Trees can add shade, interest and value to a home. Flowering trees attract pollinating insects and often produce fruit that is appealing to birds and wildlife. When you are selecting a tree, you should consider the space available as well as the sunlight, water and soil the tree requires. Florida residents have many options for purple flowering trees because of the mild climate.
The orchid tree (Bauhinia spp.) has orchid-like blooms that are 3 to 4 inches across and can be pink, purple, white, yellow and red. It can be deciduous, semi-evergreen or evergreen and may flower year-round. Orchid trees grow to 25 to 30 feet tall with a 25- to 30-foot spread. The crown, or top, of the tree is rounded and the tree has an overall vase shape. The fruit appears as a 6- to 12-inch brown pod that does not attract wildlife. This tree needs part sun to full sun and can be grown in clay, loam, sand, slightly alkaline, acidic or well-drained soils. It is drought-tolerant and moderately tolerant of salt in the air.
The wood of this tree tends to be weak and subject to breakage. It must be pruned for vehicle or pedestrian clearance in most applications. It is considered a high-maintenance tree.
The orchid tree is hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 9B to 11.
The buttonwood tree (Conocarpus erectus) is used for bonsai, hedges, parking lot islands, residential applications and many other uses. It has been grown successfully in urban areas where pollution, poor drainage, compacted soil and drought are problems. This tree tolerates salt in both the air and soil. The flowers are purple or white and are inconspicuous and not showy, though it may flower year-round. The buttonwood is considered an evergreen. The fruit is not attractive to wildlife, but is small, red and showy. It grows 30 to 40 feet tall with a 20- to 30-foot spread. The buttonwood is a strong tree and not subject to breakage. It prefers full sun and tolerates clay, loam, sand, acidic, occasionally wet, alkaline or well-drained soils. It can be grown successfully in USDA zones 10B through 11.
The frangipani (Plumeria spp.) is a small, deciduous tree that loses its leaves in the dry season, typically from December to March. The branches tend to be weak and break easily. The leaves, which grow to about 20 inches long and 3 inches wide, usually appear in spring. Frangipani flowers come in many colors, depending on the species, and are very fragrant. The flowers show up at the ends of the branches, with a backdrop of a cluster of leaves. The flowers are made up of five petals arranged in a tubular funnel shape. Frangipani blooms in the wet season, which is summer in southern Florida.
Frangipani is tolerant of many soils, but does best in a rich garden soil in full sun or bright shade. It will grow in USDA zones 9 to 11.
- Photo Credit Fleurs de frangipanier Ã l'anse Latouche en Martinique image by JYF from Fotolia.com
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