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10 White Flowering Trees in Florida to Plant or Admire

White flowering trees add a certain delicate beauty to the landscape. For the visually sensitive, they offer feelings of serenity and peace. 

I am in awe when seeing multiple white flowering trees blooming together. You can see this with scores of Yoshino cherry trees flowering in places like Japan and Washington, DC. Or rows of Cleveland pear, in full bloom, neatly arranged on urban street sides. 

This impressive list below includes some of the most inspiring white flowering trees you can plant or admire in Florida.

10 Best White Flowering Trees for Florida

1. White Flowering Dogwood Tree (Cornus florida)

White Flowering Dogwood_Florida
Image by Maja Dumat via Flickr

White flowering dogwood is a classic tree for white bracts which are petal-like modified leaves. It is native to North Florida and much of the southeastern United States. It looks remarkable in woodland-themed gardens as well as manicured gardens.

The flowers come out in spring, right before the leaves appear—the blooming last about two to four weeks. The tree is a star in the landscape in the fall with reddish-purple leaves.

White flowering dogwood does well in either sun or shade. In Florida, it’s a good idea to plant it in partial shade. In my experience, doing so helps the trees to withstand the summer heat better and have bushier foliage. White flowering dogwood does best in rich, fertile, moist, well-draining soil.

I made the mistake of planting one many years ago in Central Florida in a spot with sandy soil with full sun. Growth was slow, and the foliage was sparse and dull.

Other Common Names: American dogwood, Florida dogwood, Indian arrowwood, False box, False boxwood, White cornel, Cornelian tree

USDA Growing Zones: 5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 35 feet tall and 25 – 30 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

2. Cleveland Pear Tree (Pyrus calleryana ‘Cleveland Select’)

Cleveland Pear
Image by Carol VanHook via Flickr

Cleveland pear is an excellent substitute for the classic Bradford pear. While both have an abundance of beautiful white blossoms, the latter has stinky flowers and is invasive.

Cleveland pear makes a good street tree or a large ornamental specimen for the yard. Such is because of its uniform oval shape. A row of multiples looks fantastic.

Its glossy leaves provide visual appeal in any landscape when it is not blooming. They turn to an orange or reddish hue in the fall. The fall color is more likely to be remarkable in North than Central Florida.

Cleveland pear does best in well-drained, moist soil that is not too wet. Also, it needs at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

Other Common Names: Cleveland Select

USDA Growing Zones: 5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 40 feet tall and 15 – 20 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

3. Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Southern Magnolia_Florida
Image by abbeyprivate via Flickr

A healthy southern magnolia is a beautiful sight. I think this is one of the most beautiful trees native to the American South. It has lush leathery dark green leaves and many creamy white large flowers. 

But I’ve seen some mature trees with scant foliage and no flowers. Such an unremarkable appearance is the product of poor care. 

Like white flowering dogwood, you must mimic its native woodlands conditions for best results. Doing so means providing it with moist, well-drained, and fertile soil. Most online sources recommend full sun, but I think this tree does better in partial sun to partial shade because of the blazing Florida heat. 

Other Common Names: Bull bay

USDA Growing Zones: 6 – 10

Average Size at Maturity: 60 – 80 feet tall and 40 feet wide

Flowering Season: Early spring to late summer

4. Yoshino Cherry Tree (Prunus x yedoensis)

Yoshino Cherry
Image by Yuri Levchenko via Flickr

Yoshino cherry is one of the most admired flowering trees in the world. The almond-scented white flowers are breathtaking, especially in a row or a field with many of them. You will find them during Japan and Washington D. C’s famous annual cherry blossom celebrations.

They are a welcomed sign of spring for places with cold and snowy winters. So, you probably don’t associate tropical and subtropical Florida with flowering cherry trees. But Yoshino cherry thrives in North Florida – tolerating heat and humidity.

Yoshino cherry is a fast grower, though it does not live long. They look great on streets, lawns, and near your deck or patio.

USDA Growing Zones: 5 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 40 – 50 feet tall and 25 – 40 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

5. Walter’s Viburnum (Viburnum obovatum)

Walter's Viburnum
Image by Katja Schulz Price via Flickr

Many Florida landscapers are familiar with viburnums. Walter’s viburnum is native to Florida. Viburnums are classic shrubs in suburban housing developments throughout the state. The main reason for its popularity is because the tree is low maintenance, and no diseases or pests affect it. 

The evergreen Walter’s viburnum leathery dark green foliage remains on the tree throughout the year in Florida. In early spring, flat-topped clusters of creamy white flowers appear. Flowering lasts about two to three weeks. Bees and butterflies flock to the flowers for nectar. 

The small tree is native to the swap margins, stream banks, and moist woodlands of South Carolina down to Florida. It thrives in fertile, acidic, moist, wet, well-drained soils. 

USDA Growing Zones: 7A – 10B

Average Size at Maturity: 6 – 30 feet tall and 6 – 12 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

6. Possumhaw (Ilex decidua)

Possumhaw
Image by Pam Morgan via Flickr

Possumhaw is a close relative to the famous American holly, a source of delightful Christmas decoration. You can think of it as a deciduous version of the evergreen American holly. It has the same lovely white spring flowers and bright red berries.

The significant difference is that its glossy dark green leaves are finely toothed, and the leaves turn yellow in the fall. Its berries linger into the winter on bare branches, providing visual interest in the winter landscape.

Possumhaw does well in a wide range of soil types. Though it prefers moist soil, also, you can grow it in full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: Deciduous holly, Swamp holly

USDA Growing Zones: 5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 7 – 15 feet tall and 5 – 23 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

7. Royal White Redbud (Cercis canadensis f. alba ‘Royal White’)

Royal White Redbud Tree
Image by Steven Brewer via Flickr

In most cases, the redbud tree we know has pink to purple flowers. Many are surprised when they find out that there is a white flowering cultivar. Like the others, it has pea-shaped flowers that come before the leaves.

After blooming is over, the nice thing about this tree is its attractive heart-shaped leaves. They linger well into the fall before turning to a deep yellow hue.

The royal white redbud is a compact tree with fast growth and is excellent for small landscapes and patios. These trees are one of the few spring flowering trees that are part of the traditional temperate American landscape that thrives in subtropical central Florida.

Royal white redbud is great for clay, loam, and sandy soils. It needs moist but well-draining soil, and adding some compost is useful.

Other Common Names: White Redbud

USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 25 feet tall and 15 – 25 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

8. Elder Tree (Sambucus nigra)

Elder Tree_Florida
Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

To many, including myself elder tree looks a bit like a giant weed. It grows on multiple stems and does not have a neat shape. But it is a far more powerful tree than it appears to be. As an interesting note, in the United Kingdom, legend says if you plant one year in your house, it will keep the devil away. 

The abundant creamy white flowers have a sweet and welcoming smell. After which, you get lots of purple-black fruit, which foragers adore. Fruits appear in the summer. The University of Florida warns that fruits are toxic when raw and only edible when cooked. 

Many claims that the berries is good for the immune system and is an excellent source of antioxidants. So, it’s a great tree to plant for health-conscious Floridians who like herbal alternatives.    

Elder tree prefers a spot with full sun and moist and fertile soil. They will tolerate partial sun and some drought.  

Other Common Names: Elder, Elderberry, Black elder, European elder, European elderberry, European black elderberry, Tramman

USDA Growing Zones: 4A – 10B

Average Size at Maturity: 8 – 20 feet tall and 8 – 20 feet wide

Flowering Season: Late spring to summer

9. White Orchid Tree (Bauhinia acuminata)

White Orchid Tree
Image by Dinesh Valke via Flickr

Most of the trees on this list seem to be for those in North Florida and possibly Central Florida. But the white orchid tree is a unique addition to the South Florida landscape. It is a remarkable tree for adding a lush and tropical feel to the landscape.  

The leaves of the white orchid tree look a lot like redbud. It also sheds its leaves in the winter. This particular species has lovely orchid-shaped white flowers which appear in late summer through fall. 

The white orchid tree is easy to maintain. You can grow the white orchid tree in full sun or partial shade. It prefers well-draining soil and has no other special soil requirements. 

Other Common Names: Dwarf white bauhinia, Snowy orchid-tree

USDA Growing Zones: 9B – 12

Average Size at Maturity: 25 – 30 feet tall and 25 – 30 feet wide

Flowering Season: Late summer through fall

10. Olive Tree (Olea europaea)

Olive Tree
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Olive trees are the obvious source of our beloved olive oil. But did you know that the tree features beautiful white flowers?

Also, when you think of olive trees, you imagine the Mediterranean or a similar climate like that of California. But they grow well in Florida too!

The tree sends outs many white flowers in April or May. The flowers look great on the tree’s grayish-green foliage, which lingers throughout the year—the olive fruits which come after the flowers.

Olive trees love lots of sunshine and soil that drain well. You cannot compromise on this, especially if you want lots of white flowers and olives.

USDA Growing Zones: 9 – 11

Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 30 feet tall and 15 – 25 feet side

Flowering Season: Spring

Selecting White Flowering Trees in Florida

The above list has many exciting trees with unique properties. There are traditional and ornamental trees such as southern magnolia and flowering dogwood—the elder tree whose abundant white flowers turn to numerous red berries rich in health benefits. Then there is also the olive tree which is more known for its culinary fruits than its beautiful white flowers. 

If none of the above trees impressed you, do not hesitate to see if any of these red or orange flowering trees for Florida would look or feel better in your landscape. 

As always, before planting, find your local USDA hardiness zone in Florida to ensure that you have the right tree for your climate.