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Suggestions for small-ish sidewalk tree?

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Need help from fellow gardeners. 

I'm from Florida and familiar with the majority of plants here in the area. I know NOT to plant a ficus or schleffera anywhere near my house; I know which plants can handle intense sun, which are drought resistant, etc. What I don't know is which trees grow to full height here vs. which are stunted by the higher altitudes. Also, there are a few variations of species, as well as different names given to plants, that have me confused.

I want to plant several small trees adjascent to my sidewalk to provide some shade, as well as break up the plain wall. My wall is 10' high. 

I want a fast-growing, small tree that will max out at 15-18' and has a non-invasive root system. 

My gardener and housekeeper are both pleading for me to plant "nisperos", aka loquats, but I know in Florida the loquats can grow to 30' tall and almost that wide! Never mind the fruit mess. I am hoping for something a bit more diminutive. I was thinking of a pomegranate, and pruning it as a standard. Or a grapefruit...except in Florida I have seen 25' grapefruits. 

Would citrus work? My neighbors have them but they keep them pruned really short and round, like a topiary, about 6' tall. 

The other trees I was thinking of are either a bottlebrush (red) or podacarpus. I had both in my yard in Florida, but my housekeeper tells me that the bottlebrush here grow only to about 8', unlike the Florida ones that grow to about 20', and the podacarpus here are a slightly different variation so I have no idea....

Even when I ask at the garden center/vivero they don't seem to have accurate answers. For example, I was told Foxtail palns don't grow well here and they are really slow. Well, tell that to the ones I planted in my garden, they are greener and growing much faster than my Florida palms did! Likewise, a jaboticaba they told me would take years to attain 3 meters--passed that height already in just one year!

Anyway, suggestions are welcome.



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I think any tree you plant next to your wall and the sidewalk will eventually develop a root system which will start to crack your wall and the sidewalk. I would plant palms which have a root ball, rather than an extending root system. There are so many different types of palms, you have a large choice- go to a few nurseries until you find one that has a large selection and whose employess or owners are knowledgable.

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They have btter orange trees all over in Guadalajara and that seems to work. How about buganvillia to break the wall.. no shde though. Hopefully you have no electrical line or phone line on your side otherwise that is something to think about. 

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How about a daturra? Angel trumpet or florafundia. Forget citrus. A tiny wasp from China is ruining citrus world-wide. Millions of trees in Mexico, Florida, and Texas are being ripped up. All those cuttings I smuggled from my orchard in Texas, to turn into an orchard, giving away BUSHELS of beautiful organic fruit every Christmas have dwindled and died. Heartbrreaing!

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I guess what most matters is, whether or not you want fruit or flowers.   We have a bottle brush tree that has been in our yard for many years and it is basically just a tall shrub or small tree.  Most trees can be simply trimmed to stay small, but the roots is where the damage could, in the long haul, stem from..... Here is a guide to give you a few more ideas for smallish trees from San Diego area.  Whatever grows there, mostly should be able to grow here.


I liked the Crape myrtle here called arból de Júpiter,  and the western redbud which I think is a arból de Judas.

Another option could be the Euphorbia cotinifolia which is native to Mexico, it has small red leaves and does not get very big at all.  They have some planted up and down Madero St. in Chapala.  Or for fragrant plants, try the tea olive, they grow much faster down here than back home, but still do not get very big.

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9 hours ago, camillenparadise said:

Beautiful, but can reach 25 meters.

There are dwarf ones-look at the ones by the Ajijic clinic. They have been there for many years and are only about 2 meters high. 

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Small trees I noticed around Ajijic :

Vitex - for blue flowers

Calliandra haematocephala (different than a bottle brush bush)

Caesalpinia pulcherrima - smaller than Delonix Regia (Tabachin) but flowers are similar .  About 12' in maturity (as  Cedros said)

Plumeria - yellow and pink

Poinsettias can grow into small trees and look very attractive..



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