North Central Florida consists of 16 counties, including Gadsen, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwanee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Union, Bradford, Gilchrist, Alachua, and Levy. All of these counties are within USDA growing zone 8

Due to our subtropical climate, there are several trees that will grow well in this area. But, we have a few favorites when it comes to choosing the best trees in Florida to beautify your landscape. 

Beautiful green and pink crape myrtle blooming

5 Recommended Landscape Trees for North Central Florida

The list below is not meant to be exhaustive but rather offers a few of our recommendations for adding some foliage to your home or business’s landscape. 

Crape Myrtle

The crape myrtle is one of our area’s most beautiful and popular landscape trees. This flowering tree, often called “the lilac of the South,” is easy to care for, resilient, and attractive. Its blooms are large and long-lasting (up to one hundred days) and, in addition to that, the tree has a great fall color and even boasts attractive bark. The crape myrtle is a great tree to add some appeal to your front yard or entryway.

Live Oak

One of the south’s most iconic trees, live oaks are large, elegant trees that grace many landscapes with their deep and inviting shade. As they can grow more than 60 feet tall with branches spread over 100 feet, live oaks require a lot of space. 

But, if you have room for them, live oaks can add some “southern charm” to your landscape and, if planted in the right place, will likely live in your landscape for generations. There are a number of examples of live oak trees that are several hundred years old, like the Cellon Oak, right here in Gainesville.


The loquat, also called the Japanese plum, is a small-ish evergreen tree (< 25 feet tall) that bears tasty fruit. Its more diminutive size makes it a great choice for small or tight spaces in your yard. 

Though not native to this area, it was introduced to Florida toward the end of the 19th century and has thrived in our sunny, well-drained soils ever since. This tree is attractive year-round and blooms white, fragrant flowers in late fall. In early spring, the loquat produces a delicious yellow fruit ready to be enjoyed.

Southern Magnolia

While there are around 300 varieties of magnolias in the U.S., the most well-known magnolia in North Central Florida is the Southern magnolia. These stately trees can grow up to 90 feet tall and have glossy greenish-brown foliage that makes a great, evergreen backdrop for your landscape. In the spring and summer, Southern magnolias produce creamy white flowers that the bees and other pollinators in our area love.


Flowering dogwood is a popular tree native to the eastern United States. In North Florida, this beautiful tree is great for smaller landscapes as it only grows up to 35 feet tall. For yards already shaded by larger overstory trees like the live oak, the dogwood tree is a great choice, as it tends to thrive in dappled or filtered sunlight. 

This stunning tree blooms with attractive white flowers for a few weeks in the spring and its leaves turn a stunning red before dropping in the fall — who says you can’t see the fall colors in Florida?

Need a Hand With Your North Florida Landscaping? We’ve Got You Covered

With North Central Florida’s warm and humid climate, we are lucky to have hundreds of great landscape trees to choose from. While this list is by no means comprehensive, it should give you a great start to adorning your landscape. 

Obviously, deciding on which tree is best for you starts with your landscape goals and capacities. You’ll also want to plant it in an area where it can flourish and won’t cause any challenges to your property. Look for a natural spot that minimizes the need to trim or remove existing trees in the landscape. This may sound daunting but Gaston’s Tree Service is here to help. Our team of certified arborists has the knowledge and experience to help get your landscape goals off the ground.