Bougainvillea tree

Flowering trees: 16 exotic stunners for South Florida

South Florida, with its year-round warmth and tropical vibes, is the perfect haven for some of the world's most exotic flowering trees. These beauties not only add visual appeal but also bring unique fragrances and attract a plethora of wildlife, from hummingbirds to butterflies

Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a novice, adding these exotic stunners to your landscape can transform your garden into a vibrant, colorful paradise. Let's dive into 16 exotic flowering trees that thrive in South Florida's climate.

Yellow royal poinciana: A summer showstopper

The yellow royal poinciana, or royal poinciana var. flavida, is a rare gem in the world of flowering trees. Blooming during the summer months, this tree boasts striking yellow flowers that can brighten up any landscape. Due to its challenging propagation, it remains a coveted addition for tree enthusiasts. If you're lucky enough to plant one, you'll enjoy a truly unique spectacle that few other flowering trees can claim.

Royal poinciana var. flavida (Yellow poincianna)

Royal poinciana var. flavida (Yellow poincianna)

Cassia javanica: The queen of pink blooms

Cassia javanica, known as the pink shower tree, graces gardens with its cascading clusters of pink flowers. Flowering from spring to early summer, this tree creates a stunning display that's impossible to miss. The blooms attract bees, butterflies, and birds, making it a dynamic focal point for any garden. Its moderate growth rate and manageable size make it a great choice for South Florida landscapes and an excellent representative of exotic flowering trees.

Cassia javanica

Cassia javanica

Kigelia africana: The fascinating sausage tree

The kigelia africana, or sausage tree, is a true conversation starter. Known for its unusual, huge gray sausage-shaped fruit and hanging racemes of stunning, bell-shaped flowers, this tree is a marvel of nature. Beyond its beauty, the fruit and bark possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This tree thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, making it a unique and beneficial addition to your collection of flowering trees.

Kigelia africana (Sausage tree)

Kigelia africana (Sausage tree)

Sesbania grandiflora: A culinary delight

Sesbania grandiflora, also known as the vegetable hummingbird flower tree, is not only beautiful but also edible. Its pretty, pendulous flowers are commonly eaten as a vegetable in South and Southeast Asia. This tree attracts hummingbirds with its vibrant blossoms, adding both visual and ecological value to your garden. With its fast growth and ability to thrive in a variety of soils, it's a versatile choice among flowering trees in South Florida.

Sesbania grandiflora (Hummingbird flower tree)

Sesbania grandiflora (Hummingbird flower tree)

Mexican orchid tree: A butterfly magnet

Commonly known as the Mexican orchid tree or bull hoof, Bauhinia divericata is a favorite among pollinators. Its delicate, orchid-like flowers provide nectar for butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, making it a lively addition to any landscape. Native to Mexico and Central America, this tree is well-suited to South Florida's climate, offering beauty and ecological benefits in one package, making it a standout among exotic flowering trees.

Bauhinia divericata (Mexican orchid tree)

Bauhinia divericata (Mexican orchid tree)

Silk floss tree: The thorny beauty

The Ceiba speciosa, or silk floss tree, is known for its stunning flowers and thorn-covered trunk. When in bloom, this tree is a magnet for hummingbirds, thanks to its vibrant and nectar-rich flowers. Although it loses its leaves in winter, the flowers more than make up for the temporary lack of foliage. This tree can be a dramatic and colorful addition to your garden and a striking example of exotic flowering trees.

Ceiba speciosa (Silk floss tree)

Ceiba speciosa (Silk floss tree)

Bauhinia ungulata: Alien elegance

The Bauhinia ungulata might just have the most unique flowers you've ever seen. Resembling aliens from another world, these blossoms add an otherworldly charm to your garden. This exotic flowering tree is a fantastic conversation piece and a stunning visual element that thrives in South Florida's tropical climate, adding to the diverse collection of flowering trees in your landscape.

Bauhinia ungulata

Bauhinia ungulata

Couroupita guianensis: The fragrant cannonball tree

Known as the cannonball tree, Couroupita guianensis is famed for its fragrant, waxy flowers. These exotic blossoms are not only visually striking but also emit a delightful fragrance. The tree's large, spherical fruits resemble cannonballs, adding another layer of interest. This tree flourishes in South Florida, offering both beauty and a pleasant aroma to your garden, making it a unique addition to your flowering trees.

Couroupita guianensis (Cannonball tree)

Couroupita guianensis (Cannonball tree)

Cassia grandis: The elegant rainbow cassia

Cassia grandis, or rainbow cassia, is an elegant tree with dainty, pinkish flowers that create a stunning visual display. Blooming in spring, these flowers add a touch of grace and beauty to your garden. This tree is relatively low-maintenance, making it an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy the beauty of flowering trees without extensive upkeep.

Cassia grandis (Rainbow cassia)

Cassia grandis (Rainbow cassia)

Ylang-ylang: The queen of perfumes

The ylang-ylang tree is renowned for its intensely fragrant flowers and the essential oil extracted from them, which is a key natural ingredient used extensively in the perfume industry. Known as the "Queen of Perfumes," the flowers of this tree have a strong, sweet fragrance that can fill your garden with a delightful aroma. This tree thrives in the warm, humid climate of South Florida and adds both visual and olfactory appeal to your landscape, standing out among flowering trees.

Ylang-ylang

Ylang-ylang

Plumeria: The colorful frangipani

Plumeria, commonly known as frangipani, is famous for its beautiful and fragrant flowers that come in a variety of colors. These flowers are often used in leis and add a tropical touch to any garden. Although it loses its leaves during the winter, the stunning blooms in the spring and summer make it well worth the wait. This tree thrives in the warm climate of South Florida, making it a perfect choice for local gardens and a colorful addition to your flowering trees.

Plumeria (Frangipani tree)

Plumeria (Frangipani tree)

Jacaranda mimosifolia: The delicate jacaranda

The Jacaranda mimosifolia, or jacaranda tree, is known for its elegant, lavender-blue flowers that create a delicate and beautiful display. While the tree itself may not be particularly striking, the flowers certainly are. Lightly fragrant and visually stunning, these blooms can transform your garden into a sea of color. This tree thrives in South Florida's warm climate and can be a beautiful addition to your landscape and an elegant example of exotic flowering trees.

Jacaranda mimosifolia (Jacaranda tree)

Jacaranda mimosifolia (Jacaranda tree)

Milky Way tree: The year-round bloomer

The Stemmadenia litoralis, also known as the Milky Way flower tree, is a medium-sized tree that blooms all year round. Its wonderfully fragrant flowers can add a pleasant aroma to your garden throughout the year and is one of my personal favorites. This tree is relatively easy to maintain and thrives in South Florida's climate, making it a great choice for those who want continuous blooms and fragrance from their flowering trees.

Stemmadenia litoralis (Milky Way flower tree)

Stemmadenia litoralis (Milky Way flower tree)

Joy perfume tree: The heavenly scented white champaca

The Michelia x alba, or white champaca, is my favorite of the flowering trees in terms of fragrance. Also known as the joy perfume tree, its flowers emit a scent so intoxicating that it feels as though your body will levitate toward the tree! This stunning tree can reach up to 30 feet in height and boasts an overall beautiful appearance. It's a must-have for any fragrance enthusiast, and its elegant white flowers add a touch of sophistication to any garden. 

Michelia champaca alba (Joy perfume tree)

Michelia champaca alba (Joy perfume tree)

Desert cassia: A splash of sunshine

The Desert cassia is a small but mighty tree that bursts into a stunning display of yellow flowers. These cute little blooms cover the tree, making it look like a burst of sunshine. This tree is also a host plant for sulphur butterflies, which are also yellow, adding a delightful touch of fluttering color to your garden. Its compact size makes it perfect for smaller spaces, and its hardiness ensures it will thrive in South Florida's climate, adding to the variety of exotic flowering trees.

Desert cassia

Desert cassia

Golden shower tree: A cascade of gold

The Golden shower tree (Cassia fistula) is a breathtaking addition to any South Florida garden. Known for its cascading clusters of bright yellow flowers, this tree creates a stunning display reminiscent of a golden waterfall. Blooming in late spring to early summer, it can transform any landscape into a vibrant scene.

Additionally, the Golden shower tree serves as a larval plant for the sulphur butterfly, supporting local wildlife and adding ecological value to your garden. Its ability to thrive in South Florida's climate makes it an excellent choice for those looking to add a splash of color and support pollinators with their selection of flowering trees.

Cassia fistula (Golden shower tree)

Cassia fistula (Golden shower tree)

Creating a tropical paradise 

Incorporating exotic flowering trees into your South Florida garden can transform your space into a tropical paradise, filled with color, fragrance, and wildlife. From the rare and stunning yellow royal poinciana to the fragrant and elegant white champaca, these trees offer a diverse range of beauty and benefits. Whether you're looking to attract pollinators, enjoy year-round blooms, or simply add a splash of exotic charm, there's a flowering tree on this list for you.

Planting these exotic flowering trees not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your garden but also supports local biodiversity by providing food and habitat for various wildlife. So go ahead, pick your favorites, and start transforming your garden into a haven of exotic beauty and natural wonder.

Need some expert guidance for your exotic flowering trees? Give Brent a call – he can’t wait to help you! 

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