ArtisTree landscape experts asked to share their personal Florida tree favorites.

ArtisTree Landscape is accustomed to taking tall orders for full landscape renovations and new-builds, deftly guiding customers to think hard about their tree selections. But on this Arbor Day, the tables were turned, with our experts being asked what their personal tree favorites were. Their answers may surprise you. How do their answers compare with yours?

ArtisTree Landscape

Joe Mantkowski, VP of Landscape Design

For me, my favorite Florida tree depends on how it will be used and where it’s designated to be planted. But I’ll say the magnolia. I love its frame, the foliage size and texture, and the fact that you can keep it trimmed. Magnolia flowers are just beautiful and smell amazing.

Clinton Lak, ArtisTree Landscape Designer

High on my list is the Orange Geiger. It’s a small compact tree that flowers through spring, summer and fall when properly cared for. It’s fantastic for coastal areas in well drained soils. Prolific in coastal areas of the Yucatan peninsula and always reminds me of a tropical vacation.

Chris Culp, Landscape Designer

I would say one of the strangest tree and coolest trees that I personally like is the Baobob Tree. It’s from Africa and is known as the ‘Tree of Life’.  I call it the ‘Upside Down Tree’.  People have made homes inside these trees and the fruit is edible. Does well in zones 9 to 11. 

Brian Clouser, Landscape Designer

My favorite tree is the Crape Myrtle. It’s available in lots of colors, and it lets you know that Florida has seasons by being deciduous. My two favorite crape myrtles are Catawba (violet) and Tuskegee (a pink-red watermelon color). All have a really nice multi-trunk structure.

Elisabeth Owen, Landscape Designer

The Black Olive ‘Shady Lady’ is my favorite tree. This tropical evergreen has a beautiful growth habit with tiered horizontal branches growing a layer here, a layer there. Dense leaves are super tiny. They’re a very desirable tree due to their clean and elegant structure.

Conan Michel, Operations Manager

I like the Gumbo Limbo tree best. It can be trained to grow uniquely by trimming, has a showy bark and is hurricane resistant. Its seeds are an excellent source of food for birds. A nice low-maintenance choice.

ArtisTree Landscape Designers

Contact ArtisTree 941.488.8897

ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design has proudly served Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties since 1990.


Want to get your Sarasota landscape renovation started now? Check out ArtisTree’s portfolio and then call Jenni Lassen at 941.488.8897 to schedule a meeting with one of our award-winning designers. We proudly serve Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties.

ArtisTree also provides complete landscape maintenance services for HOA communities throughout Southwest Florida. Contact Michael Casper at 941.488.8897 for your custom maintenance proposal. Our services include irrigation/water management, turf/ornamental maintenance, mulching and seasonal color.  

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