Tropical landscapes call out for centerpieces of tall, blooming trees. Florida's showiest, orange-flowering trees are the royal poinciana, the African tuliptree, the geigertree, and an orange version of the yellow elder. Standing tall in a crowd, these showstoppers each offer a brilliant color canopy. Placing one of them in the landscape definitely will add a punctuation of color.
Royal Poinciana Tree
Standing stately in the Florida landscape is one of the most flamboyant of all tropical trees. With her huge canopy of brilliant orange flowers, the royal poinciana (Delonix regia) graces backyards, churchyards, and boulevards with a flaming crown. This easy and fast grower can achieve 5 feet of growth in a year and favors warm, tropical climates south of Vero Beach in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10 and 11. The residents of south Florida celebrate its presence with the annual Royal Poinciana Festival, which includes a tour of the trees in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and South Miami. This tree blooms from March thru July and can reach heights of up to 60 feet.
Dark green, large oblate leaves are the background for the geigertree's (Cordia parvifolia) orange and frilly flowers. It favors the more tropical Zones 10 and 11 and will grow to 25 feet. This tender tropical is prone to freezing, but does very well in poor, sandy soil conditions and can endure drought and flooding. The flowers are a clear, bright orange and appear on the tips of branches year-round. The eyecatching orange flowers, the fact that it only grows to 25 feet, and ease of growing make it appropriate for yards, large planters, and to line streets and boulevards.
The African tuliptree (Spathodea campanulata) is native to the equatorial regions of Africa and is grown as a specimen plant. The softball-sized orange flowers grace a tree that can grow to 80 feet tall when given rich soil and ample moisture. Be warned that the branches of the tree become hollow as they age and can fall during times of high wind. Preferring tropical climates, the tree roots will survive temperatures as low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit and will sprout branches from the stem the following spring, even if the tree has been damaged by a freeze.
Favoring USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7 to 10, the yellow elder tree (Tecoma stans) has two orange-flowered cousins referred to in the nursery trade as orange jubilee and orange bells. These small flowering trees do well throughout the state of Florida and can reach a height of 25 feet. Chosen for their compact stature and beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers that hang in clusters at the end of branches, elder will do well in a variety of soil types.