One of the wonderful things about living in Florida is the wide variety of plants that thrive in the area. Trees, specifically, are a versatile, beautiful, and even delicious option for Florida gardens. Here are 5 types of trees that grow well in Florida and could be the perfect decorative addition to your home space.
The crape myrtle tree is one of the most iconic and beautiful non-fruit trees of the American south. It’s foliage and unique trunks are beautiful year-round, with our without blooms, and it can make the perfect addition to your lawn.
Planting season for crepe myrtles is in late fall or early spring. You can also select your tree with the blooms on it in the summer, then plant it in the fall. After you buy a potted crepe myrtle, make sure to water it well throughout the summer so that it will transition well into your soil.
When you plant, remember that crepe myrtles can serve various purposes in your lawn - they can make a privacy hedge if planted together, can accent your doorway, or can be a single focal point of your garden. Be sure you get the right size for your purposes, and plant your trees in full sun to get the maximum amount of blooms.
Prune during the winter or early spring, and don’t cut the tree all the way back. Just prune for shaping. Cut back the top and outer twigs to the branch or the bud. If you need to remove branches 2-in wide or larger, cut them back to the trunk or the fork of the branch.
Dogwoods are another iconic southern tree, but we don’t see too many of them here in Florida. However, Dogwoods are hardy and adaptable, and have a unique look. They’re easy to grow, and their beautiful white or pink blooms may be just what you’re looking for in your garden.
Dogwoods can adapt to any soil, even the sandy soil of Florida, but they prefer more acidic soil. If you have alkaline soil, you can add organic matter like compost or potting soil to the area where you’re planting to make it better for your Dogwood.
Keep the soil moderately watered but not oversaturated. Dogwoods are relatively drought tolerant, but they don’t like too much wetness. If you live in a low-lying area, you may consider raising the ground where you’re planting to aid water drainage. During droughts, you can put mulch around the plant to retain water.
Cherry trees not only produce delicious fruit, but they also showcase gorgeous blossoms in the spring. A cherry tree in your yard is a two-fold benefit.
But you can also grow trees from the seeds of cherries you’ve already eaten! Just buy some local cherries from a farmer’s market and enjoy their fruit. Then soak the pits in lukewarm water for 5 minutes and scrub them to remove any remaining fruit. Set out the pits to dry for 3-5 days. Once they’re completely dried, put them in tightly sealed plastic containers and refrigerate them for 10 weeks. This refrigeration mimics the cold of winter and causes the cherries to go through the stratification process.
After refrigerating them for 10 weeks, allow the cherry seeds to come to room temperature, and plant 2-3 seeds in a potter. Water them in and let them grow! Transplant them after the danger of frost has past.
When you plant cherry trees (either from seeds or from plants), put them in a place with full sun and good air circulation. Their root systems grow deep, so make sure they have plenty of room and plenty of water. Space trees 20-40 feet apart depending on the variety, and prune only in the late winter. Cherry trees normally start yielding fruit in their 4th year, so be patient for those delicious results!
Apple trees need cross-pollinators to produce fruit. Cross-pollinators must be the same type of tree (apple) but a different variety (Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji). The two trees should be planted near each other so wind and insects can carry pollen between them. A good distance is about 20 feet apart.
You also have the option to plant self-pollinating trees, such as the Golden Delicious apple and the Grimes Golden apple. These trees can stand alone in your garden, and would be a good choice if you’re limited on space.
Apple trees also prefer full sun and a well-rounded soil. Your tree will need 6-8 hours of sunlight a day, and the soil shouldn’t be too sandy or too dense. For the thin Florida soil, you can enhance with compost or potting soil to add nutrients and density. You could also make a raised bed or plant your apple tree in a container. As the tree grows, move it to bigger and bigger containers so its growth isn’t hampered.
Keep in mind that your apple tree will grow to approximately 20 feet in diameter. Take the size into account when you’re choosing a place to plant and avoid power lines, sidewalks and driveways, and the shadows of other trees.
The red and black varieties of mulberry trees grow very well in Florida, sometimes popping up on their own as volunteers. Their fruit is sweet and delicious, and they are fast-growing and long-living.
Mulberry trees can thrive in a variety of soils and conditions - in alkaline or acidic soils, and in wet or relatively dry conditions. In dry seasons, water the trees beyond the canopy to make sure the whole root system has access to water. You may also want to stake young trees to ensure they grow upright. The mulberry’s canopy grows so fast that it can become too big for its root system, making the tree tilt sideways.
Make sure you plant the mulberries away from sidewalks and buildings because their root system grows wide and shallow. Mulberries prefer partial to full sun, so planting them in an open area is ideal.
Did this blog make you want to get outside and plant something? I hope so! If you have any questions or comments about the Lakeland area, your home, or the real estate market, please contact me! You can get in touch via email, phone - (863) 450-8847, Facebook, or my mobile app. I hope to hear from you soon!