Tropical Florida Gardens - What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Tropical Florida Gardens

What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Choosing the Right Tree

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 9th

by Debbie Hughes, Estates Horticulturist

Everyone needs a tree in their yard to provide some shade, and our summer rainy season is a perfect time for planting.  I am going to tell you a little secret to help you decide on what tree to choose. The most important mantra you should repeat to yourself is “Right plant in the right place.”  If you want to be happy with your choice for the lifetime of the tree, do the research.

  • Determine the mature height and spread, the flower, fruit, or leaf drop, and the wet, cold and salt tolerance.
  • Size matters – especially if you don’t want the tree to take over your property (or your neighbors).
  • A tree with flowers that fall on your driveway and car can be messy, but perfectly acceptable over the middle of the grass.
  • Most tropical fruit trees won’t survive in cold winter temperatures in northern regions of the county.
  • If you only live in Florida in the winter months and want a fruiting or flowering tree, make sure it blooms while you are in town.
jacaranda tree

jacaranda tree

Most people buy plants and then decide where it should go in the landscape. This is a no-no.  You will end up with the wrong tree for your situation and have to spend the money to cut it down later; not to mention losing all those years of growth only to be back where you started.

Some great choices for trees include (but there are many more):

  • SMALL: East Palatka Holly, Crape Myrtle, Orange Geiger, Bahama Strongbark, Sweet Acacia, Senna Surattensis, Tabernaemontana Orientalis (blooms smell like buttered popcorn)
  • MEDIUM:  Foxtail Palm, Shady Lady Black Olive, Tabebuia (Golden Trumpet and Caribbean Queen)
  • LARGE: Live Oak, Royal Poinciana, Jacaranda, Mahogany, Royal Palm

As the Edison & Ford Winter Estates restores the botanical gardens of the historical property, we invite you to commemorate your marriage, celebrate the birth of a child, or honor a passed away loved one by planting a tree in the gardens or sponsoring a memory bench. For more information on donating a Celebration Tree to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, please visit

4 Responses

  1. Jessica Says:

    My name is Jessica, recently I graduated from Cypress Lake High School. As the class of 2009’s Vice President I was put in charge of our class gift. We choose to plant two Jacaranda trees and place a bench in the middle. These two trees are in honor of two students we lost in two tragic accidents. I am curious to know where in Fort Myers we can purchase these trees? Any information can and will be useful. Thank You very much for your time and answers.

    Posted on August 25th, 2009 at 10:44 pm

  2. Edison & Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Jessica,
    Thank you for your inquiry. That sounds like a very thoughtful class gift. The Estates just sold the last of our larger Jacaranda trees, but we still have several young ones that are about 12″ tall. If you are looking for something more mature, I would suggest checking out Driftwood Garden Center 20071 South Tamiami Trail Estero , FL 33928
    Phone: 239-947-9676. If you would like tips on caring for the tree, feel free to stop the Estates and ask for me.
    Debbie Hughes
    Estates Horticulturist

    Posted on August 26th, 2009 at 9:32 am

  3. terry bandy Says:

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter
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    you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something
    too few folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very
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    Posted on October 18th, 2013 at 2:43 am

  4. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Thanks Terry for your great comments about proper tree planting ideas.
    Hopefully there will be more great ideas from my writings for use to think about.

    Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist

    we offer great garden tours too-come see us in Fort Myers, FL. at the Edison Ford Winter Estates

    Posted on January 10th, 2014 at 3:06 pm