Acacia aneura Mulga

Ruler icon 20 ft. to 40 ft. high & wide

Sun icon Full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zone 8-11

Dominant tree of Australian scrub ecoregions. Like Palo Verde or Mesquite of our Sonoran Desert. They have distinctive short, narrow gray leaves and are relatively slow growing. Bright yellow catkin-like flowers appear starting in fall, followed by dark brown flattened seed pods in spring. They require very little maintenance such as annual thinning or pruning for shape and structure, along with minimal leaf, or seed pod clean up. Regular deep waterings during the hottest summer months are beneficial, with limited water during coldest months. Flowers are short golden catkins, that look like puffed Cheetos, which are followed by dark brown papery seed pods that linger for a time before blowing off. Tough, tolerant, and reliable trees.

Acacia salicina Willow Acacia

Ruler icon 20 to 40 ft. high & wide

Sun icon Full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zone 9-11

Fast growing graceful evergreen trees. Long arching stems hold narrow bright green foliage. Occasional deep watering encourages optimal root development. Round, cream-colored flowers appear in spring. Staking until mature is recommended. Well suited for use as street or roadway trees, residential landscapes, parks and other municipal projects, golf courses, and low maintenance commercial landscapes. Their dense but weeping canopy also works well for tall screens or background plantings.

Acacia saligna Blue Leaf Wattle

Ruler icon 20' x 15'

Sun icon

Thermometer icon

The Blue Leaf Wattle is useful as a privacy screen or wind break. This is a drought tolerant evergreen tree that blooms clusters of orange balls in the spring.

Acacia smallii (syn. Vachellia farnesiana) Sweet Acacia

Ruler icon 15 to 30 ft. high and wide

Sun icon Full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 8-10

Adaptable trees with unmatched fragrance. Numerous sweet smelling golden puff-ball blooms occur in spring. They are small to medium sized fast growing trees, mostly evergreen with long white thorns. Some thinning is helpful but no topping. Maintaining a dense canopy protects trunks from sunscald. Trees are drought tolerant when mature, but regular deep watering is best through establishment. Trees have small, compound, dark green leaves against dark rough, somewhat shaggy bark. Flowers are followed by short, hard dark brown seed pods.

Acacia stenophylla Shoestring Acacia

Ruler icon 20 to 40 ft. high x 15 to 20 ft. wide

Sun icon Full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-11

Drought tolerance with willow-like habit and texture. Long gray-green modified leaflets grow from limbs with a weeping habit. Round cream catkin blooms appear in spring. These adaptable and durable trees have no thorns making them a popular landscape tree with many uses. Although immature trees appear wispy, as they mature, they develop a quite dense canopy which makes them conducive to using for backyard shade trees. Their typical natural habit of growing taller than wide makes them desirable for narrow spaces and streetscapes, but savvy designers and architects know how to specify them only where overhead obstructions don’t exist. Modest regular water initially is helpful for establishment, but they develop drought tolerance as they mature. Bee pollinated flowers form numerous pods which drop and cast seeds that can lead to some volunteer seedlings in optimal conditions.

Acacia willardiana (Syn. Mariosousa willardiana) Palo Blanco

Ruler icon 15 to 20 ft. high & wide

Sun icon Full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-11

A striking white stick! Palo Blanco translates to “white stick”. These trees are prized for their peeling bark the reveals their bright white trunks. A pendulous, evergreen tree for small spaces. They offer landscape drama when designed in groves or as simple accent specimens. Their leaflets are long, green, and stringy with occasional small compound leaves attached which provides additional textural interest. They are low water use and low maintenance. Staking immature trees can be beneficial until they develop a strong securing root system. Spring produced flowers are cream colored catkins, pods that follow are papery light brown. Do plant them in well-drained soils.

Bauhinia variegata (syn. B. purpurea) Purple Orchid Tree

Ruler icon 15 to 20 ft. high & wide

Sun icon Full to part sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-11

Blooms with purple tropical essence. These non-native small ornamental trees offer a lush tropical feel with round but cleft leathery green leaves. Blooms in spring that look like large orchids. They only require moderate thinning and shaping while trees are maturing. Annual light pruning in early spring. Trees are susceptible to freezes, so wait until cold weather has passed. Moderate water to start, and becoming more drought tolerant as they mature. Trees rarely produce pods, which is an added advantage.

Beaucarnea recurvata Ponytail Palm

Ruler icon 6-15 ft. high x 4-6 ft. wide

Sun icon Part to full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-11

These succulent tropical plants are not palms, despite their common name, but are related more closely to Nolina spp. They are slow-growing, arborescent plants that develop a large woody caudex, the bulbous area between roots and stem, from which grows a tall trunk that holds numerous long, green strap-like leaves that hang down. Ornamental, long-lived, and adaptable they can live root-bound in containers for years, which makes them suitable to grow across the world as indoor plants. In frost-free environments, they can make attractive, low water, and low maintenance accent plants. Excellent drainage is a must, applying water during warm months only, making sure to avoid wetting the caudex.

Caesalpinia cacalaco Cascalote

Ruler icon Up to 20 ft. x 10-15 ft. wide

Sun icon Full sun

Thermometer icon USDA zones 9-11

Bright yellow blooming winter color! A widely popular, fast growing small to medium sized accent tree, Cacalaco is an excellent option for Snow Bird landscapes, due to their fall and winter blooming. Dark green compound leaves cover these mostly multi-trunked small trees with numerous catclaw-like thorns. Starting in fall the ends of each branch will form long candelabra-like spike of bright yellow blooms, which are followed in spring with dark brown to red seed pods, which are easy to rake up once they have dropped in early summer. Left to form suckers, these plants can form into a large dense, impenetrable shrub. Suckers should be trimmed to easily train into stable tree form.