Florida landscapers are the luckiest!
Once again, here is another group of flowering trees you rarely see outside of Florida or any other subtropical or tropical region.
Like red flowering trees, orange flowers are a special treat for those in balmy climates.
I’ve spent most of my life living in regions where orange flowering trees are abundant – the Caribbean, Florida, and Southern China. The fantastic thing is that when these trees are blooming, they drop the jaws of everyone – even those who don’t see themselves as nature or tree lovers.
You can call the following trees – ostentatious, flamboyant, exotic, or any other fitting word that comes to your mind.
Take my advice, plant at least one of them – you and your neighbors will be so grateful.
9 Best Trees in Florida for Orange Flowers
1. Geiger tree (Cordia sebestena)
The evergreen Geiger tree features frilly clusters of vivid orange flowers. Though you can get this tree with yellow or white blooms, the orange variety is the most common. The showy flowers have a rich color that looks amazing against the tree’s coarse green foliage.
This tree fits into any sized landscape due to its compact size. Due to the tree’s high salt tolerance, it makes a beautiful orange flowering tree for beach houses or planting on the beach. Such makes it a famous tree in the Florida Keys. Also, it is excellent for attracting hummingbirds.
Geiger tree does not require much care. You must plant it in a frost-free area sheltered from cold winter winds. Geiger tree hates cold as young trees will die from frost. Though evergreen, it may drop its leaves when temperatures fall below 40ºF.
It is best to give Geiger tree regular watering after you plant it and during dry spells, once it is established. However, it has some moderate drought tolerance.
A helpful tip I recommend is to cut it back in March or early April to the size you want. The tree will become lush and bushy when the temperatures warm up and the rainy season arrives.
Other Common Names: Siricote, Kopté, Scarlet Cordia
USDA Growing Zones: 10A – 12
Average Size at Maturity: 25 – 30 feet tall and 20 – 25 feet wide
Flowering Season: Throughout the year, more abundant in summer
2. Sweet Osmanthus (Osmanthus fragrans)
A couple of years ago in Xiamen, China, I had a cup of oolong tea infused with sweet Osmanthus. The fragrance and flavor were divine. It reminded me of a potent and concentrated combination of peaches and honey. Whenever I settle down somewhere, I intend to plant this tree!
If you live in Florida and have room in the garden, I highly recommend that you plant sweet Osmanthus. Many Asian cultures revere this tree for its superior ornamental and culinary value. It is the “city flower” of multiple cities in China and the “city tree” of various cities in Japan.
This slow-growing evergreen tree flowers from fall through spring. Though the orange flowers are not showy, the fragrance is potent and delightfully fragrant. It is a good idea to plant it near a patio or anywhere where people will get a chance to enjoy the aroma.
Sweet Osmanthus does well in full sun to partial sun. It needs well-draining soil and has decent drought tolerance once established.
Other Common Names: Sweet olive, Tea olive, Fragrant olive
USDA Growing Zones: 7B – 9B
Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 30 feet tall and 15 – 20 feet wide
Flowering Season: October through March
3. Orange Champaca (Michelia champaca / Magnolia champaca)
Here is another evergreen tree with fragrant orange flowers. Orange champaca is native to South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Southern China. As a member of the magnolia family, its flowers look similar to other magnolias.
I think orange champaca’s fragrance is far more penetrating and richer than other common magnolia species’ light peach-like or lemon-like aromas. The intense fragrance is like a mixture of tea, spices, and orange blossoms. Its flowers are a source of essential oil.
Orange champaca is fast growing with a free-flowing growth habit. The best conditions for these trees are full sun, regular water, and well-draining soil.
Other Common Names: Champak, Joy perfume tree
USDA Growing Zones: 10 – 12
Average Size at Maturity: 30 feet tall 30 feet wide
Flowering Season: June through September
4. Orange Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia)
Royal poinciana is usually the star of the tropical landscape. For many in South Florida, this Madagascar native tree is one of the symbols of summer. Some people argue that this is one of if not the most beautiful trees on earth.
The source of the praise is its extravagant and abundant orange blossoms which drape over its wide umbrella-shaped canopy. The flowers come out between May and July – lasting about a month or more.
It takes the trees about five years to bloom, but you can always get a more mature one from the garden center or nursery. When the tree is not blooming, its delicate and fern-like leaves provide dappled shade.
Would you believe that this exotic beauty does not require much attention to perform? It grows well in various soil conditions and has a high drought and salt tolerance when established. Also, no significant pests and diseases affect it. It is best to give the tree at least six hours of sunlight each day to get lots of beautiful flowers.
Other Common Names: Flamboyant, Flame tree
USDA Growing Zones: 9B – 12
Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 40 feet tall and 40 – 70 feet wide
Flowering Season: May through July
Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees
5. Jamaican Rain Tree (Brya ebenus)
Jamaican rain tree is one of the rarest plants in the United States. Few landscapers, even in South Florida, know of its existence. It is native to Cuba and Jamaica, not far from South Florida.
Its slow growth and delicate form make it a favorite among bonsai tree enthusiasts. Also, it has a very dense hardwood with superior musical tone quality. For this reason, it was used to make flutes in 19th-century Europe.
The slow-growing evergreen tree features golden orange flowers. As the name suggests, the flowers appear after rain or during a period of high humidity. In addition, the flowers are great at attracting bees.
Jamaican rain tree is drought tolerant and prefers full sun. Though difficult to find in local nurseries, you can get it from online dealers of rare trees, such as Tree World Wholesale.
Other Common Names: Jamaican Ebony, West Indian Ebony, Granadilla, Espino de sabana, Cocus wood
USDA Growing Zones: 10A – 12
Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 30 feet tall and 20 – 30 feet wide
Flowering Season: Throughout the year, especially during rainy periods
6. Vera Wood (Bulnesia arborea)
Like the Jamaican rain tree, Verawood is not a well-known tree to most landscapers, even the most seasoned ones. It is a beautiful, low-growing tree for patios and small landscapes.
The evergreen Verawood features bright orange flowers which stay on the tree for about two to three months during the warm season.
Initially, the tree needs irrigation but will be fine with only rainfall once established. It does well in most soil types, even the sandy Florida soils. In addition, it needs full sun.
Other Common Names: Maracaibo lignum vitae
USDA Growing Zones: 10A – 12
Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 30 feet tall and 20 – 40 feet wide
Flowering Season: Summer
7. Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma)
Many tropical flowering trees tend to bloom during the dry season. Flame of the forest is one of them. The deciduous tree features a dramatic display of bright orange flowers before the leaves unfold.
Flame of the forest is native to the Indian Subcontinent, where its gum is used for leather making and food. This exotic tree is also native to Southeastern Asia.
Flame of the forest needs deep, fertile, organically rich soils that is well-draining. Rich and fertile soil is not easy to find in Florida, as most soils are sandy with weak fertility. But it’s such a magnificent tree to pass up on planting, so if you can, enrich the soil with compost when planting.
Other Common Names: Palash, Bastard teak
USDA Growing Zones: 10 – 12
Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 40 feet tall and 30 – 40 feet wide
Flowering Season: Late Winter to Spring (Florida Dry Season)
8. Silk Cotton Tree (Bombax ceiba)
This tree is one of the most fascinating I’ve ever come across. When young, the bark has thick spikes all over its trunk and branches, which deter any animal from climbing. As the bark matures, it becomes smoother.
Native to Asia, I’ve seen this tree growing throughout tropical and subtropical Asia. During the winter, it loses its leaves. Before the foliage comes out in the spring, the tree sends out large and fleshy reddish-orange flowers.
It is better to plant this tree in a large yard. It grows quickly and can reach over 100 feet!
Silk cotton tree does well in a wide range of soil types. Also, it will do well in both dry and moist soils. It is not tolerant of shade, so you must plant it in a spot with full sun exposure.
Other Common Names: Cotton tree, Malabar silk-cotton tree, Kapok
USDA Growing Zones: 10 – 12
Average Size at Maturity: 80 feet tall and 70 feet wide
Flowering Season: Early spring
9. Scarlet Wisteria (Sesbania punicea)
Scarlet wisteria boasts bright orange flowers that appear from early spring through fall. The flowers are pea-shaped because the tree is a pea family member. Long, light green pods with four broad wings follow the flowers. These turn brown and stick on the tree through winter.
Native to South America, scarlet wisteria’s natural habitats are ponds, waterways, and marshy areas. As such, it prefers moist or wet soil that is slightly acidic.
You should consider planting scarlet wisteria if you have a spot that doesn’t drain well enough to support other trees.
Other Common Names: Spanish gold, Rattlebox, Scarlet sesban
USDA Growing Zones: 9 – 12
Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 15 feet tall and 6 – 10 feet wide
Flowering Season: Early spring through fall
Vibrant and Fragrant Orange Flowering Trees
Orange flowering trees promise to bring a lot of life to the landscape. For instance, orange champaca and sweet Osmanthus flowers are not the most showy on the list, but few trees are more delightfully fragrant. You can plant these small trees next to a window or patio to enjoy their fragrance.
All the other trees on this list look amazing when in bloom. You will not regret planting any of them. But, before selecting, check out our USDA Florida hardiness zone map to see if the tree you like will do well in your area.
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Kenique grew up in Florida and currently lives in southern China. Before China, he spent many years in Portugal and the Caribbean. He studied economics and is a teacher, entrepreneur, and writer. Since he was knee-high, he has been gardening and was an active member of FFA (Future Farmers of America). He is his best self in a densely wooded forest or park. Depending on the day, you can find him reading, hiking, traveling, exercising, sipping lots of tea, or eating everything in sight.