Information About Geiger Tree

Information About Geiger Tree

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Geiger Tree Info: How To Grow Geiger Trees

By Ilana Goldowitz Jimenez, Plant Scientist & Writer

If you live in a coastal region with salty soil, or if your property is exposed to direct salt spray, it can be difficult to find interesting landscape plants that will thrive. The Geiger tree (Cordia sebestena) might be the tree for you. Learn more in this article.

Small Flowering Trees

Small flowering trees bring exciting color to any South Florida yard, large or small. Their smaller height - less than 20 feet tall - means you get to see more of the blooms since they're closer to eye-level.

Low growing trees can be used as a full-fledged tree in a small yard, or as more of an accent in larger one.

Smaller Florida flowering trees can include shrubs trained to a single-trunk (called "standards") or those with multiple trunks.

Plan for seasonal color. or bare branches

A few trees are deciduous, like the gorgeous Tuscarora pink crape myrtle pictured above.

But trees that lose their leaves for the winter months will still be surrounded by greenery and other color, since our growing season is basically all year long. And winters here are short-lived.

The majority of our small flowering trees will blossom on and off all year, though we'll see more blooms in warmer months.

Some, like desert cassia and parkinsonia, bloom in spring and fall.

Others have a heavy spring flowering with some blooms then throughout the year.

Ways to use a low height flowering tree in your landscape

  • as a focal point near the entry
  • at the corner of the house as a large accent
  • to anchor a garden bed that needs some height
  • several grouped close together as a small "stand" of trees on one side of the yard to balance a larger landscape element (such as a large shade tree) on the opposite side
  • as an "understory" planting around or between tall pines or palms to soften the vertical effect of the tall trunks. Pines and palms let plenty of sunlight shine through and the flowering trees will draw the eye down toward the house and yard.
  • lining a long driveway
  • flanking a walkway to create a natural arbor and create a space for a focal point (your front door?) seen under their canopies

Generally, anything that flowers shouldn't be used to "hide" something. Colorful blossoms draw attention to the spot you're trying to camouflage. An all green plant is a better choice.

Many flowering trees of Florida have more benefits than just beautiful color. some attract butterflies and make a perfect specimen to anchor a butterfly garden.

Others like Little Gem magnolia have sweet-scented flowers - a single blossom can send its perfume throughout your home.

What color flowers should I choose?

Use a color to complement or contrast with other colors in your landscaping. Avoid blooms the same color as your home's paint color so they don't "wash out" against a similar backdrop.

Cordia Species, Texas Wild Olive, White Geiger, Anacahuita


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

This Plant is Least Concern (LC)

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

San Antonio, Texas(3 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

On Apr 25, 2020, UnderPalms from Palm Springs, CA wrote:

A friend found one of these growing and thriving in a weed-covered vacant lot here in Palm Springs. It clearly hadn't been pruned, shaped or irrigated but it was covered with flowers. We get about 4-6 inches of rain for the entire *year.* My hunch is that people who have problems with this plant are probably overwatering it (Yes, you can kill a plant with kindness). It's native to the southwest US and northern Mexico.

On Mar 21, 2015, msfeatherflower from Sugar Land, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Just planted this tree last year and the Houston, Texas area. Watered it well the first several months. Not on the irrigation system in the yard but we have had a lot of rain lately. Now the leaves are turning yellow and brown and are falling off. Is this normal? Please refer to the uploaded photo of the problems we are having with this tree. Any suggestions on what to do?

On Apr 28, 2014, sharonkh1 from Mission Bend, TX wrote:

We bought a wild Texas Olive Tree 2 years ago and planted in our front yard, semi-sun and sprinkler system that waters moderately. The tree has not grown any, and has tiny leaves and no blossoms. I planted a similar tree at my sister's home in Katy and it has grown "thru the roof". what gives with my plant? I love the blossom and have a wonderful yard with many plants that are thriving. I just can't get this one to do anything.

On May 14, 2013, SIMPLY_SUZY from Little Rock, AR wrote:

I love this tree. It is so regal when it is in full flower. I just wish I could grow one . I got 2 cuttings today and placed them in water. I just need advise to see if this is correct to help it grow.

On Oct 19, 2011, sherizona from Peoria, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

GREAT tree for hot, dry areas. I have a four year old texas olive that was a foot tall when planted. Today it is over 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Do not overwater this tree. It prefers conditions on the drier side.

There was a comment about wind breakage - from Florida, I suspect it was due to overly moist conditions. I live on the edge of a canyon where monsoon winds commonly reach 50+ MPH. This tree is not staked, bushy and has never budged or lost branches.

Please note, this tree is a huge litter maker. During colder snaps the leaves all dry up and shed but are quickly replaced by new growth. Flower drop is high and the olives get everywhere. Just keep it away from your pool and you'll have a beautiful, flowering, ornamental tree most of . read more your friends will gawk over!

On Jul 5, 2010, nogottarancho from Maricopa, AZ wrote:

planted one at previous house very happy with plant overall.

did not seem to take much care.

this was in the Hidden Valley part of Pinal county, AZ

There are two in Chappell Hill, Tx 77426 that have been growing here for many years. Neither have fruit. Where can I get another one that is non fruiting?

On Oct 10, 2009, LaserGecko from Las Vegas, NV wrote:

Beautiful, blooming tree. It's just covered in tough white flowers when it's in bloom for most of the spring and summer. It also blooms occasionally during the fall and winter, but smaller amounts. Pretty rare out here, so it really stands out amongst the seemingly endless yards of lantana, Mexican Birds of Paradise, and all. It's the centerpiece tree in our yard and gets lots of compliments. I'm thinking about putting up an information sign in front of it for the curious folks!

It does very well with very little care required in Las Vegas, Nevada. A great Xeriscape plant that's on the SNWA's list for the turf conversion.

On Jul 28, 2007, jtmiller from Pasadena, TX wrote:

I purchased this plant down in Rockport Texas while visiting parents. So many people have them on the coast and I liked the way it grew and how it seems to always be covered in blooms. Brought it home and planted it here in the Houston area and it has taken off like crazy! It's always covered in flowers and people ask what it is, which is what I like. However I'm curious about the fruit it produces. I've heard it's poisonous and others say it's not. I have not been brave enough to find out through taste. If anyone knows for sure, would love to know!

On Jul 31, 2005, Calalily from Deep South Coastal, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant does great here. It is drought and salt tolerant and none of our wild olives lost so much as a branch in hurricane Emily. It blooms non stop except for when we had the Christmas freeze in 2004, then it took a month or so to start flowering again.
The fruit is used in a Mexican cough remedy. Sometimes animals and birds eat the fruit and it makes them dizzy.
There are several large specimen trees in Cameron county.

On Jun 29, 2005, joebloom from San Antonio, TX wrote:

I planted a small Anacahuita (Texas / Mexican Olive) in San Antonio, TX earlier this spring about 6". Currently it stands at about a foot. Amazingly, it is already starting to bud - I didn't expect it to bloom until it reached greater height. I have posted a picture of blooms from a 15' Anacahuita at my mothher-in-laws. I have seen this tree at 25' + tall in south Texas. It carpets the ground underneath in blooms.

On Apr 18, 2005, NinaP from Victoria, TX wrote:

This tree is an amazing hummingbird attractor! I'm currently watching six (yes, six!) ruby-throated hummingbirds feast on the bountiful blooms. And they have been at it all week long.

I love this tree for its constant blooms and beautiful bark. It is messy, though. My three-year-old is always out collecting spent blooms.

On Mar 31, 2005, hawkarica from Odessa, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

It begins to grow and even flower, but as soon as the wind blows a little, the entire head or at least various branches break off. I lose a year's growth with a puff of wind. It is more soft and breakable than hard and brittle. Prehaps it is too wet for it in Florida. Anyway, its headed for the compost pile.

On Oct 19, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.
This small tree (can be grown as a large shrub) is native to the southern most tip of the Rio Grande region of Texas. It can be grown as far north as San Antonio, but may freeze to the ground during an exceptionally cold winter in this area. Tip dieback occurs in the mid twenties and it is hardy to 18 degrees. Grow in full sun for best results, but it can also be grown in areas with reflected heat. It is heat tolerant, adaptable to many soil types with good drainage and has a low water requirement. To encourage root development and growth, water frequently when young.

It bears 1.5 to 2.5 inch in diameter white, rufflely flowers with yellow throats from early spring through summer, but if it receives enough water it will bloom during all seasons. The . read more obovate leaves are up to 5 inches long and are gray-green on top with lighter coloring underneath. The bark has interesting patterns.

It produces a white to pale yellow-green drupe which turns to a yellowish brown. It is fleshy, roundish and about 1 inch long usually with one large seed , but it can have up to 4 seeds. When fresh, the fruit can cause dizziness, but it is not toxic in jellies.

On Oct 22, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

A native of Texas and Mexico this flowering tree is rarely out of bloom. It has a high drought tolerance and a medium salt tolerance

Watch the video: Orange Geiger Cordia sebestena for sale homestead, florida