Dozens of trees grow well in the South Florida landscape, but some require a considerable amount of maintenance and produce nuts or fruit that can be messy and sticky. The following are 5 low-maintenance trees for the Florida landscape that provide beauty and shade.


The dogwood tree is well-known for its spring blossoms. Highly adaptable, multiple types are available and some have variegated foliage. The Asian Kousa dogwood has a slightly different appearance than the traditional dogwood and has the advantage of being resistant to anthracnose. Kousa dogwood bloom colors are available in white, light pink and deep pink. The trees are undemanding trees, highly ornamental, and the only real “mess” they create is when they shed their leaves in the autumn.

Eastern Redbud

The tree provides a striking display of white or dark pink blooms in the spring. It’s actually a close relative of peanuts, tamarind and other types of legumes. Highly attractive to bees, birds and butterflies, it grows from 20 to 30 ft. and can be single or multi-stemmed. Breeding programs have produced varieties with leaves of yellow, lime green, purplish-red, bronze and burgundy. They’re resistant to drought once established and light pruning is all that’s needed.

Fern Pine Tree

The fern pine isn’t really a pine and is best reserved for large areas. It can grow 50 to 65 ft. tall with a trunk of 2 to 3 ft. in diameter if left alone. Professionals know how to prune it to a modest 20 to 30 ft. and it can also be espaliered. It’s a native of Eastern Africa with long, narrow leaves that can be 4 inches long when the tree is mature. Blooms are inconspicuous and the berry-like fruits are fleshy and contain a single seed. A moderately fast grower, it can live up to 150 years.

Sweetbay Magnolia

Unlike the Southern Magnolia, Sweetbay Magnolia won’t litter the lawn with spent bloom petals or seed pods. It will shed a few leaves throughout the season and it’s resistant to a variety of insect pests and diseases. The tree has highly fragrant white blooms and the glossy leaves have a frosted appearance on the underside. The seeds provide a food source for a wide variety of birds.

Shady Lady Black Olive

Desirable for shade and beauty, it can have an awkward appearance when young that’s remedied with light pruning. It features yellowish-beige flowers in the spring that many say gives the tree the appearance of being frosted with brown sugar. It’s salt-tolerant and can grow to 30 ft. The Shady Lady variety is the newest and most improved cultivar of the species, but it’s not actually related to olive trees and doesn’t produce olives.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

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