A garden isn't complete without at least one tree to provide shade, structure and greenery high up in the air. Though many gardeners want to cultivate trees, not all have the patience to wait half a lifetime for a tree to reach its full potential. Luckily there are plenty of fast growing trees that will take a little less time than the rest.
A member of the bean family, the orchid tree (Bauhinia variegata) is a fast growing tree that quickly reaches a maximum height of between 20 and 40 feet. A native of southeastern China, Vietnam and India, the orchid tree is best grown in USDA zones 9 to 11. The orchid tree is notable for its large showy blooms, which are strikingly similar to orchids and also boast a sweet fragrance. This tree grows best in an acidic soil in full sunlight. The plant should be watered liberally throughout the summer and less so during the winter. The orchid tree is considered an exotic invasive in some areas, so consult an invasive plant list before cultivating.
Growing up to 10 feet a year, the weeping willow (Willowsalix babylonica) is a graceful shade tree that reaches an average height of around 40 feet. The tree has a cascading habit made even more elegant with long green leaves. The weeping willow does best in full sunlight in USDA zones 4 to 9. Quite tolerant of a range of soil types, the weeping willow is a water-loving plant that will thrive in the water-logged soil near a pond or other body of water. If the weeping willow is not planted near water, be sure to water it frequently. The tree is excellent for preventing soil erosion.
Silk Floss Tree
A member of the bombax family, the silk floss tree (Chorisia speciosa) is a fast growing tree that can reach heights of up to 60 feet. A native of Brazil and Argentina, the silk floss tree is a tropical plant that does best in the warm weather of USDA zones 9B to 11. The plant has unremarkable green leaves that give way to stunning hot pink, hibiscus-like flowers in the fall. The silk floss tree is also notable for its unusual trunk, which sports jagged spiked protrusions. The tree is commonly used as a specimen tree in tropical gardens, where its show of flashy flowers can be admired.