11 Small & Dwarf Trees for Florida (for Tight Spaces)

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Written By Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

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Home » Florida » 11 Small & Dwarf Trees for Florida (for Tight Spaces)

Small or dwarf trees provide shade in small landscapes or beautify tight spaces like porches or patios.

Another plus of small or dwarf trees is that they are easier to manage than their larger counterparts.

Here, are some of the loveliest smaller trees you can successfully grow in Florida.

11 Best Small & Dwarf Trees to Plant in Florida

1. Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree (Musa acuminata)

Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree
Image by Erik Burton via Flickr

If you’re bananas over bananas, you’ll love the Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree that takes little space to grow to full maturity. These are basically the same yellow bananas you see in grocery stores and supermarkets.

It would take your tree anywhere between nine and 15 months to start producing fruits in ideal conditions. And once it does, you can expect it to produce nearly 100 bananas every growing season!

To boost plant health and encourage a bountiful yield, you’ll need to remove all ripe bananas during harvest, leaving nothing behind.

Other Common Names: Chinese Banana Tree, Canary Banana Tree, Dessert Banana, Edible Banana, Musa Paradisiaca, Plantain

USDA Growing Zones: 9 – 11 in the ground and 4 – 11 potted on a patio or indoors

Average Size at Maturity: 8 – 10 feet tall and 6 – 8 feet wide

Flowering Season: Flowers in spring

Harvest Season: Late Summer

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

2. Golden Dewdrop Tree (Duranta erecta)

Golden Dewdrop, Pigeon berry, Sky flower (Duranta repens, Duranta erecta) Tree, Flowers and Berries
Images by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

Golden Dewdrop trees are tropical broadleaf evergreen trees that you can grow in the ground or containers. The tree produces round or oval leaves with a vibrant green color and gorgeous clusters of light-blue, white, or violet blossoms.

The Golden Dewdrop also grows drooping clusters of berries in bright orange or yellow hue. The berries are toxic to humans and pets, but the birds in your area will love them!

Golden Dewdrop trees are most successful in areas with plenty of direct sunlight. They thrive in warm weather, making them perfect for the hot Florida climate, and they prefer their soil moist but not soaked.

If you can plant these trees within their hardiness zone, they’ll do just fine within most soil types as long as there’s sufficient drainage.

These are very fast-growing trees, which makes them a perfect choice to quickly fill up a bare spot in your garden or courtyard. Golden Dewdrop trees also tend to work very well as privacy screens, especially in a climate like Florida, where they’ll be able to thrive year-round.

Other Common Names: Duranta, Pigeon Berry, Sky Flower

USDA Growing Zones: 10 – 11

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 20 feet tall and 5 – 10 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

3. Crape Myrtle Tree (Lagerstroemia indica)

Crape Myrtle, Crapemyrtle, Crepe Myrtle, Crepemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) Tree, Bark and Flowers
Images by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

If you’d rather have a tree that acts as a privacy screen or a hedge, you can’t go wrong with the Crape Myrtle Tree.

Colorful summers would be a norm in any space you plant this deciduous tree because that’s when it decorates its branches with panicles of beautiful pink or burgundy flowers. Then, in the fall, the tree’s glossy green leaves turn gold, orange, or burgundy.

The tree produces inedible fruits that make excellent editions to tabletop potpourris! In addition, the entire tree, including the seeds, roots, stem, flowers, and leaves, is safe for children and pets.

Other Common Names: Common Crape Myrtle, Crape Myrtle, Crepe Flower, Crepe Myrtle, Indian Crape Myrtle, Lilac of the South

USDA Growing Zones: 6 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 3-25 ft tall and 2-15 ft wide

Fruiting/Flowering Season: Flowers appear in summer

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

4. Dwarf Poinciana Tree (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)

Dwarf Poinciana
Image by Mauro Halpern via Flickr

If you’re designing a theme garden and would like to invite butterflies and hummingbirds, the Dwarf Poinciana tree is your best bet. This deciduous tree produces a mix of gold, orange, and burgundy flowers in the summer, and in the fall, tiny inedible green fruits replace the flowers.

The tree’s green fruits contain seeds that are poisonous and shouldn’t be ingested. Native to Mexico and Costa Rica, the Dwarf Poinciana is an incredible addition to your space, and its miniature size makes it a perfect accent tree.

Other Common Names: Barbados Flower Fence, Barbados Pride, Dwarf Poinciana, Mexican Bird of Paradise, Peacock Flower, Pride of Barbados, Red Bird of Paradise

USDA Growing Zones: 9 – 11

Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 ft tall and 6-12 ft wide

Flowering Season: Flowers appear in summer

5. Geiger Tree (Cordia sebestena)

Flower on Geiger Tree
Image by Tatters via Flickr

If scarlet blooms are your thing, how about bringing home the Geiger tree? Native to Florida, the tree blooms year-round, but in the summer, the blooms peak, painting your landscape sunset red! In late summer, the tree produces tiny white edible fruits that don’t taste pleasant.

Native to the West Indies, the Geiger tree is an excellent landscape plant that can breathe life into any space. The best part about this tree is that it’s wind, salt, and drought tolerant, making it perfect for busy families.

The vivid flowers are most commonly a bright orange color, but they can also be yellow or white. The bright tones of the flowers provide a gorgeous contrast to the deep green of the foliage.

Other Common Names: Scarlet Cordia, Siricote

USDA Growing Zones: 10-11

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 30 feet tall and 10 – 15 feet wide

Flowering Season: Flowers appear in summer

6. Oleander Tree (Nerium oleander)

Oleander (Nerium Oleander) Tree and Flowers - Pink, White, Deep Pink
Images by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

Oleander trees are hardy, ornamental flowering trees perfect for the hot Florida climate. These unique plants start as shrubs before developing into multi-trunk trees.

Native to Morocco, Portugal, and China, the Oleander is a sight to behold every spring and summer. Depending on the variety you bring home, the Oleander produces fragrant cream, gold, orange, salmon, lavender, burgundy, and white flowers.

Oleander makes excellent container plants and can be moved indoors during winter. In ideal conditions, they can grow anywhere between one and two feet (or more!) per year.

That said, every part of this tree is toxic if ingested. So while it can transform your tight spaces, you’ll need to keep kids and pets away to avoid accidental injuries.

Other Common Names: Kaner, Oleander, Rosebay, Rose Bay, Rose-bay, Rose Laurel

USDA Growing Zones: 8 – 10

Average Size at Maturity: 6-20 ft tall and 6-10 ft wide

Flowering Season: Flowers appear in spring and summer

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

7. Powderpuff Tree (Calliandra haematocephala)

Powderpuff Tree and flower (Calliandra haematocephala)
Images by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

Native to Bolivia and closely related to the Mimosa family, the Powderpuff tree adds a hint of character and a dash of personality to your outdoor space. While the tree blooms year-round, it peaks in autumn and winter.

The tree produces lush, round, feather-like red flowers that are toxic if ingested. While the tree can be containerized, they’re very picky when it comes to soil and fertilizer.

Even in ideal conditions, the Powderpuff tree doesn’t have a long lifespan, with 10 to 15 years considered standard. The tree should be pruned to limit its width if you’re dealing with extremely tight spaces.

Other Common Names: Red Powder Puff

USDA Growing Zones: 10 – 12

Average Size at Maturity: 6-15 ft tall and 8-10 ft wide

Flowering Season: Flowers appear in autumn and winter

8. Jerusalem Thorn (Parkinsonia aculeata)

Parkinsonia Tree
Image by Bill Morrow via Flickr

Native to some parts of the USA and Mexico, the Jerusalem Thorn produces fragrant yellow flowers with bright orangish-red pistils in spring that last through summer. Not only does this tree grow fast, but it also tolerates a wide range of soil structures.

The Jerusalem Thorn is thorny and attracts many beneficial insects and birds to your garden, including birds and butterflies. That said, the tree is short-lived and, even in ideal conditions, would live between 15 and 20 years. In addition, the leaves of this tree contain hydrocyanic acid, which can be toxic if ingested.

Other Common Names: Parkinsonia Tree, Palo Verde, Jelly Bean Tree, Palo de Rayo, Retama, Horsebean, Lluvia De Oro

USDA Growing Zones: 8 – 11

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 ft tall and 8-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: Flowers appear in spring and summer

9. Weeping Bottlebrush Tree (Callistemon viminalis)

Weeping Bottle Brush (Callistemon viminalis) tree and flowers
Images by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

Native to Austrlaia, the weeping bottlebrush tree is one of the most popular trees in Florida. The breathtaking tree features vivid red flowers and a picturesque weeping appearance. Many compare the lovely tree to a miniature version of the weeping willow.

Because of their broad and dense appearance, weeping bottlebrush trees work wonderfully to provide privacy or shade to your pool or patio. You can also grow several of them as a hedge around the border of your property.

Weeping bottlebrush trees don’t grow particularly tall but develop wide crowns that create a fountain-like effect.

You’ll want to plant your weeping bottlebrush in a partial or full sun location and apply organic peat moss or topsoil.

Other Common Names: Crimson Bottlebrush, Prickly Bottlebrush, Weeping Bottlebrush, Creek Bottlebrush

USDA Growing Zones: 9 – 11

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 ft tall and 8-15 ft wide

Flowering Season: Flowers appear in spring and summer

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

10. Purple Glory Tree (Tibouchina granulosa)

Tibouchina (Pleroma urvilleanum) Tree and Royal Purple Flowers
Images by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

Native to Brazil and Bolivia, the Purple Glory is a sight to behold in spring and summer when deep green glossy leaves set the stage for beautiful purple flowers. Purple Glory can grow up to 40 feet tall in its natural habitat!

Blooming throughout the year, the tree can be trained to grow upright against a wall or on a trellis or arbor to grow as a vine. This tree can be containerized and isn’t very difficult to maintain. The Purple Glory prefers full sun and thrives in moist, well-draining, and high-fertile soils.

Other Common Names: Princess Flower, Purple Glory Tree, Tibouchina

USDA Growing Zones: 10-11

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 ft tall and 6-10 ft wide

Flowering Season: Flowers peak bloom in spring and summer

11. Bougainvillea Tree (Bougainvillea)

Bougainvillea Tree
Image by Maxpax via Flickr

If your idea of a wow factor is a tree that never stops giving, the Bougainvillea is perfect for your landscapes. Native to South America, the tree is notorious for messy growth, but nothing a good pruning session can’t fix.

Bougainvillea produces flowers all year and, depending on the variety, you can enjoy gold, pink, white, orange, red or lavender flowers. The Bougainvillea is a hardy tree that can be trained as a hedge and privacy screen and be used as an accent tree. The tree thrives in full sun and acidic soil with high organic content.

Other Common Names: Bougenville

USDA Growing Zones: 9 – 10

Average Size at Maturity: Up to 20 – 30 feet tall and wide but available in smaller varieties

Flowering Season: Flowers appear year-round

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

Adding Beauty to Tight Spots

As you can see, there are many beautiful small and dwarf trees for your Florida property. Whether you’re looking for something with dense foliage, like the Parkinsonia tree, or something with large, vibrant flowers, like the Bougainvillea tree, you have a variety of superb options.

To avoid selecting the wrong small tree, you should check Florida’s USDA hardiness zone to get the best tree suited to your location. 

Whichever small or dwarf trees you decide to plant, remember to care for them properly and provide them with the best possible growing conditions.

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Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

Lakeisha grew up in East Africa, literally surrounded by nature which sparked her interest in learning more about trees and plants from a very young age. She belongs to a family of gardeners, so for her, gardening is a way of life, a tradition she’s proud to uphold. As a self-taught gardener, Lakeisha has successfully grafted trees to produce hybrids for gardens and landscapes. When she’s not gardening, she’s writing about her experience with nature or watching baking fails!

2 thoughts on “11 Small & Dwarf Trees for Florida (for Tight Spaces)”

  1. Thanks for putting this article together, it really helped me narrow down my options. I loved the Weeping Bottle Brush but ended up choosing the Tibouchina for the small space in my yard.


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