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"Top 10 Small Ornamental Trees for San Antonio!
Custom Plant Information by:

Wilson Landscape Nursery & Florist- Helotes, Texas

Welcome to Wilson's—We are glad you came our way!


We at Wilson's hope that you find this plant information to be helpful and interesting. Let us know if we can help you further as you search for that special tree. Our information is based upon decades of loving trees, learning about trees, growing trees, maintaining trees, talking about trees, selling trees. planting trees, watching trees grow, enjoying the beauty of trees and being grateful to God for creating trees!

“The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” “And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 2:9; 1:12)


When I think of small ornamental trees,  I think of color. Large shade trees for shade--small ornamental trees for color. With a few possible exceptions,  you do not get spectacular flowers from large shade trees. Shade trees make up for their lack of flowers by offering  impressive fall foliage and soothing shade.   But you do get awesome flowers from small ornamental trees. To see a Texas Redbud in  early spring is a beautiful sight.  Each of the small ornamental trees listed here has its own special time to impress. First comes the Texas Redbud in late winter, very early spring.  Then the Mountain Laurels are not far behind. A few weeks later  the Anacacho Orchid Tree covers itself in white. By early summer the Crepe Myrtles show off their various colors and the American Smoke Tree looks awesome among its colorful leaves and misty spray. The Vitex and the Pomegranate also bloom during this period. The Mexican Olive and Desert Willow love the summer heat and the Yaupon Holly becomes red with  berries in fall and winter while the Pomegranate shows off its edible fruit. 

 See the individual plant information sheets for more detailed information on each individual tree. Other lists may be of interest to you as well, such as, “ Top Twenty Shade Trees for the San Antonio Area.” 

Keep in mind that this ranking depends upon how well a particular tree blends into your own landscape. For example, many might rank the Crepe Myrtle as their number #1 choice;  however, if you already have Crepe Myrtles in your yard,  and Crepe Myrtles are common in your neighborhood, Crepe Myrtle may be number #10 on your list or may not make your top ten list at all.  


  For the last 60 or so years, the Crepe Myrtle has been the most commonly planted small ornamental tree. The Mountain Laurel and Texas Redbud have also been popular. Other great choices remain underused or unknown, like the Anacacho Orchid, Smoke Tree and Mexican Olive. There is a lot to look forward to if you plant one of these.


All of these trees will flower better in full sun. The Texas Redbud is the most shade tolerant out of the bunch. The Mountain Laurel makes the best evergreen shrub and can grow in sun or part-shade but will bloom better with full sun. 

Drought tolerance is another factor that might change your own personal ranking. Though most all of the trees listed here may be considered “drought tolerant”,  there is certainly a difference in their degree of "drought attractiveness." For example, a Mountain Laurel will certainly look better than a Crepe Myrtle during a  significant drought. Both will survive the drought, but the Mountain Laurel will still look good while the Crepe Myrtles will look wilted and ugly.   


If you are looking for large leaves after the flowers fade then a Redbud is a good choice.  Because of its awesome pink flowers, when we long for winter to be over,  and because of its attractive leaves, toughness and fast growth rate, Texas Redbud tops our list of the "Top Ten Small Ornamental Trees at # 1.  


A Blessing For You
We hope that this plant information helps you as you search for that perfect tree. Whichever tree you choose, may it bring you many years of beauty and peace.


May you and your tree be “like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” (Psalm 1:3)

1.Texas Red Bud   

(Cercis canadensis var. texensis)

2.Mountain Laurel   

(Sophora secundiflora)

3.Anacacho Orchid Tree  

(Bauhinia lunarioides)

4.Mexican Olive  

(Cordia boissieri)

5.American Smoke Tree 

(Cotinus obovatus)

6.Yaupon Holly 

(Ilex vomitoria)

7.Crepe Myrtle 

(Lagerstroemia indica)

8.Desert Willow

(Chilopsis linearis)

9.Pomegranate 

(Punica granatum)


10.Vitex 

(Vitex agnus-castus)

 Top Ten Texas Small Ornamental Trees