Best Trees for South Florida Landscaping

Live Oak
If trees are a part of your landscaping process, it’s important to grow native. Why? Because, South Florida native trees are happy. They provide food and shelter for native insects, birds, small mammals and amphibians, as well as helping to protect the environment. Plus, Florida-friendly trees increase the value of your home.

Your best option is to work with South Florida landscapers, who know the secrets of right tree, right place.

Small Trees (Average mature spread is less than 20 feet)
Japanese PrivetFirebush (Hamelia patens) rates high on the list of common native trees for use in South Florida landscaping. It is also one of the most beautiful trees you can find anywhere; orangish-red tubular flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Firebush is a good option when populating your landscaping, as it is a quick-growth tree. which can reach up to 12 feet tall and 15 feet wide.

Florida is the only state where Firebush grows wild.

Other small native trees to consider are: Japanese Privet (Ligustrum japonicum), Fiddlewood (Citharexylum fruticosum), Silver Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) or even Spanish Stopper (Eugenia foetida).

Middle Sized Tree (Average mature spread is less than 30 feet)
Sea GrapeSatin Leaf (Chrysophyllum oliviforme) tree is a Florida native known for its gorgeous leaves – the upper sides are a glossy dark green, and the bottom sides are a satiny bronze. This medium sized shade tree produces a purple edible fruit about the size of olives. Satin leaf tree has poor salt tolerance, not well-suited for South Florida beachfront landscaping. Sea Grape is a medium sized option if your home fronts the beach and is salt water tolerant.

Other medium native trees to consider are: Autograph Tree (Clusia rosea), Green Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus), Orange Geiger (Cordia sebestena) and Pigeon Plum ( Coccoloba diversifolia)

Big Trees (Average mature spread is greater than 30 feet)

Gumbo LimboLive Oak (Quercus Virginiana) – epitomizing “presence” – is the uber shade state tree of Florida. A marvelous home for wildlife, the Live Oak doesn’t generate acorns for about 20-plus years. However, they live for-practically-ever, or at least for centuries if left alone to grow without human interference. Take note, Live Oak is a canopy tree, which requires ample growing space.
Other large native trees to consider are: Gumbo Limbo ( Bursera simaruba), Mahogany (Swietenia mahogani), Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia), Queen Crape Myrtle (lagerstroemia speciosa) & Wild Tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliqua).

Royal PalmPalm Trees

Let’s not forget the Florida state palm trees – the Cabbage Palmetto (Sabal Palmetto) – commonly grown as a “street tree” (planted between curb and sidewalk). It’s topped off with a round crown of fan-shaped evergreen leaves, which can reach 4-5 feet in length and 1-2 inches in width. Cabbage Palmetto’s straight, unbranched trunk grows high as 30- 40 feet and reaches 1-2 feet in diameter.

This Florida-friendly tree produces black, fleshy fruits, which are enjoyed by squirrels and other forms of wildlife. Cabbage Palmetto’s are rated extremely salt tolerant, which makes it an ideal tree for your beachfront property.

Other native palm trees to consider are: Florida Royal palm (Roystonea sp.), and clumping multi trunk Paurotis Palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii).

Fruit Trees
LoquatSo, so many fruit trees make their home in South Florida, it isn’t possible to choose just one. Instead, let’s take a peek at two fruits you may not know about.
Chocolate Pudding Trees (diospyros digyna) Hey, all you chocoholics grab your digging tools (or tell your landscaping architect) and plant a chocolate pudding, aka black sapote, tree. This tree bears a type of persimmon, with a strong similarity to chocolate pudding.
Although its fruit may look past their prime, it isn’t ready to eat until the color shifts from light to dark green. Cut the ripe persimmon in half and eat with a spoon. (Seeds aren’t edible.) Savor the sweet flavor of chocolate pudding, from your very own tree.
Loquat Trees (eriobotria japonica) produce succulent orangish-yellowish fruits, which resemble the taste of pear blended with peach and traces of mango and citrus.

Since these evergreen trees are considered ornamentals by some landscaping companies, they aren’t typically chosen as quality fruit producers. However, tree farms are now growing “new and improved” loquat trees whose fruit is more luscious than the usual landscaping variety.

Final Words
Do you want your South Florida landscaping to express your eco-friendly side? Ready…Set…Plant a Tree…Grow Native!

I invite you to contact me at Gardening Services with your questions and landscaping needs by: phone (954) 680-8100 or E-mail RobertClauss@GardenServices.us

Until next time, Happy Gardening!