Even though it grows quickly, the jatropha tree won’t grow much taller than eight feet, if it has access to full sun, well-drained soil, and regular warm weather.
Since jatropha is an evergreen tree, you won’t have to worry about it occupying all of your available space or making a mess in your yard. Smaller shoots from the main stem of the jatropha plant often sprout, but they can be readily clipped to keep the tree’s shape.
Jatropha will blend in beautifully and stand out when it’s necessary, whether you’re interested in painting the fence with bright colors, adding an accent tree for a striking entrance, or even just as part of a complete landscape design!
19. Dwarf Poinciana Tree (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
The Dwarf Poinciana tree is your best option if you’re planning a theme garden and want to encourage butterflies and hummingbirds. Summertime brings a variety of gold, orange, and burgundy blossoms to this deciduous tree, which is followed by tiny, inedible green fruits.
The tree’s green fruits include dangerous seeds that should not be consumed. The Dwarf Poinciana, which is indigenous to Mexico and Costa Rica, is a fantastic addition to your environment and its diminutive size makes it the ideal accent tree. Their size in maturity is between 10-20 ft tall and 6-12 ft wide.
20. Powderpuff Tree (Calliandra haematocephala)
The Powderpuff tree, a native of Bolivia and a member of the Mimosa family gives your outdoor area a splash of flair and charm. The tree blooms all year long, although its peak season is in the fall and winter.
The tree produces luscious, spherical, red blossoms that resemble feathers and are poisonous to eat. The tree can be grown in containers, however, they have extremely particular soil and fertilizer requirements.
The Powderpuff tree doesn’t live very long, with 10 to 15 years being the average lifespan even under optimal circumstances. If you have a tree that needs to fit in a very small place, you should prune it to reduce its width. When fully grown, they are between 6 and 15 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet broad.
21. Jerusalem Thorn (Parkinsonia aculeata)
The Jerusalem Thorn, which is native to parts of the USA and Mexico, blooms in spring with fragrant yellow flowers and vivid orangish-red pistils that endure all summer. This tree not only grows quickly, but it can also survive a variety of soil types.
The Jerusalem thorn is prickly and draws a variety of useful insects and birds, including butterflies, to your garden. However, even under perfect circumstances, the tree would only live for 15 to 20 years.
In addition, this tree’s leaves contain hydrocyanic acid, which is poisonous if consumed. Their size in maturity is between 15-20 ft tall and 8-15 ft wide.
22. Purple Glory Tree (Tibouchina granulosa)
The Purple Glory, a native of Brazil and Bolivia, is stunning in the spring and summer when its glossy, deep-green leaves provide a backdrop for its stunning purple blossoms. The height of Purple Glory in its natural environment can reach 40 feet!
The tree can be trained to grow erect against a wall or on a trellis or arbor to grow as a vine. It blooms all year round. This tree may be grown in containers and doesn’t require much upkeep.
The Purple Glory enjoys full light and grows best in damp, draining soils that are rich in fertilizer. Their size in maturity is between 10-15 ft tall and 6-10 ft wide
23. Bougainvillea Tree (Bougainvillea)
The Bougainvillea is ideal for your landscapes if a tree that never stops offering is your concept of a wow factor. The tree, which is native to South America, is known for having untidy growth, but this is nothing a good pruning session can’t cure.
Depending on the cultivar, bougainvillea can produce flowers that are gold, pink, white, orange, red, or lavender throughout the year. The sturdy bougainvillea tree can be taught to function as a hedge, privacy screen, and accent tree.
The tree grows best in full light and acidic soil that contains lots of organic matter. Although they come in smaller types, they can reach heights and widths of up to 20 to 30 feet when fully grown.
There are many lovely little dwarf trees available for your Florida property, as you can see. You have a wide range of excellent options, whether you’re looking for something with dense foliage, like the Parkinsonia tree, or something with enormous, colorful blossoms, like the Bougainvillea tree.
You should consult Florida’s USDA hardiness zone to choose the ideal tree for your location to prevent choosing the incorrect small tree. Whatever small or miniature trees you choose to plant, keep in mind to take good care of them and give them the greatest growing conditions.
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A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.