The Best Accent Trees for Your Tampa Bay Landscape

Brent Wastney Brent Wastney

Something that makes landscaping such a fascinating and engaging line of work is the myriad of individual parts that must work together to create a thoughtful, beautiful, cohesive outcome. It’s a bit like composing a symphony, where every instrument must play its role to perfection for the finished piece to succeed.

If the tremolo of the violins is the ornate dressing to the body of the orchestra, the same could be said of accent trees and their role in elevating your lawn, shade trees, and other staple elements of your landscape. In other words, they are an essential addition to any Tampa Bay property seeking to elevate its aesthetic and comprehensive product to a higher level.

Finding the right accent trees to complement your preexisting landscaping is key to unlocking the full potential of your Tampa Bay property. That’s where our over 20 years of experience and expertise comes in. Just consider us the conductor of the symphony that is your landscape!

Accent Trees to Beautify Your Tampa Bay Property

In Florida, we are sometimes spoiled for choice when it comes to plant life and potential landscaping additions. The same can be said of accent trees, but have no fear—we’re here to help you filter through the many options and discern which are best for your landscape.

Keep in mind that every property is different, even if they share the Tampa Bay area. As such, it’s best to work with a reputable professional landscaper in Tampa Bay to evaluate your particular property and outfit your landscape with the perfect accent trees for your unique situation.

Japanese Blueberry

This accent tree captures the attention of passersby thanks to its narrow form and near Christmas tree shape. These distinctive traits are complemented by its tropical foliage, white spring flowers, and blue berries in the fall and winter (please don’t eat them, they are not fit for consumption).

Japanese blueberry trees in Florida are extremely versatile. They can fit into small spaces, act as natural privacy screens, and be shaped as you see fit. Despite their slow growth rate, they are also quite hardy. With a little watering, thoughtful pruning, and regular fertilization, these accent trees should thrive throughout the year.


For an accent tree that is as versatile as they come, many Tampa Bay property owners opt for ligustrum trees. These beauties require minimal maintenance, remain green all year, and can be shaped into nearly any form that suits your landscape. You can even top-prune these accent trees to limit their height—a rarity among trees.

One of the favored uses of ligustrum trees is as privacy hedges. Because they grow quickly and feature naturally dense foliage, they fit this purpose exceptionally well. Don’t mistake their practical use for a lack of aesthetic appeal, though. Ligustrum trees grow with multiple trunks, giving them an unmistakable appearance that adds visual texture to any landscape.

Screw Pine

If you’re looking for an accent tree that will make people stop in their tracks to stare, the screw pine is the plant for you. Though it is called a pine, it looks more like a palm tree thanks to its frond-like leaves (which are covered in spines—be careful!).

It’s not just the fronds that set this tree apart. Instead of a traditional trunk, the screw pine rises from the earth on prop roots that almost look like stilts. From there, its multiple trunks grow in a swirling pattern thanks to the lead scars that wrap around them.

While it shouldn’t be placed in high-traffic areas, the screw pine can add a bit of drama and flair to a landscape. It is an extremely durable plant that requires little watering, some fertilization, and the occasional removal of dead leaves.

Magnolia “Little Gem”

You can’t talk about accent trees in the South without mentioning the “Little Gem” Magnolia. Known for their unearthly white blossoms that are incredibly fragrant, these trees are more than worth consideration when you’re selecting accent trees for your Tampa Bay property.

The unmistakable flowers are flanked by bronze and green leaves, making this small, almost shrub-like tree an excellent addition to your landscape. Accompanying its wondrous physical appearance are rugged physical traits. It is a slow-growing tree but requires little maintenance—just a bit of watering and fertilization to ensure it reaches its full potential.

Unlike its full-size magnolia counterparts, the Little Gem does not make a mess of leaves and fallen blossoms, making it even more desirable as an accent piece.


With its fast growth and vibrant flowers that grow in distinctive spikes and clusters, the bottlebrush makes for a highlight addition to any Tampa Bay landscape. They can take different forms, including sparse or dense growth, making them versatile plants to include when planning your property.

Other than their distaste for the cold (freezing temperatures will damage them), they are relatively easy to care for. Bottlebrush prefer sunlight, especially if they are to explode in colorful blooms. They are quite tolerant of salt, which is a tremendous advantage for those planting them in Tampa Bay.

Crape Myrtle Tree

With massive clusters of bright flowers that erupt when summer arrives, crape myrtle trees are desirable accent trees that thrive in Tampa Bay. Unlike many of the other trees mentioned in this list, crape myrtles are not evergreen. While they do lose their foliage in the season spanning approximately January to April, their textured bark and summer displays of color make them well worth it.

Crape myrtles are hardy trees that can tolerate the cold and endure Florida’s hot summers. They can benefit from regular watering and strategic pruning. Be sure not to over-trim, however, as this can weaken the tree and make it less visually appealing in the long run.


Renowned for its showy blossoms that tend to steal the spotlight, hibiscus makes an excellent accent tree for Tampa Bay properties looking for something a bit flashy. It’s no surprise that these flowering plants are so popular, especially when you consider the multitude of colors the blooms can have, including red, white, orange, violet, and more.

In warm weather—which Tampa Bay has—hibiscus will flower throughout the year, adding even more intrigue and value to their use as an accent tree. Given enough sun, hibiscus will grow quickly and thrive year-round. Maintenance is relatively low—simply water, prune, and fertilize. It is also recommended that fallen flowers be picked up quickly, as they can become a slipping hazard and stain the ground if left too long.


While often used as a shrub, tibouchina can be grown as an accent tree. What sets this plant apart is its love of the shade and propensity to offer showy purple blossoms despite thriving in the shadows. It is one of the few flowering plants to prefer shade, making it a great strategic addition to your Tampa Bay property.

Tibouchina should be shaped on occasion, as well as fertilized. Overall, they are durable plants that will thrive with a touch of attention and provide your landscape with an unusual (and much appreciated) ability to flower in the shade.

Cassia Tree

For an accent tree with eye-popping yellow flowers, look no further than the cassia tree. They are salt tolerant and green year-round, making them ideal for Tampa Bay’s climate. They tend to feature slim trunks with a filled-out top that boasts vibrant leaves and showy flowers when in bloom.

Fertilization is recommended, but these trees do just fine without trimming. As a simple tree to care for, the value proposition of cassias is very high, making them a compelling option for Tampa Bay properties.

Find the Right Accent Trees for Your Tampa Bay Landscape

Choosing the right accent trees isn’t solely about what tree is the prettiest or requires the least amount of maintenance; it’s about finding the variety that best complements your property and helps complete the vision you have for your landscape.

If you want expert guidance when selecting accent trees for your Tampa Bay property, consider reaching out to Landcrafters. We have over 20 years of experience in the area, and our team is passionate about helping local property owners unlock the full potential of their landscapes.

We also encourage you to visit our blog, where we give you an insider perspective into all things Tampa Bay landscaping.

Brent Wastney

Brent Wastney

Landscape Designer for Landcrafters, Inc. Brent Wastney brings over 30 years of experience in the landscape industry across three different countries: New Zealand, Australia, and currently, he's spent the last 12 years immersed in landscaping here in Florida. Over the past 3 years, Brent has served as a landscape consultant designer, specializing in planning for both new landscape installations and enhancing existing landscapes while fostering strong relationships with clients. In addition to his extensive practical experience, Brent holds a New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture and a Florida National Growers Association Certificate. Furthermore, he's completed Dynascape Landscape Design Classes and attended the Water Star Class.