Any bare landscape yearns for trees, plants and shrubs. Trees that grow fast in Florida can yield a lush yard relatively quickly, for those in zones 8 through 11. These trees are hardy in heat and humidity and grow quicker than a number of their counterparts. Fast growing trees still will take several years to reach maturity, but they will often mature in one’s lifetime.
The melaleuca or punk tree, botanically known as Melaleuca quinquenervia from the myrtle family of plants, is an evergreen, fast-growing wetland tree. It gets between 40 and 100 feet tall with peeling white bark and leathery, 4-inch-long leaves. Its white flowers appear on 6-inch spikes. Grow in full sun in moist soils. Propagate via seed in USDA hardiness zones of 9 through 11 (not good for upper Florida, which is in zone 8).
The chinaberry or bead tree, botanically known as Melia azedarach and from the mahogany family of plants, is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant tree. It gets 20 feet wide and 50 feet high with red-brown bark. Leaves are 1 to 2 feet long and deciduous. Flowers are less than an inch wide, fragrant, purple, and shaped like a star. Grow in partial shade to full sun. Propagate via seed in USDA hardiness zones of 7 through 10 (may not work in southern Florida, where the zone is 11).
The Jerusalem thorn or Mexican palo verde, botanically known as Parkinsonia aculeate from the bean family of plants, is a fast-growing, drought tolerant tree. It gets 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Leaves are strap-like and 10 to 16 inches long. Flowers are yellow. Grow in full sun in most any soil. Propagate via seed in USDA hardiness zones of 8 through 11.
The Australian pine or horsetail casuarina, botanically known as Casuarina equisetifolia from the casuarina family of plants, is an evergreen, drought-tolerant, fast-growing tree that gets 100 to 150 feet high. Fruits look like pine cones and contain the seeds. It will reach 30 feet in approximately 2 years. Grow in sandy soil, in a pH between 5.0 and 7.7, while in full sun. Propagate via seed in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11 (it may not grow well in areas in northern Florida that are in zone 8).
The tung tree or China wood oil tree, botanically known as Aleurites fordii from the spurge family of plants, is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant tree. It gets 30 to 40 feet high on occasion but typically is 15 to 20 feet tall. Leaves are heart-shaped, 3 to 5 inches long and dark green. Flowers are pale peach and 1 ½ inches. Grow in 5.5 to 6.0 pH soil in near full sun conditions. Propagate via seed or cuttings in USDA hardiness zones of 8 through 10 (areas of southern Florida in zone 11 may have problems growing this).
The orchid tree or mountain ebony, botanically known as Bauhinia variegata from the bean family of plants, is a fragrant fast growing evergreen tree. It gets 20 to 40 feet high and 10 to 20 feet wide. Leaves are rounded, deciduous, and 4 to 6 inches wide. Flowers are lavender, purple-blue, or magenta and 3 to 5 inches wide. Grow in acidic soil in full sun. Propagate via seed or layering in USDA hardiness zones of 9 through 11 (northern Florida may have difficulty growing).