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14 USDA Zone 11 Trees (Fruit, Shade & Fast Growing)

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » USDA Zone 11 » 14 USDA Zone 11 Trees (Fruit, Shade & Fast Growing)

As the hottest USDA hardiness zone to appear in the continental US, zone 11 can be a tricky range for gardening.

Since many of the most popular plants and trees in the rest of the country won’t grow here, it requires plenty of research to find a decent range of species to suit your property.

Fortunately, this zone has a year-round growing season, so frost-sensitive trees will grow well here.

Keep reading for 14 excellent zone 11 trees, from compact fruit trees to graceful tropical palms.

14 Trees that Grow Well in Zone 11

1. Arizona Ash (Fraxinus velutina)

Arizona Ash Fraxinus velutina in New Mexico
Images by Lyrae Willis (Own Work) for Tree Vitalize

A very handsome and adaptable deciduous tree, the Arizona Ash is a must-have for zone 11 gardeners who want a versatile landscaping species. It has an upright growth habit and neat, rounded canopy, and textured bark.

Its deep green leaves turn a flush of gold and yellow in fall, adding significant visual interest in the latter part of the year.

This southwestern native is most popular as a shade tree due to its spreading crown and fast-growing habit. They are also highly heat tolerant and can grow in a variety of soil types, and typically average soil should be fine.

Make sure it is planted in a spot with access to full sunlight. It should not be heavily pruned, as a canopy that is too light can cause sunscald.

Along with its good qualities the Arizona Ash also has some drawbacks. The most significant is its lifespan, as this ash tree will typically only live up to 50 years in the right conditions.

Other Common Names: Velvet Ash, Modesto Ash, Desert Ash, Smooth Ash, Fresno Ash, Leatherleaf Ash

Growing Zones: 7-11

Average Size at Maturity: 40 feet tall, with a 30-40 foot spread

Flower Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

2. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)

Areca Palm
Image by Dinesh Valke via Flickr

While you may recognize this gorgeous palm as a popular houseplant, you’ll be pleased to know that you are perfectly able to plant the Areca Palm outdoors in zone 11.

While it grows small in a container, this Madagascar native will grow up to 30 feet tall in the right conditions outdoors. But as a slow-growing species don’t expect it to reach those heights any time soon!

This tropical plant will bring bright color, elegance, and a touch of exoticism to your garden all year round. It is made up of one base and multiple long yellow and green trunks with bright green compound fronds that grow upward and then droop slightly downward at the top, which is what gives it its graceful appearance.

If you’re planting it outdoors use the Areca Palm as a specimen, accent, or privacy screen. For best results choose a spot with bright but indirect sunlight and rich, slightly acidic well-draining soil.

Other Common Names: Bamboo Palm, Yellow Palm, Butterfly Palm, Golden Butterfly Palm, Golden Feather Palm, Cane Palm, Rehazo, Lafahazo

Growing Zones: 10-11

Average Size at Maturity: 10-30 feet tall, with an 8-15 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Summer to Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

3. Ice Cream Mango (Mangifera indica ‘Ice Cream’)

Many gardeners are drawn to the Ice Cream Mango tree due to its tasty name, and they are rarely disappointed! This mango tree cultivar originates from Trinidad and Tobago and was first grown in the US in Florida.

This cultivar is very popular for its flavorsome, dessert-quality fruit. Despite their small size, these mangoes are delicious, with a rich, sweet, sorbet-like flavor and a creamy, fiberless texture.

In fact, its texture is where it earned the name ‘Ice Cream’. They also add ornamental appeal to your property, as they turn a bright shade of canary yellow in zone 11 rather than their trademark green.

The tree itself is appealing too with its compact size and dark glossy leaves. It is a ‘condo’ tree, meaning it naturally grows small and is excellent as a container plant and patio tree. Plant it in full sun and rich, well-draining soil.

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 6-8 feet tall, 4-6 feet wide

Fruiting Season: Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

4. Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum sanctum)

Lignum Vitae
Image by Barry Stock via Flickr

Found in the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico, the Lignum Vitae is a native heat-loving species that can be grown as a large shrub or small tree. It typically grows with multiple densely growing trunks and a rounded canopy.

In its form, it somewhat resembles a crape myrtle, and even produces delicate bluish-purple star-shaped flowers in Spring. These flowers are then followed by orange seedpods which provide their own ornamental appeal, as well as feed local birds.

The Lignum Vitae makes an effective accent and specimen tree and will grow well as a container plant. However it is extremely slow-growing according to the USDA Forest Service, so it is not really worth planting for more applied uses, such as a shade tree or hedge.

This tree is hardy and adaptable, able to tolerate drought, wind, and salt spray. Though it can grow in a range of soil types it will require sharply-draining soil to thrive.

Other Common Names: Holywood, Holywood Lignum-Vitae, Palo Santo

Growing Zones: 10-11

Average Size at Maturity: 10-30 feet tall, with an 8-12 foot spread

Flowering Season: Year-round, peaking in Spring

5. Scarlet Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus)

Scarlet Bottlebrush
Image by John Jennings via Flickr

The Scarlet Bottlebrush is an unmissable tree for zone 11 gardeners. Hailing from Australia, it understandably grows best in consistently warm climates and in locations that are both somewhat sheltered from the elements and exposed to constant sunlight.

This evergreen grows as a shrub or tree and has gently drooping branches decorated with dark green lance-shaped leaves. Its most notable ornamental feature is its flowers, which grow in crimson-red bottlebrush-shaped spikes. They provide beautiful color and contrast through the majority of spring and summer.

A charming little tree, it can be used in a few ways in the landscape. Plant it in rows as a small hedge or border, or individually as a specimen, patio plant, or container tree.

The Scarlet Bottlebrush is highly resistant to pests and diseases and grows best in moist, well-draining soil with an acidic pH.

Other Common Names: Crimson Bottlebrush, Red Bottlebrush, Lemon Bottlebrush

Growing Zones: 8-11

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 feet tall, with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Spring and Summer

Available at: Nature Hills

6. Pond Cypress (Taxodium ascendens)

Pond Cypress Trees
Image via Nature Hills

Another gorgeous heat-tolerant species for zone 11 is the Pond Cypress, a native of the southeastern US. It has a pencil-straight trunk, narrow crown, and open growth habit with bright green foliage that turns a handsome copper color in fall.

Though its soft leaves are awl-shaped and needle-like, they are not evergreen and will drop at the end of fall. It also has an intriguing flared base that can become knobby and overgrown when the tree is planted in water-logged soil.

The Pond Cypress is a low-maintenance, hardy, and adaptable tree which makes it a very beguiling choice for gardeners in warmer zones. It can thrive anywhere from the cold winters of zone 5 to the long heat of zone 11. Most notable is its ability to thrive in very wet conditions.

According to the University of Florida Extension, it makes an appealing street tree and is very well-suited to urban environments.

Growing Zones: 5-11

Average Size at Maturity: 45-60 feet tall, with a 15-20 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall to Winter

Available at: Nature Hills

7. Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)

Saw palmetto
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Small, dense, and shrubby, the Saw Palmetto can be a star in the landscape if you use it properly. Native to the southeastern US, it is multi-trunked and decorated with fan-shaped waxy leaves topped with sharp spines, hence the name ‘Saw’ Palmetto. Its foliage is evergreen and remains bright green throughout the year.

Use the Saw Palmetto as an accent, border, or foundation planting. For even more practical applications you can use it for erosion control and naturalizing.

This shrub is very adaptable and able to grow in the majority of soil types as long as they are well-draining. They will grow best in sandy soil, and the lower the soil quality it is the more slowly the Saw Palmetto will grow.

It is also tolerant to a range of adverse conditions including drought, salt, fire, and occasional flooding. It is even resistant to hurricane damage!

Other Common Names: Silver Saw Palmetto, American Dwarf Palm Tree, Cabbage Palm

Growing Zones: 8-11

Average Size at Maturity: 3-6 feet tall, with a 1-5 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Late Summer to Mid-Fall

8. Oro Blanco Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi ‘Macfadyen’)

Oro Blanco Grapefruit
Image via Nature Hills

Sometimes referred to as the ‘white gold’ of grapefruits, the Oro Blanco is a gorgeous seedless grapefruit cultivar that was accidentally developed in Barbados. It is a cross between a white grapefruit and a pomelo.

The Oro Blanco fruit is medium to large with a thick rind and juicy, fragrant flesh. It has a sweet, slightly tangy taste but due to its pomelo parentage, it lacks the sourness and bitter aftertaste of the classic grapefruit.

It is excellent eaten fresh as a breakfast fruit or snack, and for juicing. These fruits are also packed with fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.

The tree of the Oro Blanco is an easy-to-grow evergreen with a dense canopy of deep green leaves and fragrant white flowers. It grows well as a container plant but can also be used as a barrier or privacy screen.

Other Common Names: White Gold, Sweetie

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 10-12 feet tall, with an 8-10 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Nature Hills

9. Tamarind Tree (Tamarindus indica)

Tamarind Tree
Image by Teresa Grau Ros via Flickr

Though native to Africa, the Tamarind tree is grown around the world in tropical and subtropical climates, making it a suitable option for zone 11.

It is medium to large with a short trunk and dense, wide-spreading crown. Its branches are adorned with fern-like, compound pinnate green leaves, both of which add an element of grace to their surroundings.

But of course, the most notable feature of the Tamarind tree is its fruits, which grow in long brown seed pods filled with a sweet and sour edible pulp that is used around the world as a flavoring ingredient in innumerable dishes and drinks.

A semi-tropical climate is ideal for the Tamarind tree. However, it also needs a long dry season, so gardeners living in regions with high precipitation should skip this species. It is strong and resistant to both drought and wind, making it an excellent windbreak.

Other Common Names: Tamarindo

Growing Zones: 10-11

Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 feet tall, with a 30-50 foot spread

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

10. Curry Leaf (Murraya koenigii)

Curry Leaf Tree
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Even aside from its uses as a culinary ingredient in South Asian cooking, it’s obvious why you might want to use this pretty and highly aromatic tree in your garden.

The Curry Leaf tree is a useful evergreen that is small and shrubby with an open growing habit, elegant sweeping branches, and long pinnate leaves that give it an overall delicate appearance.

With its small size and attractive looks it makes a great houseplant, and when planted outdoors it can be used as an understory plant or specimen, or planted in rows to form a privacy screen.

The Curry Leaf tree will grow best in tropical and subtropical regions that mimic the climate of its native range. It should be sunny, consistently warm to hot, and only grow outdoors in regions that don’t experience anything colder than a short and mild winter frost.

Plant the Curry Leaf in fertile, slightly acidic, well-draining soil in a sheltered location to prevent wind breakage.

Other Common Names: Sweet Neem, Black Neem, Curry Leaf, Curry Plant

USDA Growing Zones: 10-12

Average Size at Maturity: 6-15 feet tall, with a 12-14 foot spread

Flowering Season: Flowers should bloom sporadically throughout the year

Available at: Nature Hills

11. Sweet Acacia (Acacia farnesiana)

Sweet Acacia
Image by Chic Bee via Flickr

An attractive landscape plant, the Sweet Acacia is a small tree or shrub with a vase-like form and spreading canopy.

Its three most notable visual features are its feathery, delicate pinnate leaves, bright yellow “pom pom” flowers, and the sharp thorns that adorn its branches. Unfortunately, these thorns also make it a somewhat unappealing option for gardeners and homeowners.

On the other hand, its most notable non-visual feature is its scent. The Sweet Acacia flowers have a famously beautiful fragrance that is even used for perfume according to the University of Florida Gardening Solutions.

Though the line between native and naturalized is a bit murky with the Sweet Acacia, it is thought to be native to the southernmost states from California to Florida. It has natural pest and disease resistance and its thorns make it a natural privacy and protective barrier.

Other Common Names: Perfume Acacia, Mealy Acacia, Mealy Wattle, Texas Huisache, Mimosa Farnesiana, Needle Bush

Growing Zones: 8-11

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 feet tall, with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Late Winter – Early Spring

12. Common Guava (Psidium guajava)

Guava
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

The common Guava is not a widely popular fruit in the US, largely because the tree will not grow in the vast majority of the continental US. However, it is a natural choice for regions in zone 11! This fruit tree needs a tropical climate with consistent warmth, frequent watering, and enough space to grow in a sheltered location.

This Guava tree is small to medium-sized, with a wide canopy, interesting mottled bark, and fragrant white flowers. These flowers then turn into small oval fruits with bumpy light green to yellow skin and white or pink flesh depending on the variety.

The fruits of the common Guava have a soft texture and are generally rich and sweet, though again this will depend on the variety you choose. They are packed with vitamin C and can be eaten fresh or used in jams, desserts, and preserves.

Other Common Names: Lemon Guava, Apple Guava, Barbie Pink Guava, Yellow Guava

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 20-35 feet tall, with a 12-18 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Throughout the year

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

13. Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

Weeping Fig
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Native to Asia and Australia and the official tree of Bangkok, Thailand, the Weeping Fig is a useful heat-loving ornamental tree. In the US it is best known as a small houseplant, but in tropical and subtropical environments it should grow well as a larger evergreen tree.

The Weeping Fig has arching, pendulous branches (hence the name), and glossy leaves, and makes an overall graceful impression on the landscape. It can be used as an individual focal point, or planted in rows as a hedge. It will also make an excellent patio plant.

Be aware that this tree can be temperamental, and will begin to drop its leaves if its growing requirements are not met. As well as a warm climate it also needs a sunny spot with some shade in the afternoon, and constantly moist, well-draining soil.

Keep an eye out for signs of pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and scale.

Other Common Names: Benjamin Tree, Ficus Tree, Chinese Banyan, Small-Leaved Rubber Plant, Indian Rubber Plant, Java Fig, Tropic Laurel

Growing Zones: 10-12

Average Size at Maturity: 5-60 feet tall, with a 3-30 foot spread

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

14. Jelly Palm (Butia capitata)

Pindo Palm
Image by sanxiaodevea via Flickr

Handsome and hardy, the tropical Jelly Palm will make an excellent addition to your zone 11 garden. It is a medium-sized palm with a thick trunk and beautiful grey-green leaves that grow upward in a dense, wonderfully symmetrical canopy that then droops slightly toward the ground, giving it a very graceful appearance overall.

In summer it produces 3-foot-long panicles covered in small creamy-yellow flowers. The name Jelly Palm comes from its orange fruits, which are edible, have a pineapple-like flavor, and can be used to create a popular type of jelly known as pindo jelly.

The Jelly Palm suffers no serious pest or disease issues and is decently tolerant to drought, salt, and heat. Use it as a specimen or as part of a natural grouping, and plant it in full sun or partial shade and well-draining soil.

Other Common Names: Pindo Palm, Brazilian Butia Palm, South American Jelly Palm, Yatay Palm

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 18-20 feet tall, with a 14-16 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Mid to Late Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Exotic Options for Your Zone 11 Landscape

From California and Florida to Hawaii and Puerto Rico, zone 11 summers are some of the hottest on the map.

If you are gardening in any of these regions that fall under zone 11, it’s important to find the right trees for your climate. While all will need a hot and frost-free climate, some will need dryer soil, while others will need moisture, some will need shade and others full sun, and so on.

Figuring out the soil type and unique microclimate on your property is the first step to finding the best trees for you, and considering the 14 trees above is a great place to start.

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Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.