Best Trees To Plant In Houston

It can be more difficult to plant trees in Texas than in some greener states due to the warmer climate. The same goes for Houston as it has some of the sparsest tree coverage in the USA. Still, there are a few trees that perform better here than in other climates. In this article, we will talk about the best trees to plant in Houston and what would be the optimal species for you.  Keep reading to find out more about types of trees in Houston homes! 

Best Trees to Plant in Houston, TX

Drake Elm

Also known as the Chinese elm, this tree is the best shade-providing and fast-growing tree you can plant in Houston. This beautiful tree is quite common in shopping strips, but you probably won’t see it too much in neighborhoods. Its bark is the most distinguishing feature and it can be either orange or gray. 

There are plenty of reasons why this tree is recommended. Its aesthetic value is the number one reason, but it is also tolerant of crummy conditions. This tree also provides enough shadow for the grass around it too. So, it is a very good option for those who need to enhance the chances of survival for their flowers and grass in hot weather. 

Nuttall Oak

When it comes to native types of trees in Houston, the Nuttall Oak is probably the most popular one. Don’t hesitate to opt for it, especially if you’re interested in large trees. Experts say that this tree provides the largest shade of all trees in Houston, so it will be perfect for your backyard. 

Houston is known for its soggy wet soil. Luckily, the Nuttal oak puts up well with it and that’s why it is always a great option. However, the market doesn’t demand it so it is quite hard to find it. The most popular is the Shumard oak, but it doesn’t deal as great as Nuttal with soggy clay soil in Houston. 

Mandarin Orange

Having a good fruit tree is always great in a hot climate, which is why the Mandarin Orange tree is one of the best trees to plant in Houston. Some people prefer persimmon trees, but if you ever tasted it, you will probably opt for the Mandarin. 

There are two types of orange trees you can grow – sweet and mandarin. Houston experiences occasional cold winter snaps, which is why sweet orange trees like Naval and Valencia aren’t a great choice even if they sound tempting. On the other hand, clementine and satsumas are tolerant of cold weather and Houston’s soil. 

Redbud Tree


Another beautiful small flowering tree is the Redbud tree. It blooms around the same time as the azaleas, in early spring. It has beautiful pink flower clusters and is adaptable to most soil types in Houston. When it is fully mature, it can reach around 20 feet in height. It has beautiful shades of yellow in autumn and will provide you beautiful scenery. 


This evergreen tree is very common in Houston. There are a few reasons for this – it produces fragrant white flowers and it is stately and elegant. It offers great privacy for owners due to the tree’s dense and dark leaves. It is great for separating your backyard from your neighborhoods, but avoid doing so in your front yard. The Southern Magnolia has very thick leaves that will obstruct the view in front of your house, so always plant in your backyard. 

Mexican Fan Palm 

There’s no doubt that summers in Houston are very hot. This is why palms are very common trees of choice. Texans usually have pools in their backyards too, so palms are there to provide shade during hot summer months while they try to cool down in the water. The most popular is the Queen’s palm. Still, the Mexican fan Palm is probably always a better choice between the two. Unlike other palm trees, Mexican fan palm grows really fast. In addition, it is tolerant of the occasional cold freezes and the Houston droughts. 

Texas Olive

If given adequate water, this evergreen will flower every year. This tree is a member of the borage family and can reach up to 24 feet in height when fully mature. It has a rounded crown and tubular white blooms that attract many hummingbirds and butterflies. Animals are also attracted to this tree’s yellow-purple fruit. Humans can eat these but they don’t taste very well and the consumption is advised to stay limited. 

The tree tolerates clay, loam, and sand and is best in sun to part shade. Once established, it is drought-tolerant if it has well-draining soil. Plant in a protected area as it tends to freeze to temperatures below 20 degrees. 

Native Fringe Tree

This oval-shaped tree can reach up to 20 feet in height. It is also known as Grancy Graybeard by the locals. Female trees produce blueberries in the fall, and the fragrant white flowers appear in spring. It does well in sandy, acidic soil and it can be multitrunked or single. The tree has glossy leaves and tolerates poor drainage that happens from time to time, which is why it is one of the best trees to plant in Houston. Pruning will be obligatory for the tree after flowering since it blooms on old wood. 

Q: When should I plant trees in Houston?

A: The best time to plant trees in Houston is mid-November to late February. This allows for the roots to become established before the summer sets in and the moisture demand become a lot more important. If you’re planting in a container, don’t remove the tree from it until the hole is ready for the tree. 

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Houston is an area where a lot of trees can’t grow due to the weather conditions. Still, those types of trees in Houston homes and parks that can adapt to the soil and hot climate are among the most beautiful ones. It is definitely worth it to opt for one of the trees from the list, you can be sure that you won’t make a mistake. Just bear in mind to find the perfect spot and the right type of soil for the tree you want to plant.

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