10 Best San Diego Tree Choices for your Backyard


One of the beautiful cities of the US, San Diego, is known for its perfect weather round the year. This city is known to have a Mediterranean climate with 266 sunny days in a year and only 12 inches of annual precipitation. As the region has a sunny and mild climate, you can grow almost any tree in San Diego with proper care.

Whether you are shifting to a new house in San Diego or you want to source up your backyard, planting trees is a great idea. Although trees are one of the most expensive landscape parts in care, their social, economic, and environmental benefits are countless.

Things to Remember Before Planting a Tree !

Before we move to the list of the trees, let us share some quick points. Please go through these points before you plant a tree in San Diego:

  • Due to the low rainfall in the region, bright-sun-favoring and drought-resistant trees should be your preferences.
  • Most plants grow fast when provided with well-drained and nutrient-rich soil at a young age.
  • An essential thing to remember is always planting a tree at least 10 feet away from your house because of its growing roots and hanging branches. Because of the same reason, you also need to size the tree according to the available space.

Trees You Can Grow in San Diego.

A self-sufficiency garden can also be a paradise for the bees. There are plenty of fruits and vegetable varieties that are particularly liked by the bees. For example, you can grow kale and allow some of the plants to bolt. The bolted kale plants produce yellow flowers that attract your garden mining bees, bumblebees, and honeybees.

Jacaranda Tree

jacaranda tree

Jacaranda trees are one of the most popular ornamental purple trees in San Diego. During the period of late spring and early summer, the city’s streets come alive with the purple flowers of these trees.

It is a fast-growing tree, and this is precisely one of the reasons for the popularity of this tree among home growers. Typically, these trees can grow up to 60 feet tall at maturity, whereas most trees are between 25 to 60 feet in height. In a year, it can grow up to 4 feet tall.

Jacaranda trees need well-drained soil and full sun to thrive. Although drought-tolerant, they need more frequent water during the hot and dry seasons.

Carrotwood Tree


The unique name of this tree is due to its oranger inner wood layer under a layer of gray bark. This evergreen tree maintains its glossy green foliage around the year. With a moderate growth rate, the maxim height of this tree is 40 feet. The dense and oval-shaped canopy of this tree can spread up to a diameter of 30 feet.

This one of the best trees of San Diego is low-maintenance and has become a popular choice among house owners in the city of San Diego. Carrotwood has a highly adaptive nature and does well from salty coastal braces to compact downtown sidewalks.

As it is a low-maintenance and drought-resistant tree, its popularity in the city increases every day. However, if you plan to plant it in your house, make sure to either install root blockers or bury them at least 10-15 feet away from your foundation.


San Diego is the home to hundreds and thousands of palms. Although there are more than 2500 species of palm trees in the world, commonly seen in this city, include:

The aesthetic appeal and hardiness of these trees have made them famous for city landscaping and private properties. In addition, due to low rainfall, palm trees are moderate to high drought-tolerant and suitable for this region. In addition, due to low rainfall, palm trees are moderate to high drought-tolerant and suitable for this region.

These are usually low-maintenance trees with an annual need to remove their seed pods. However, depending on the palm species, these pods could be huge, and when open, they can make widespread the mess of thousands of seeds.

Although palm trees are easy to maintain, you may need to check on them as they are susceptible to certain diseases.

Ficus Tree


You might have seen Ficus as an indoor plant, but you might not know that it can grow up to 100 feet tall with a dense canopy that can spread almost as wide as it is tall.
The two common species of Ficus tree in San Diego are:

You can easily distinguish these Ficus trees with their gray trunks and dense canopies filled with glossy green leaves having a pointed tip.

Once the plant has established well, it needs little to moderate water. The plant spreads its roots deep and wide to absorb required water and other nutrients, and therefore, can cause damage to your property.

With evergreen leaves, the dense canopy of Ficus trees is ideal for shade purposes, and people grow these shade trees in San Diego. However, the tree’s root system spreads typically the same as its height.

Therefore, I recommend keeping them safely and preferably using root blockers to avoid unnecessary repairs. An excellent way to regulate this plant’s growth is annual trimmings.

Deodar Cedar


It is another beautiful evergreen tree that becomes heat and drought-tolerant once it has established well. The plant is adapted to the city’s climate and can even grow in mild seaside conditions. Sometimes, it is also known as the Christmas-tree tree.

At maturity, these trees can be as high as 80 feet, whereas the width is between 20 to 40 feet. With a pyramidal shape, their growth rate is medium. With a pyramidal shape, their growth rate is medium.

Deodar cedar trees grow the best in partial shade to full sun. Their leaves are needle-shaped, while the color is dark green or gray-green. These trees are low-maintenance and do not need much water.

Shoestring Acacia


Yet another evergreen tree perfect for semi-arid climates. Shoestring acacia needs low maintenance with little water requirement once it grows. These trees bloom clusters of yellow and cream flowers during the spring season. It is one of the best flowering trees in San Diego.

As this plant is known to litter a little, it is recommended not to plant them near water pools. Usually, their height is between 20 to 40 feet. These trees grow upright and can also adopt a weeping form. Their growth rate is fast, especially in full sun. With green, long, and thin leaves, these trees are perfect for landscaping on tight spaces and streets for providing filtered shade.

Western Redbud


This tree is native to the Western US and is one of the small trees for San Diego. You should have noticed them in foothills and other drier regions. It is a deciduous tree that blooms beautiful magenta flowers. These are relatively smaller in size that is drought-tolerant and compact evergreen trees. The tree has edible flowers in San Diego.

The maturity height of this tree is not more than 20 feet. It is a shrub-like rounded tree with multiple trunks. It needs full sun to grow healthy. The western redbud growth rate is moderate. It doesn’t require much water and is relatively easy to maintain. People prefer to grow this tree for landscaping smaller areas and as ornamental plants.

Lemon Bottlebrush


This plant is commonly known as a shrub; it is not picky about its soil type as long as it is well-drained. If the soil is impoverished, enriching it with compost at planting time is also helpful. It is a reasonably drought-tolerant plant to grow.

This tree doesn’t grow more than 25 feet tall. Beautiful red brush-shaped flowers grow on this plant with bright green leaves. These are some of the best flowers to grow in San Diego. Unlike the above plants, this tree needs moderate maintenance with low water requirements. Lemon bottlebrush grows at its best in medium to full sun.


This tree is characterized as a large tropical shrub capable of being pruned into a woody form. However, according to some people, it is a small tree. Angel’s a trumpet tree is named after its beautiful large (up to 12 inches) tubular flowers bloom in summer and fall. These flowers smell fantastic and open at night.

Unfortunately, you shouldn’t think of growing it in your backyard if you have kids or pets at home as the flowers are highly toxic in case ingested.

Angel’s trumpet trees are not taller than 15 feet at maturity. The shape of the tree is like a vase with medium-sized green leaves. These trees have medium water requirements and overall low maintenance. If you are looking for evergreen trees under 15 feet tall, this is a good choice.

Sweet Shade Tree


Although these are not San Diego native trees, you can grow them here quite well. They grow up to 40 feet tall. This plant blooms beautiful pale yellow to deep yellow sweet-smelling flowers during spring and early summer. The tree has a light gray bark with green leaves present in clusters at the end of the tree’s branches.

The growth rate of this plant is slow and grows the best in full sun to light shade. Its water requirement is low and needs moderate maintenance. The tree is tall and slender in shape.

Mexican Flannelbush


The scientific name of this plant is Fremontodendron mexicanum. It is a rare shrub from the family of mallow. It is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 20 feet tall. The tree has velvety gray-green leaves. It is quite an open plant with leaves that sparsely cover its branches.
This plant is not a very good San Diego tree choice as its leaves can be very irritating to the eyes. However, it grows best in full sun and doesn’t require extra water.

The Last Words

With varied topography and the climate difference within the region, permaculture San Diego is active and growing. However, choosing the most suitable species for your backyard or available space is recommended only after carefully evaluating your space, particular needs, requirements, and purpose.