Best Small Trees For San Diego

With 266 sunny days throughout the year, San Diego has a pleasant climate. This means that growing small trees for San Diego will be an easy feat! Winters are mild and summers are tolerable, increasing the chances that a tree will survive in the city. 

Even if you are not gifted with the luxury of space, you can elevate the look of your yard! Keep on reading and we’ll talk about some of the options worth considering for small trees San Diego. 

Our Favorites for Small Trees for San Diego 

Even if you ask providers of tree services California, they will agree that below are some of the best small trees that will thrive in San Diego. 

1. Hakea Laurina 

This tall and narrow shrub is from Australia but a popular feature in San Diego landscapes. Also called pin-cushion hakea, this small tree has an average height of only 12 to 20 feet. More so, it is an evergreen tree, so it will have leaves throughout the year. 

The hakea laurina is at its most beautiful from early to mid-winter. At this point, it has lightly scented soft-pink round flowers. It will project like pins, giving the tree a distinct appearance. 

If you are planting this tree, choose a location where it will enjoy full sun. This is also a great choice for a drought-tolerant tree in san Diego. Plus, it can survive even without too much effort when it comes to care and maintenance.  

2. Texas Olive 

Despite the name, the Texas olive tree grows even in California, especially in San Diego. One thing that makes it a great tree is its longevity. It can live up to 100 years! 

The Texas olive is known for its attractive blooms. Its white flowers will have yellow throat clusters. It also has a small edible fruit, which looks like an olive, which is perhaps where it got its name. 

Depending on the growing conditions, the maximum height that the tree can reach is 15 feet and the spread will have a diameter of 10 feet. It likes supplemental irrigation, but it can survive even with minimal watering. 

3. Desert Willow 

Drought can be a problem in California. With this, when looking for small trees San Diego, consider those that will withstand water shortage and heat. If that’s the case, then desert willow is one option you will not regret! 

Even in the high heat of summer, the desert willow will show off large blooms, making it a valuable addition to any landscape. It has pink or magenta blooms, which are similar to jacaranda, one of the best flowering trees in San Diego

It is also virtually pest and disease-free. Plus, it has no known environmental concerns. Unsurprisingly, even providers of tree service San Diego recommend this plant since it requires minimal maintenance. 

4. California Lilac

A bushy and evergreen shrub, the California lilac makes another commendable choice for small trees San Diego. The upright bushes will grow only up to 9 feet and are compact, making it a great option even if you have space limitations. 

Despite its name, take note that it is not a true lilac. Nonetheless, you can expect it to produce fragrant flowers from late spring to early summer. 

Another good thing about this tree is its ability to adjust nitrogen that is naturally present in the soil. It stores nitrogen in the roots, which can be beneficial for your entire garden. 

5. Pearl Acacia

The pearl acacia is one of the loveliest small trees that you can plant in San Diego! This is an evergreen, so it will be covered by its beautiful leaves throughout the year. The leaves are rounded with a felt-like texture, which can be light blue to silver depending on the season. The tiny and fluffy electric yellow blooms will appear in late winter to early spring, which is also the time at which this tree is at its prettiest. 

For the best results, plant the pearl acacia in a place where it will receive full sun. The soil should be well-drained and must be neutral to acidic. While it is a small tree, it can be wide, so prune frequently to make it more compact. 

6. Angel’s Trumpet 

No doubt, this is one of the most beautiful small trees you can have in San Diego landscapes! It can grow from six to 10 feet, depending on the specific variety. The flowers will also have different colors, which can be yellow, orange, pink, peach, or white. It has hanging and bugle-shaped blooms that will surely be a showstopper in any yard! 

What makes the angel’s trumpet popular is not just its striking flowers but also its medicinal value. Its leaves and flowers are used in traditional medicine, specifically for asthma. Some also take it for euphoria and hallucinations. 

7. Worley’s Buttercream 

With an average height of 10 to 15 feet, this small tree will make a great choice if you are looking for an accent plant. It has pale yellow blooms that generously cover its canopy, which will appear from late fall to early winter. This is also a good addition to your garden if you are looking for a tree that can attract butterflies and other pollinators. 

Like the other small trees on our list, it does not require heavy maintenance. To thrive, make sure to plant it somewhere there is full sun. Occasional watering is necessary, and it can tolerate mild drought. As for the soil, it should be well-draining. 

8. Crape Myrtle 

One of the most popular trees in San Diego, it can grow from 10 to 30 feet. There are dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties, which can grow as low as two feet, making it another notable option for a small tree. 

As an ornamental tree, the flowers are sure to mesmerize anyone who will see the crape myrtle. It has showy blooms, which can be lavender, red, pink, or white. Large clusters will appear on the tip of the branches and will perfectly complement the leaves. It also has beautiful exfoliating bark, which gives the tree a distinct character. 



Q: What small trees can be planted close to a house? 

A: Some of the best trees to plant near a house in San Diego include hakea laurina, pearl acacia, and angel’s trumpets, among others. You can plant any small tree. They have non-invasive roots and will not destroy the foundation of the house, so no need to worry that they will be destructive. 

Related Post: Palm Tree San Diego

Q: What is the best small ornamental tree? 

A: The best small ornamental tree in San Diego is the angel’s trumpet. It is a small woody tree with large and bright blooms, making it an instant beautiful addition to any space. The flowers are often peach but can also be pink and white. Worley’s buttercream, crape myrtle, and pearl acacia are also great choices. 

Local Tree Experts Overview 

Even if you have a small yard, you can plant a beautiful tree! Take note of our recommendations above for the best small trees for San Diego. They may be small, but they can do a lot to add beauty and character to any home!

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