palm trees in a row along common area with grass

10 Florida-Friendly Trees and Shrubs to Plant on Your Property

Michael Tomaino Michael Tomaino

If you’ve lived in Florida, specifically on the Gulf Coast of Florida, for any amount of time, you might be under the impression that you’re limited to local, if not boring, floral and fauna. The numerous reasons are running through your head: it’s too hot, it’s too humid, it’s too salty, it’s too this, it’s too that.
 
We hear you, trust us.
 
Florida can be particularly fickle when it comes to planting and maintaining certain trees, flowers, bushes, shrubs, and more. But as landscape professionals who have been in the land crafting game for over two decades, we’re here to tell you that there’s far more to Florida landscape than you think.

Especially when it comes to trees.

We’re just going to come right out and say it (before we even dive into the article). At Landcrafters, we’re big on trees. We believe that no matter what type of landscape you’re working with—residential, commercial, single-family, apartment complexes, HOAs, and beyond—there’s a beautiful tree that can enhance and elevate your landscape in a snap (without a doubt).

That belief is why we’ve spent years honing our skills, developing a cultivated talent for designing landscapes that include gorgeous, Florida-friendly trees, planting, maintaining, and growing beautiful trees. The best part? There’s a huge variety of trees that can truly thrive on your Florida landscape—we like to call them Florida-friendly.

If you’re looking to spruce up your property with Florida-friendly trees and shrubs, there is actually a large group to pick from. Sure, you’ll have to consider the type of soil you’re dealing with, the moisture in the air in the area you live in, the heat, and more, but as a general rule, these 8 trees and shrubs you see before you are ideal for most Florida properties (specifically for our Pinellas County area).

Are you ready to learn all about the Florida-friendly trees you’ve been missing out on? We thought you might. Check out our list below of some seriously stunning Florida-friendly trees and shrubs, pick your favorites (if you can), and you’ll be one step closer to elevating your landscape with these Florida tried-and-tested trees.

(SPOILER ALERT: These are just 10 of our favorites—the actual list of these Florida-friendly trees goes on and on—and on. Trust us.)

Little Gem Magnolia

The “Little Gem” Magnolia could be the jewel in your landscaping crown thanks to its unique and appealing appearance. This aptly named flowering tree features dark, glossy leaves and large white blooms that create an eye-catching contrast. “Little Gem” is, predictably, smaller than its full-size counterpart, allowing it to function as a shrub-like plant or small tree.

 

It will typically grow to approximately 20 feet over the first 20 years of its life.

A cultivar of the southern magnolia, the Little Gem will thrive in moist, organic soils (if evaluable) and won’t wither away in the full sun or the heat. These babies are considered to be drought-tolerant (moderately) and prefer acidic soil. That being said, they’ll definitely tolerate a slightly basic, even wet or clay soil just fine. Like we said, they’re pretty durable little things.

The good part about this Florida-friendly tree? It’ll grow with ease in the hot and humid weather. The only bad part? Those big, beautiful, fragrant blooms slowly decompose and drop, which some might consider to be too messy. That being said, don’t let a little maintenance keep you from investing in the tree of your dreams—at Landcrafters, we’ve got tree maintenance on lockdown.

Crepe Myrtle

Not unlike the delicious French food, crepe myrtles are a sweet treat for the eyes. These common shrubs and trees are well-known for their impressive floral displays. Bursts of white, pink, and red flowers occur in clusters, farther adding to the beautiful, full-look of these trees.

 

Crepe myrtles are revered for being one of the most versatile landscape for sunny locations (ahem, hello, Florida)—and the best part is, they’re available for use as medium-sized trees, small-sized trees, shrubs, ground cover, and beyond. Yep. They’re that versatile.

Crepe myrtles do require pruning to remain healthy and to encourage growth. This maintenance is easy to perform but can be overdone, so make sure that your landscape professional is familiar with the plants and their care!

The only caveat with these Florida-friendly beauties? They’re not the most salt-tolerant tree we offer. They can deal with full sun, low fertility soil, and lots of drought, but they’ll need to be protected against irrigation with saline water (and they need to be especially well-cared for near the coast).

Frangipani

If you’re familiar with the tropics—and you should be, you’re in Florida, after all—you’re likely familiar with frangipani, whether you know it or not. Also known as (and actually, more commonly known as plumeria), these flowering ornamentals are native to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, and Colombia.

 

The blooms produced by these incredible plants are iconic. From trinkets in gift shops to Hawaiian leis, the undeniably recognizable flowers are truly stunning and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. They’re highly valued for how bright, colorful, and vibrant they are, making them an exceptional Florida-friendly tree for anyone who’s looking for a whole lot of eye-catching zest in their landscape.

They are also relatively easy to care for and can be planted in the earth or in containers. If opting for the latter, more frequent maintenance is required due to their tendency to become rootbound. In tropical environments, the colder months are generally not an issue. That being said, if we do ever get a random Florida freeze (which, we sometimes do during our mild winters), it’s best to take any and every precaution as they are not (repeat, not) equipped to deal with freezing temperatures or frost.

 

Geiger Tree

Dense, rounded, and evergreen, this native tree is the perfect addition to any Florida landscape—commercial, residential, or a mix. These big, amazing trees can grow up to a height of 30 feet and spread their branches over 25 feet wide. Their trunks can even swell to up to 12 inches thick!

 

And while the green leaves on this tree are rough, hairy, and can feel like sandpaper (they look good but they’re not particularly pleasant to touch), they also feature impossible-to-ignore orange blossoms that basically explode with vibrancy. There are few trees that look quite as Florida as the Geiger tree, which hands down makes it one of Florida’s most beautiful native trees.

If orange clashes with your style, you can opt for white and yellow blooms. The best part? These trees can be used as container or planter shrubs or can be allowed to grow into huge trees—giving you some serious versatility. No matter which variety you choose, these lovely trees are guaranteed to enhance your landscaping!

 

Dwarf Poinciana

With a fun name like the dwarf poinciana, this tree should tell you that it’s anything but boring. Dotted with brilliant yellow wand scarlet flowers (plus feathery foliage that has exceptionally quick growth), this beautiful tree is a Florida-must-have if you’re looking to bring some serious color and vibrancy to your commercial or residential landscape.

 

With its multiple trunks and shrubby appearance, the dwarf poinciana (also called the Barbados flower fence) is a tree that fills the void between shrub and full-grown tree and offers plenty of open-branched, fine-textured beauty and security for your landscape.

Not only does it meet this need, but it also does so in an impressive manner. The versatility of this particular plant is valuable, too. You can choose to grow it in the shape of a large shrub or prune it to maintain a more tree-like appearance! Best of all, this shrub-tree combination can tolerate hot, dry areas with no problems at all—it even flowers year-round with a peak display you won’t want to miss come spring and fall seasons.

 

Tibouchina Granulosa

With evergreen characteristics, this sprawling, ornamental tree has a nickname that makes perfect sense. Called the purple glory tree, this shrub-tree-combination flaunts absolutely gorgeous purple blossoms that flare open up to 2 inches and create a gorgeous sight when in full bloom.

 

These blooms, set against the 4-6-inch long leaves that are dark green and velvety, present an amazing contrast that’s a true sight to see. And while they’re open throughout the year, they’re especially plentifully from May to January.

The cool part about this beautiful Florida-friendly tree? Though it’s perfectly normal to have this plant as a shrub, when taken care of and grown correctly, they can grow anywhere from 15-20 feet tall and spread from 15-20 feet wide.

 

Standard Bottlebrush

Another shrub that’s aptly named, the bottlebrush plant is an absolute must-include for those looking for a striking addition to their landscape that accomplishes many purposes at once. With a standard bottlebrush plant, you’ll attract visitors of all types—from stunned and impressed passersby to butterflies, hummingbirds, and other types of wildlife.

 

A bottlebrush is a plant that’s known best for its striking and distinctive flowers—bright red spikes that look like a bottle washer. An upright species, the standard bottlebrush can make an exceptional shrub, but it also grow as high as a tree, up to 25 feet. With a little extra patience, it can even be trained as an espalier.

The bottlebrush thrives in full sun, is drought-tolerant, and can handle salt as well—making it a perfect Florida shrub to include.

 

Golden Dewdrop

Looking for a showy shrub? Look no further than the golden dewdrop. A wild, small, and stunning shrub, this beautiful plant is a must-add for any landscape that needs a little something extra to jazz itself right up.

 

Its wild, golden-yellow berries give it a unique look and often share the stage with gorgeous purple flowers—a jaw-dropping combo when in full bloom. That being said, it’s vital that you don’t eat any of those tantalizing looking berries, they’re actually poisonous to humans. In other words, just look, don’t touch (or consume).

A natural native to the Florida Keys, this plant is found almost everywhere along the sunbelt of the united states, like Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, Hawaii, and more. AKA, it actually grows best and thrives in full sunlight (even though it will tolerate a little partial shade, too).

While the shrub can be tamed, it takes frequent trimming. Otherwise, allow the plant to run wild and impress with its natural beauty or trim occasionally to keep it in check. That being said, it can grow up to 18 feet tall if allowed.

 

Jacaranda

For those of you looking for a potentially enormous addition to your landscape, look no further than the Florida-friendly Jacaranda.

 

This larger-than-life tree can grow up to 100 feet in height! With soft, fern-like, and deciduous foliage, the Jacaranda has dense, terminal clusters of fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers in varying shades of light-lavender blue that bloom in April through August.

These trees are wonderful for a little extra spunk in your landscape, but because of their height and spread, they make fantastic shade trees, too—beauty and function, how about that?

Originally native to southern and central south America, these fast-growing trees do best in full-sun, have a high drought-tolerance, and can tolerate all kinds of soil.

 

Tabebuia

Looking for options? You’re going to love this tree. The tabebuia tree comes in a ton of different varieties—in fact, it comes in over 100 varieties, every last one of the more beautiful than the last.

 

They can feature single or multiple trunks, but all include clustered blooms that are sure to enhance your landscaping in the spring. Warm locations with soil that has good drainage are a must. That being said, they are able to adapt to a multitude of growing conditions, making them a great choice for south Floridians.If you’re ready to transform your outdoor space with these beautiful, durable trees, look no farther than our trained experts who can help you through the process by inspecting and evaluating your property to offer recommendations tailored to your needs.

Though we’re proud to offer you a myriad of landscaping services, our main goal at Landcrafters is to ensure we’re building and maintaining a stunning landscape that speaks to your vision! And helping you choose, plant, and care for the right trees on your property is a big part of that.

Landcrafters prides itself on its custom-tailored designs and use of only the highest-quality plants and trees. Whether you’re looking for something exotic or something with local flavor, getting a quote from us is quick, easy, and free! (And you can guarantee the trees we recommend will be Florida-friendly, easy to care for, and an integral piece of your stunning landscape).

So, what are you waiting for? Contact us with any questions at 727-201-3947 and check out our regularly updated blog for insider tips and tricks!

While you’re at it, discover more beautiful plants and trees in our FREE e-book! This easy guide contains many new & unique plants, tips for how to take care of them, providing you with information to create the garden of your dreams.

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Michael Tomaino

Michael Tomaino