Small, ornamental, white flowering trees add an element of dimension to the Florida landscape. Trees with white flowers bring their own splash of color to a garden, making the colors of the other plants seem more vivid. The green leaves make the tree’s flowers look even whiter and the different-colored berries that take over when the flowers are gone give the tree a completely different look.
Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) grows from 15 to 30 feet tall and from 15 to 20 feet across. The tree produces medium-green leaves that grow from 3 to 6 inches long and turn to red and purple in the fall, and small white flowers that grow from white or pink modified leaves called bracts. Red fruits grow from fall through winter. The flowering dogwood is usually found in mixed hardwood forests and along the outskirts of pine forests in the eastern United States. The plant does best in partial or dappled shade, but can take the six hours of sunshine a day in a full-sun area. Flowering dogwood grows all over Florida, except in zone 10 in the far south.
Walter’s virbunum (Viburnum obovatum) is also known as small viburnum and small leaf viburnum. The tree blooms in late winter and grows from 6 to 15 feet tall. It produces shiny green leaves that grow from 1 to 2 inches long; small, white flowers that grow in clusters; and small, red fruits that will turn black as they age. Walter’s virbunum is native to central Florida and other areas of the southeast. This tree prefers full sun, but can take partial shade, likes wet soil and is hardy in all but the hottest zone in Florida, zone 10. The flowers attract butterflies in the spring and the fruit attracts birds in the fall.
Possomhaw (Viburnum nudum) is also known as smooth witherod, wild raisin and possum-haw. The tree grows from 10 to 20 feet tall and produces dark-green leaves that grow from 3 to 6 inches long and turn red or red-purple in the fall. The tiny, white flowers grow in clusters that are 3 to 6 inches across and are followed by yellow fruit that changes to pink and then blue-black. It is native to the eastern United States from southern New England to northern Florida, and as far west as central Texas. Possomhaw can take any sun condition, but produces the most flowers in full sun and likes a moist soil, but can survive in a drought situation. Possomhaw can grow in all but zone 10 in Florida.