ArtisTree Plantopinions: Golden Dewdrop Trees Will Grow on You

Purple frothy flowers, adoring butterflies, glowing green leaves — what’s not to like about Golden Dewdrop trees? These fast growers (also known as Duranta erecta or Duranta trees) have a wild side to them that can easily be kept in check (if you prefer) to maintain their free-spirit charm. Although they can reach 8-15 feet, you can trim them to a manageable six. These woody evergreens bloom best in full sun, and when they do, be ready for a spectacular butterfly show. If you’re looking for an interesting small tree that blooms year ‘round, do a Dewdrop. ArtisTree Landscape experts weigh in.

Golden Dewdrop tree
Some Sarasota homeowners prefer their Golden Dewdrop trees to be on the untamed side for a more natural look.

Joe Mantkowski, VP Landscape Design, thumbs up:

Love ‘em. The tree variety (also available in shrub form which I use a ton) is amazing although it grows fast and needs a haircut regularly. They are durable against cold weather and bloom all year. The lavender-colored blooms are unique and provide beautiful color to a landscape that you don’t often see. I recommend getting one that’s already trained to a single trunk versus trying to shape a shrub yourself.

Clinton Lak, Landscape Designer, thumbs up:

What I like best about Golden Dewdrop trees are their weeping branches. They’re caused by heavy berry clusters and project a cool natural feel that’s perfect for informal gardens. I once knew a customer who tried to topiary it, but I didn’t care for it too much. Provides fantastic color through most of the year and attracts pollinators, too. Dewdrops are aggressive growers, which may be less than ideal in a smaller environment.

Golden Dewdrop tree
The weeping branches of Golden Dewdrop trees are caused by heavy berry clusters. This one thrives in Wellen Park, FL.

Chris Culp, Landscape Designer, thumbs up:

Honestly, I like the Golden Dewdrop more as a shrub than a tree. A row of them will give you spectacular color throughout the summer, and because they grow fast, they’ll hedge together quickly for a lush tropical look. Don’t get me wrong — the tree form is nice, too, but for me, well-placed shrubs make a bigger impact and are a wonderful choice to fill a blank space in your landscape. I prefer them lightly trimmed vs. a tight prune.

Golden Dewdrop tree

Brian Clouser, Landscape Designer, thumbs up:

The Golden Dewdrop works where a lot of other flowering trees won’t. Very tolerant to a wide variety of conditions and also animal resistant. Fairly quick grower that needs some space but can look great when allowed to fill in. The top will grow wide if you let it. Great as a single specimen for a small yard or entry accent. Looks amazing paired with perennials such as bulbine or lantana.

Golden Dewdrop butterfly

Elisabeth Owen, Landscape Designer, thumbs down:

I don’t recommend Golden Dewdrop trees. They’re heavy seed producers (versus flowers) and grow very fast, requiring regular maintenance. I’ve used them rarely except for customers who specifically request a blue/purple flowering tree. But yes, I totally agree that the flowers are a beautiful color and can be loaded with berries which attract pollinators. Keep in mind that the berries, like most ornamental fruit, are toxic to children and pets.

ArtisTree VP/Landscape Joe Mantkowski & landscape designers Clinton Lak, Chris Culp, Brian Clouser, Elisabeth Owen.

ArtisTree “Plantopinions” is a roundtable debate between multiple ArtisTree experts on the virtues of various plant specimens. Sometimes there’s consensus and sometimes not. In the end, you are the judge!

Are Golden Dewdrop trees a good choice for your Sarasota landscape?

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