10 Best Trees In Southern California

With rainy winters and dry summers, the climate in Southern California is not friendly to all plants. If you want to grow a tree in your garden, then you should be familiar with what can tolerate the region’s weather. 

Looking for the best trees in Southern California? This article will talk about some of the best species that should be on your radar!

Top Picks for Trees in Southern California 

1. Jacaranda 

Known as purple trees in San Diego, the jacaranda is popular for its ornamental value. It has purple blooms with fern-like leaves, making it an astonishing addition to any property. The tree goes well in places with sandy and well-draining soil. While it is beautiful, it can also be messy. The sticky flowers can be a significant problem come fall. If you hate raking, then this tree is not for you. 

2. California Fan Palm

If you are searching for palm trees native to Southern California, then this is a great option. The California fan palm is the only native palm in this part of the country. The palm tree has a large unbranched trunk that can grow to a diameter of up to three feet and a height of up to 60 feet. It has large and fan-shaped leaves, which is where it got its name. Take note that this is a big tree, so it isn’t for gardens with limited spaces. 

Related Posts: Palm Tree Diseases & How To Plant A Palm Tree

3. Crape Myrtle

For a year-round tree with show-stopping flowers, it is hard to go wrong with the crape myrtle. It is available in different varieties, including a two-foot shrub for small gardens. It can grow up to 30 feet with a width of 15 feet. When choosing a location, pick a place that experiences up to six hours of sun in a day. Avoid crape murder or over-pruning. This will cause the tree to use all its energy in growing the branches, resulting in minimal flowers. 

4. Weeping Willow 

One of the best options for the fastest-growing tree in California, the weeping willow has a lush and fascinating curve. This graceful tree can grow up to 40 feet tall and 35 feet wide, making it great for shade. It is known for its long and distinct leaves hanging from its branches. This is an adaptive tree that can grow in different types of soil. It is also susceptible to many diseases, making it require optimal care and maintenance. 

5. Mimosa Tree

Exotic and aromatic, this is another notable option for trees in Southern California. It is also known as a night sleeper, which refers to the folding of the bipinnate leaves at night. This fast-growing ornamental tree can tolerate cold temperatures. However, it is also an awful weed and considered an ecological threat. It has invasive root systems that can cause concrete to crack. If it is a property risk, consider tree removal California as a solution. 

6. Tecate Cypress

When it comes to trees native to Southern California, the tecate cypress is a popular variety. It has a tiny geographic distribution, so it isn’t as popular as the others included on our list. This upright tree has pale-green scale-like leaves. This isn’t particularly a landscape tree, but it is often found in the wild in San Diego and Orange County. The tecate cypress also grows in Baja California, Mexico. 

7. Santa Rosa Plum 

Aside from its white spring blooms, the Santa Rosa plum is also popular for its delicious fruits. One of the best San Francisco trees, it grows fast at an average of 24 inches per year. The red-to-purple fruit can be eaten fresh or canned. Bacterial spot is one of the biggest problems in this tree. Watch out as well for borers, mites, aphids, and scales. Annual pruning and fertilizing will help maintain the health of the tree, making it less susceptible to pests and diseases.  

Related Post: Best Fruit Trees For Southern California

8. California Sycamore 

This plane tree is native to California. It is a large tree that can grow at a maximum height of 35 meters, with a trunk that can have a diameter as big as one meter. It is a tough tree but easy to grow. One of the most important requirements is regular watering, especially when it is young. When given sufficient water, the roots go down, making it ideal near pavements and properties. 

9. Pepper Tree 

An attractive shade tree, it can grow at a height of 45 feet and a width of 50 feet. A common feature in large courtyards and gardens, its fruits can be used for the treatment of wounds and infections. While the drooping and willow-like branches make it an attractive addition to your landscape, it has invasive root systems. Scale infestation is also a common problem. To add, dry fruits, twigs, and branches can create a mess in your yard, and the clean-up can be bothersome.  

Related Post: California Pepper Tree

10. Coast Live Oak 

A large evergreen, this tree can grow at a maximum of 30 meters. This is one of the only native oaks in the state that can grow even in coastal environments. It is a beautiful tree that can live up to 250 years. It produces acorns, which were amongst the primary food sources for native groups. It is a spreading tree, so make sure that you have a large space if you plan to grow this in your garden. It is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, including oak root fungus, powdery mildew, and leaf blister. 

Related Posts: Oak Tree Diseases California & Oak Tree Care


Q: What trees grow best in Southern California? 

A: From jacaranda to coast live oak, the best trees for Southern California are those that can survive dry summers and wet winters. It is best to plant drought-resistant varieties to tolerate extreme temperatures. 

Related Post: Drought Tolerant Trees California

Local Tree Experts Overview 

From Los Angeles to San Diego, the trees in Southern California mentioned above are common features in private landscapes and public parks. They do not only add aesthetic value to any property, but they are also beneficial for wildlife. Some of these trees also grow in the wild, which are valuable additions to the state’s forests.

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