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20 Best Flowering Trees to Grow in Arizona

Whilst large swathes of Arizona are taken up by three deserts, this doesn’t mean that gardeners will have to settle for skimpy returns on their efforts.

About half of Arizona is semi-arid, one-third is arid and the rest is humid.

The Basin and Range areas have a semi-arid and arid subtropical climate that attracts many winter visitors. Whilst light frosts may occur here, the climate gives gardeners many options to experiment with.

Whether you’re in the Colorado Plateau or Flagstaff, where temperatures are often 30 °F (17 °C) cooler than those of Phoenix, there are plenty of flowering trees for you to choose from.

20 Best Flowering Trees To Plant In Arizona

1. Tipu (Tipuana tipu)

Tipu
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

The Tipu is a fast-growing tree that can easily tolerate the intense heat and cold temperatures that the AZ desert will throw at it. It’s popular as a shade tree and is medium to large.

The feather-like green foliage contrasts beautifully with the golden blooms in the spring. The Tipu is semi-evergreen who’s abundance of nectar serves to attract birds and pollinators into your garden.

The bark is fissured and a golden brown color, that adds extra interest to the foliage and showy blooms. The Tipu requires full sun and has moderate water needs, making it suitable for desert environments. The Tipu is a good choice for those looking for a fast-growing shade tree with its unique character.

Other Common Names: Yellow Jacaranda, Rose Wood, Tipu Tree, Pride Of Bolivia

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall and 30-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late Spring

2. Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia)

Jacaranda
Image by Chris McGaw via Flickr

Jacarandas are admired for their purple/lavender blooms in the mid to late spring. These natives of Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil are fast-growing with a wide, rounded, and spreading crown.

The large, soft, fern-like bright green foliage makes the Jacaranda popular as a shade tree in homes as well as for urban planting, due to the architectural accents these trees provide. They are semi-evergreen.

Jacarandas prefer well-drained, moderately fertile, moist and sandy, soils. They are drought tolerant once established due to their deep root system.

The bell-shaped flowers are a favorite nectar source for hummingbirds and other wildlife, so is a wonderful addition to the landscape. Whilst they are quite large, they can be trained to fit in more compact spaces.

Other Common Names: Black Poui, Blue Jacaranda, Fern Tree, Nepur

Growing Zones: 9b-11

Average Size at Maturity: 25-50 ft tall and 15-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: Mid-to-late spring

3. Orchid Tree (Bauhinia variegata)

Orchid Tree (Bauhinia variegata)
Image by Ed via Flickr

The Orchid tree is a small, semi-evergreen tree with a spreading canopy of light green butterfly/heart-shaped leaves and unique orchid-like flowers.

They are copious bloomers from late winter to spring and offer bright pink/purple/white flowers that are sure to catch anyone’s attention. They contrast beautifully with the foliage and are attractive to hummingbirds.

The flowers are borne near the branch tips and are followed by sharp, flat beaked pods 12” long. Orchid trees work well as tropical or subtropical accents trees and will tolerate temperatures down to 22 Fahrenheit.

Orchid trees can be easily grown in moist well-drained soil and should be protected from cold winds. Whilst they tend to grow as multi-stemmed shrubs, staking and pruning will encourage them to take shape as attractive trees.

They do best with some afternoon shade in low-lying desert areas of AZ such as Phoenix.

Other Common Names: Purple Orchid Tree, Ebony Wood, Camels Foot Tree, Mountain Ebony

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 ft tall and 15-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late winter to spring

4. Blue Leaf Wattle (Acacia saligna) – Yellow Flowering Tree

Blue Leaf Wattle
Image by Sydney Oats via Flickr

The Blue Leaf Wattle is a small, densely spreading shrub or small tree, with a dome-shaped pendulous crown that is usually symmetrical. This native of Australia is adapted to hot, desert climates and requires little to no maintenance. It’s tolerant of high desert heat, requiring no shade, and is hardy down to 19 Fahrenheit.

It has a spreading or weeping canopy and a vigorous growth rate that requires no pruning. It’s often wider than it is tall. Stems are lined with small, pendulous-globular flowers in spring, followed by attractive seed pods.

The Blue Leaf Wattle is tolerant of all but the most alkaline soils and has been widely planted to combat soil erosion and for its nitrogen-fixing abilities in suitable climates.

Other Common Names: Golden Wreath Wattle, Western Australian Golden Wattle, Orange Wattle, Port Jackson Willow

Growing Zones: 8-12

Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

5. Museum Palo Verde (Parkinsonia x ‘Desert Museum’) – Yellow Flowering Tree

Museum Palo Verde (Parkinsonia x ‘Desert Museum’)
Image by cultivar413 via Flickr

The Desert Museum Palo Verde is a fast-growing deciduous tree of medium size, that develops an upright canopy. Unlike other Palo Verde’s, the Desert Museum has thornless green stems and branches.

Huge quantities of lemon-colored flowers emerge in the spring and last longer than other trees in the species commonly found in AZ.

The Desert Museum will suit anyone looking for a fast-growing tree that casts delicate shade and also flowers profusely.

It can easily be trained into a canopy tree and will grow best in well-draining soils in full sun and exposure to summer heat. Water deeply and infrequently to avoid weak branches forming from rapid growth.

Other Common Names: Desert Museum Palo Verde

Growing Zones: 8-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 20-25 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

6. Bottle Tree (Brachychiton populneus) – Red & White Flowering Tree

Bottle Tree
Image by Jesús Cabrera via Flickr

The Bottle Tree is a fast-growing evergreen tree. Young trees have an upright growth habit, whilst older trees will develop a rounder, dome shape. The foliage are glossy green, 2-3” long leaves that flutter and dance in the breeze, similar to poplars.

Creamy white, pink, and bell-shaped flowers emerge in early to mid-spring but are most noticeable when they fall to the ground.

Clusters of large woody seed pods appear in the summer and open to reveal the seeds inside. They can persist on the tree for many months. These natives of the foothills and plains of Eastern Australia are adapted to semi-arid climates, warm temperatures, and seasonal drought.

The common name of Kurrajong, means shade tree in an aboriginal language of Austalia. They’ll grow best in well-drained soils in full sun.

The upright habit, light frost, heat, and drought tolerance of the Bottle Tree make them suitable for many gardeners in AZ, especially in the South of the state, where they are common street trees.

Other Common Names: Kurrajong Bottle Tree, Black Kurrajon

Growing Zones: 8-11

Average Size at Maturity: 30-45 ft tall and 7-16 ft wide

Flowering Season: Early to mid-spring

7. Weeping Bottle Brush (Callistemon viminalis) – Red Flowering Tree

Weeping Bottle Brush (Callistemon viminalis)
Image by Leonora “Ellie” Enking via Flickr

The Weeping Bottle Brush is a magnificent small tree or shrub noted for its pendulous bright red flowers that resemble a bottle brush. The branches are adorned with narrow, light green leaves and dense spikes up to 6” long. The flowers are an important source of nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies.

New growth emerges from the end of the inflorescence and the young leaves are covered in bronze hairs. The flowers give way to woody seed capsules which annually release their seeds. The Weeping Bottle Brush is often used as a screen or hedge and is planted for erosion control.

It’ll grow best in slightly moist, acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade, but should be sheltered from strong wind.

Other Common Names: Weeping Bottle Brush

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: Sporadically from late spring to summer

8. Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)

Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)
Image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr

The strawberry tree is a beautiful tree that’ll bring year-round interest to your yard. It’s commonly grown as a small shrub or tree and has a slow-growing pace, and thrives in well-drained acidic lime soil. Plants are wind and drought tolerant and will even grow in well-drained clay.

The strawberry tree is evergreen, ornamental, and produces edible drupes (not strawberries) ½ to 1” in diameter that is used in wines, liqueurs, in preserves.

They are an important source of food for birds in the winter and turn from orange to red in the fall. The crown of the strawberry tree is rounded and the evergreen leaves are a rich dark green and are 2-4” in length.

The bloom is a whitish pink and spherical/urn-shaped.

Other Common Names: Madroño

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and 15-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: October to December

9. Coral Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus torquata)

Coral Gum
Image by Sydney Oats via Flickr

The Coral Gum eucalyptus is a low maintenance drought tolerant shade tree with a columnar crown and red/brown scaly bark.

It produces purple and red capsules and delicately speckled, red, white, cream-hued blossoms and is capable of flowering at a young age. The rough gray bark contrasts agreeably with the pendulous leaves.

The Coral Eucalyptus will grow in sandy, clay soils, and well-drained dry loams and is a good choice for Phoenix gardeners. Like most eucalyptus, its light green lanceolate foliage is pleasantly fragrant.

The flowers are abundant producers of nectar and as such are valuable for many kinds of wildlife. They also last a while as cut flowers.

Other Common Names: Coolgardie Gum

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 13-36 ft tall and 13-36 ft wide

Flowering Season: Mid-summer

10. Common Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) – Pink Flowering Tree

Common Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
Image by Dinesh Valke via Flickr

The common crape myrtle is a small shrub or tree with a variable, moderately dense habit and is often multi-stemmed. It’s a superb landscaping choice for the high-desert. The pink blossom has wrinkled petals like crepe paper.

The foliage is dark green and turns shades of orange, red and yellow in the fall. The bark is thin and exfoliating and exposes a varicolored underbark in shades of gray and brown.

The crape myrtle will grow in almost any kind of soil including clay and is well suited to the aridity of AZ. It needs good moisture when young but is drought tolerant upon maturity and will adapt to small spaces, making it a good choice for people with small spaces they want to beautify.

Pinching new growth will increase flower production, and many people choose to cut off the lower branches to expose the showy bark, although this will decrease cold-hardiness so should be done by August at the latest.

Other Common Names: Crepe Myrtle, Crape Myrtle

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 ft tall and 6-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: June to September

11. Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Magnolia G
Image by John K Thorne via Flickr

The Southern Magnolia is a USA native and is commonly grown throughout the southern areas of the country. The Southern Magnolia is an evergreen, medium-sized tree that demands to be noticed, with its dense crown and giant flowers. They have a straight trunk and a rounded/pyramidal crown.

The creamy white flowers are fragrant and appear at the tips of the thick stems in the late spring and may continue into the fall. The cup-shaped blossom opens in the morning and closes at night over 2-3 days, followed by cone-shaped seed pods containing rosy-red seeds. The foliage are large, leathery, soft, elliptical/oblong, and are between 5-10” long.

Magnolia Grandiflora are popular as shade and ornamental trees, and also provide habitat for many native birds and mammals, including quails, turkeys, and woodpeckers. It’s best grown in organically rich, neutral to acidic well-drained soils.

It’ll tolerate sandy or clay soils but isn’t tolerant of extreme drought, pollution, or wetness.

Other Common Names: Evergreen Magnolia, Loblolly Magnolia, Great Laurel Magnolia, Big Laurel, Bull Bay

Growing Zones: 7-10

Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 ft tall and 30-50 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late spring to fall

12. Mexican Bird Of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) – Yellow Flowering Tree

Mexican Bird Of Paradise
Image by ALAN SCHMIERER via Flickr

The Mexican bird of paradise is native to northern Mexico and is a thornless shrub or small tree. It features lush compound feathery flowing green leaves, and large lemon-yellow, spike-flowers.In mild climates, it’ll remain evergreen but can shed its leaves with exposure to temperature extremes.

Flowers appear sporadically throughout the warmer months and are followed by large woody seed pods. The Mexican bird of paradise will thrive in full sun and reflected heat, as long as it has good drainage.

Other Common Names: Evergreen Bird of Paradise, Mexican Poinciana, Mexican Holdback, Mexican Caesalpinia

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring to fall

13. Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus) – Pink/Lilac/White Flowering Tree

Chaste Tree
Image by manuel m. v. via Flickr

The Chaste tree is native to the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia, and blooms from late spring to early fall. The foliage and flowers are also pleasantly fragrant, making this desert hardy species hard to resist.

The spike-like flowers attract butterflies and other pollinators. Its name comes from its use in herbal medicine where it’s believed to be an anaphrodisiac (decreases libido.)

Chaste trees can be grown as shrubs or small trees. They need full sun and well-drained soil and are suited to xeric gardens, making them perfect for water-conscious desert gardeners.

Once established, chaste trees require little care, apart from removing the spent flowers to keep them from going to seed and carry on flowering.

Other Common Names: Lilac Chaste Tree, Monk’s Pepper Tree, Chaste Berry, Abrahams Balm

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 3-20 ft tall and 3-20 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late spring to early fall

14. Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)

Texas Mountain Laurel
Image by Mickey via Flickr

Texas Mountain Laurels are small, slow-growing flowering trees or shrubs. They feature dense, compound foliage of 7-9 leaflets with rounded edges, on multi-trunked trees or shrubs.

The flowers resemble wisteria in color and form that are blue/lavender, hang in clusters, and are fragrant. The leaflets taper gradually to the base, and are 2” or longer.

The Texas Mountain Laurel is a popular native evergreen, that’s drought-tolerant and prefers rocky well-drained limestone soil. As such, they are a slow-growing species, so will be suited to AZ gardeners who don’t mind waiting for the reward this species offers those who cultivate it.

Other Common Names: Mezcal Bean, Mescal Bean Sophora, Frijolillo, Frijolito, Mountain Laurel

Growing Zones: 7b-10b

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 ft and 7-10 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring

15. Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Image by Euro Slice via Flickr

The Oleander is native of the Mediterranean and grows as a shrub or hedge, but can be seen pruned into a small tree around Phoenix. It thrives in poor soil and neglect and needs little in the way of water or feeding.

Oleander blooms can be pink, white, or yellow, and occur mainly in the spring and fall, or even longer in mild weather areas.

Oleanders can be grown in a variety of soils, from dry sandy soils to moist clay. They are extremely drought tolerant and fast-growing and have a dense branching pattern, making them popular as hedges to hide unsightly views.

Whilst they’ll thrive in the desert, they can also be grown in humid, cooler areas too. In very hot areas, they’ll flower more reliably in light shade and do best in places where temperatures stay above freezing but can tolerate light frost.

All parts of the oleander are severely poisonous.

Other Common Names: Adelfa, Nerium

Growing Zones: 8-10

Average Size at Maturity: 8-20 ft tall and 8-12 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring to fall

16. Yellow Oleander (Thevetia peruviana)

Yellow Oleander
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

The Yellow Oleander was believed to be a relative of Nerium Oleander, giving it its name. It’s native to parts of Mexico and Central America. It’s a large shrub or small tree, that’ll thrive in the heat, but whose trunk may be susceptible to sun-scald. However, this can be avoided by using trunk paint.

Clusters of tubular yellow-orange flowers appear in the warmer months. They flare out at the tip into five flower petals, are 2” long, and are fragrant.

The thick fruit is four-sided and changes color as it matures, changing from green when it emerges, to a deep, lipstick red, finally to a dull black upon maturity. They can become invasive if grown in open areas, so exercise caution where planting.

Other Common Names: Cook Tree, Be-Still Tree, Lucky Nut, Dicky Nut

Growing Zones: 8b-10

Average Size at Maturity: 7-20 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late spring to fall

17. Texas Wild Olive (Cordia boissieri) – White Flowering Tree

Texas Wild Olive
Image by 阿橋 HQ via Flickr

The Texas Wild Olive is an ornamental shrub or tree, with large and soft, dark green leaves, and large, flamboyant trumpet-like flowers with a yellow throat. The trunk is sinuous when immature, but becomes more attractive when it ages. In its natural range, it’s drought tolerant and can be commonly found planted on the highway.

Butterflies love the bloom, which is followed by 1” fruit. Texas Wild Olives are capable of blooming year-round but will do so most prolifically during late spring to early summer. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

Other Common Names: Anacahuita, Mexican Olive, White Olive, White Cordia

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 17-23 ft tall and 10-16 ft wide

Flowering Season: Year-round

18. Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)

Desert Willow
Image by John Rusk via Flickr

Desert Willows are commonly grown flowering trees throughout the country for their rapid growth, and small size. They feature a twisted trunk, deciduous green foliage, and slender twigs. The flowers of the Desert Willow are dark purple or pink-colored, with 5 petals. The flowers stand out due to the yellow/white strike that runs through the center.

Whilst a member of the Bignoniaceae family, its common name comes from the resemblance of its leaves to those of willows. Desert Willows are beautiful desert trees native to areas of the Southwest United States, at elevations below 1500 meters in the Colorado and Mojave Deserts.

Desert Willows are drought-tolerant trees, that grow well in full sun in well-drained soil and their fragrant flowers are attractive to hummingbirds.

Other Common Names: Flowering Willow, Willowleaf Catalpa, Willow-leaved Catalpa, Flor de Mimbre, Mimbre

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide

Flowering Season: Spring to fall

19. Pink Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia rosea) – Pink Flowering Tree

Pink Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia rosea)
Image by Kandukura Nagarjun via Flickr

Native to Central America and northern parts of South America, the Pink Trumpet Tree is a spectacular, small to medium-sized flowering tree. They are evergreen with long and smooth trunks and a rounded spreading crown.

The eye-catching flowers are white-pinkish-purple with a standout yellow throat. The prolific blooms appear in clusters and are followed by bean-like seed pods. The leaves are palmate and leathery, oblong to elliptic.

The Pink Trumpet Tree is tolerant of many soil conditions but will grow best in deep, rich, well-drained soils in full sun.

Other Common Names: Pink Poui, New World Trumpet, Pink Tecoma, Rosy Trumpet Tree

Growing Zones: 9b – 11

Average Size at Maturity: 20-40 ft tall and 25-30 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late winter early spring before the leaves emerge

20. Red Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Red Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
Image by Francis Chung via Flickr

Hibiscus are loved around the world for their tropical appeal and gorgeous flowers. If you live in the warmer parts of AZ where temperatures rarely dip below 35 Fahrenheit, you can grow Hibiscus in your garden.

These tropical beauties originate in the Pacific and Asia and are cultivated in many subtropical and tropical regions around the world.

The flowers are large and emerge individually, often with a pale yellow hue in the center. The middle of the flowers has a distinctive pollen clad tube. They’re attractive to both hummingbirds and butterflies. Hibiscus prefer well-drained, rich, slightly acidic soils.

Arizona In Bloom

The vast state of Arizona stretches from zones 4b in the Colorado Plateau, or Central Highlands, to 10b in the warmer areas of the Basin and Range. Consequently, there are plenty of flowering trees for you to choose from to plant in your garden.

If you’re in the desert lowlands, just remember that some trees may have to be provided with a micro-climate that incorporates afternoon shade from the harsh southern sun and have some drought tolerance to survive.

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