The flowering blossoms of beautiful plants aren’t the only things blooming in Central Florida right now. In fact, many flowering trees are adding to the colorful effect of local landscapes.
Bottle brush trees with their bright red flower spikes (20 foot by 15 foot), Southern magnolia with their large handsome white flowers (15 by 15 feet), and golden rain trees with their showy yellow flowers (40 by 40 feet) are just a few of the trees that are blooming.
“We have golden rain and bottle brush trees, along with purple flowering tibouchinas, creamy white flowering DD Blanchard magnolias, fragrant white flowering Little Gem Magnolias as well as white flowering Dwarf Magnolias,” said Debbie Armstrong, sales, Robbins Nursery, South, in Sebring. The nursery offers the trees in pots ranging from 15-25 gallons. Selections vary according to nursery location.
In addition, there are other trees to consider. “Desert Cassia, Pink Trumpet Tree, Yellow Trumpet Tree, Dwarf Poinciana and Chickasaw Plum are all good choices,” said Dave Austin, Urban Horticulture & Master Gardener coordinator, UF, IFAS Extension, Highlands County. “Although they are not as common as some flowering trees, they can be procured and implemented into a garden or landscape,” added Austin.
The Desert Cassia offers bright yellow flowers, while the Yellow Trumpet Tree and the Pink Trumpet Tree offer unique bell-shaped blooms. “Although beautiful in bloom, these three are borderline cold tolerant for Central Florida,” said Austin.
Central Florida is located in the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone 9b (Average annual extreme minimum temperature is 25-30 degree in Zone 9b). The USDA hardiness zones are based on the average annual extreme minimum temperature during a 30-year period in the past, not on the lowest temperature that has occurred or might occur. For more information about the USDA hardiness zones, visit: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/#
The Dwarf Poinciana offers brilliant red-orange flowers or, depending on the variety, yellow or dark pink. The Chickasaw Plum offers beautiful white flowers and tart, tasty fruits.
“We have the yellow flowering Desert Cassia in right now,” said Armstrong, who explained that these small hardy trees are perfect to add to a butterfly garden.
The Lord’s Farm and Nursery also has a selection of flowering trees. “We have Bottle Brush, Little Gem Magnolia, Golden-rain, Tibouchinas and pink and yellow flowering trumpet Tabebuia trees, in 7, 15 and 25 gallon pots,“ said Steve Aumonte, the nursery’s owner. The selections are available at both of the nursery’s locations.
Blossoming trees attract birds and butterflies and many are quite fragrant. Even the less fragrant Bottle Brush trees have a light lemony scent.
Incorporating flowering trees, or any trees, into a garden or landscape helps keep the air fresh by removing dust and carbon dioxide and by releasing oxygen. Trees can also help define a border, offer a sound barrier, add a visual barrier or add shade. That’s in addition to providing us with textured trunks, green leaves, bright blooms and even tasty fruits to enjoy.
Selecting the right type of tree depends on personal preference, where one is planning to plant (sun or shade), the type of soil, and whether or not the tree grows well in Central Florida.
At the local extension office, you can find out more about flowering trees by calling or stopping by. ”We have a Florida-Friendly guide with helpful information about Florida-Friendly trees and shrubs available,” added Austin, who said that the printed guide could be signed out. For an online copy, visit: https://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu.
In addition to birds and butterflies, honeybees also love flowering trees, especially Bottle Brush trees. On May 17, you can find out more by taking a honeybee workshop from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at UF Extension, Sebring. The $28 cost includes lunch and snacks. During the workshop, you’ll learn how to get started with beekeeping — everything from honeybee anatomy to beekeeping equipment will be covered. Register online: http://highlandsbeecourse.eventbrite.com
For more information:
University of Florida
4509 George Blvd., Sebring
Robbins Nursery South Location
4803 US Hwy 27 S., Sebring
2424 US Hwy 27 N., Sebring
The Lord’s Farm and Nursery
1993 U.S. 27
57 St Lucie St