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Low-maintenance landscape plants for south Florida

Flowering & Shade Trees (F-Z)

Notes

¨ indicates plants commonly available in nurseries and/or garden centers in south Florida
© indicates Florida native plants
 indicates plants that can tolerate wet soils or occasional flooding. 

Click on underlined scientific names for photos and/or more information.  

Common name
Scientific name

Size
(feet)

Light

Salt tolerance

Comments

Fern tree

Filicium decipiens

20-35

Sun or Shade

None

Striking, albeit slow-growing, evergreen ornamental with dense, rounded crown. Small, white flowers. Compound leaves resemble ferns. Fruit purple, olive-like, and forms in clusters. Often two or three trunks.

Lignum vitae ¨©

Guaiacum sanctum
(Link is to related species)

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

6-25

Full sun

High

Attractive, native, slow-growing large shrub to small tree, with blue flowers year round—but best in spring. Flowers followed by yellow seed pods which pop open to reveal shiny, bright red seeds. Extremely dense, prized wood.

Longleaf blolly ©

Guapira discolor

30

Full sun to light shade

High

Attractive native shade tree, especially for beach front. Hardy and adaptable. Greenish flowers insignificant. Female trees bear small, red berries.

Krug holly ¨©

Ilex krugiana

30

Partial shade

High

Native tropical holly with glossy foliage and black fruits. Well adapted to south Florida. Small, reddish berries ripen to black.

Jacaranda ¨

Jacaranda mimosifolia
(Link is to related species)

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

30-50

Full sun

None

Outstanding, showy, lavender-blue, trumpet-shaped flowers in late spring, followed by lacy, fern like foliage. Will succeed on poor soils if freely draining. Can be susceptible to root rot. Roots can lift sidewalk and wood is liable to break in storms.

Chinese juniper

Juniperus chinensis

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

2-50

Full sun

Low-Moderate

See description in “Shrubs & Hedges” above.

Black ironwood ©

Krugiodendrum ferreum

30

Full sun to light shade

Low

See description in “Shrubs & Hedges” above.

Wild tamarind ¨©

Lysiloma latisiliquum

40-60

Full Sun

Moderate

Attractive native, fast-growing tree, providing broken shade.  Bipinnately compound leaves and small, white/pink, pom-pon flowers followed by brown seed pods.

Horseradish tree

Moringa oleifera

25

Full sun

Low

Attractive panicles of fragrant, cream-colored flowers, particularly when climate is dry. With prolonged drought, can loose leaves, but recovers. Needs good drainage.

Simpson’s stopper ¨©

Myrcianthes fragrans

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

6-20

Full sun to partial shade

High

One of the most beautiful and ornamental native woody plants. Densely branched, densely leafy large shrub to small tree. Pure white, puffy flowers followed by large, bright orange berries which contrast with dark foliage. Attractive to birds.

Wax myrtle ¨©

Myrica cerifera

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

10-25

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Native, clumping, fast-growing shrub to small tree with small, evergreen leaves, inconspicuous flowers, and waxy gray fruit attached to twigs. Leaves and fruit smell like bayberry. Tolerates periodic flooding. Natural insect repellant. Attracts birds.

Fried egg tree

Oncoba spinosa

10-15

Full sun

Moderate

Spiny shrub or small tree. Finely serrated, deep green leaves. Prominent, sharp 1-2" spines. Showy 3" flowers with white petals surrounding prominent array of bright yellow stamens and bearing melon like fragrance. Large, hard-shelled berries.

Allspice ¨

Pimenta dioica

40

Full sun

Low

Attractive, peeling bark and edible fruit. Glossy, deep green, oblong to elliptical leaves with prominent veins on undersides. Crushed foliage has clove-like scent.

Slash pine ¨

Pinus elliottii

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

30-60

Full sun

Moderate

South Florida’s only native pine. Difficult to establish on home site. Best when planted in a group. Will not survive compacted soil. Borers and rust can be problems.

Jamaican dogwood ©

Piscidia piscipula

30-50

Full sun

High

Attractive, deciduous, native tree with dark green leaves and masses of white flowers prior to leafing out in spring. Poisonous.

Rusty pittosporum

Pittosporum ferrugineum

20

Full sun

Moderate

Insignificant flowers, but colorful orange berries. Relatively pest and disease free.

Frangipani, plumeria ¨

Plumeria spp.

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

25-40

Full sun

High

Unusual form and very showy, fragrant flowers. Good for sheltered coastal locations away from beach-front. Roots brittle, so larger trees more difficult to install. Leaves prone to rust (fungus) during wet season.

Podocarpus ¨

Podocarpus macrophylla

5-40

Full sun to partial shade

None

Evergreen shrub or tree with needle-like leaves. Makes an excellent hedge. Bears small, bluish ‘berries’.

Live oak ¨©

Quercus virginiana

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

40-50

Full sun

High

Impressive, undemanding, native tree—but not for small lots. Caterpillars, insect galls, and root rot sometimes a problem.

Rain tree

Samanea saman

30-40

Full

Low

Impressive tropical tree resembling live oak in form but faster growing. Attractive pink flowers with prominent red stamens, mostly spring to summer, followed by seed pods. Needs plenty of space for extensive roots; not for small lots.

Soapberry ©

Sapindus saponaria

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

20-60

Full sun

High

Native tree with broad crown, dense foliage, and attractive yellow fruit. Excellent shade tree for small yards. Seeds poisonous.

False mastic ©

Sideroxylon foetidissimum

50-70

Full sun

Moderate

Large tree with pale, bright yellow, fragrant flowers in summer. Fruit ripen in late winter. Principal landscape attributes, ability to thrive on infertile, alkaline soils and excellent resistance to storms. Also known as Mastichodendron foetidissimum.

African tulip tree

Spathodea campanulata

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

50-80

Full sun

Moderate

Showy when in bloom, but blossoms and fruit messy. Drought tolerant once established. Weak wood; older trees particularly prone to break up.

Mahogany ¨©

Swietenia mahogani

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

40-75

Full sun

Moderate

Attractive, storm resistant tree. Foliage and stems can be disfigured by insect pests. Falling woody cones can damage vehicles. Prized, deep reddish colored wood.

Tamarind ¨

Tamarindus indica

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

50-90

Full sun

Moderate

Attractive feathery foliage, fissured bark, and yellow/red flowers. Pods contain edible pulp. Highly wind resistant. May need chelated iron on limestone soils.

Tetrazygia, West Indian lilac ¨©

Tetrazygia bicolor

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

6-40

Full sun to light shade

Low

Extremely ornamental, native, tropical shrub to small tree. Beautiful white and yellow flowers followed by purple-black berries, highly attractive to birds. Elegant, glossy, dark green foliage. Cannot be used as hedge, as branches die when pruned.

Walter’s viburnum, black haw ©

Viburnum obovatum

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

12-30

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Native large shrub to small tree with attractive, pure white blossoms in spring, before leaves fully developed. Flowers followed by berries that turn from green to pink to red to purplish-black in the fall. Ideal as a hedge.

Wild lime ©

Zanthoxylum fagara

20

Full sun

Moderate

Attractive tree with recurved spines, lime scented foliage, and insignificant yellow flowers. Attracts butterflies.

Indian jujube

Zizyphus mauritiana

40

Full sun

Moderate

Attractive weeping habit and fissured bark. Scattered small spines. Light green, miniature, apple-like fruit. Withstands drought and temporary inundation. Grows well on limestone soils. Rust disfigures leaves but not seriously.

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  .
Perennials Palms, Cycads & Palm-like Plants (A-E)
Annuals Palms, Cycads & Palm-like Plants (G-Z)
Shrubs & Hedges (A-Ci) Ornamental Grasses
Shrubs & Hedges (Cl-Ha) Groundcovers (A-I)
Shrubs & Hedges (He-P) Groundcovers (J-Z)
Shrubs & Hedges (R-Z) Vines
Flowering & Shade Trees (A-E) Epiphytes
Flowering & Shade Trees (F-Z) Herbs & Vegetables
Fruit Trees  

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Scientific Name / Common Name Cross-Reference

Common Name / Scientific Name Cross-Reference

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