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Desert Gardening: Perfect Small Trees

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Planting appropriate small trees will save you time and money in reduced pruning costs, and will make your outdoor spaces more attractive.

 Chihuahuan orchid tree in courtyard with flagstone patio

The Chihuahuan orchid tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) is a multi-trunked tree with pretty, butterfly-shape leaves and a nice display of snow-white (some individuals bloom pink) flowers in the spring. Some individual flowers bloom pink. Since the tree’s mature width is only 10 feet it will fit in places where other trees will not.

Slender and elegant, the Palo Blanco (Acacia willardiana) can be wedged into all but the very smallest of spaces. One of the only desert trees with white bark, it will grow in the full blasting sun, and although its canopy is light, it provides some shade. Succulents, such as agaves, grow well beneath the filtered light of its canopy.

For partially shaded areas, consider the Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora). It sports purple/blue wisterialike blooms in the spring and retains its handsome evergreen foliage the rest of the year. It is good for the north or east sides of your home and can be left as a large shrub, or pruned up into a plant, with several trunks and a rounded canopy.

What are your favorite small trees?

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