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Gumbo Limbo



This large semi-evergreen tree, with an open, irregular to rounded crown, may reach 50 feet in height with an equal or wider spread but is usually seen smaller (25 to 40 feet tall and 25 to 30 feet wide) in landscape plantings. The trunk and branches are thick and are covered with resinous, smooth, peeling coppery bark with an attractive, shiny, freshly varnished appearance. The tree typically develops from two to four large-diameter limbs originating close to the ground. A native of south Florida and the
tropical offshore islands, the soft, light weight and easily carved wood of gumbo limbo was used for making carousel horses before the advent of molded plastics.


Light requirement: full sun to partial shade Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic; alkaline; well-drained Drought tolerance: high Aerosol salt tolerance: high


Although growth rate is rapid and wood is soft, gumbo limbo trees have great resistance to strong winds, drought, and neglect. Drought avoidance is accomplished by leaf drop, and growth is often best in drier locations not receiving irrigation. The inconspicuous flowers are followed by red, three-sided berries that split into three sections at maturity to reveal a 1/4-inch triangular red seed. The fruit takes a year to ripen and matures in early summer.
Gumbo limbo grows in full sun or partial shade on a wide range of well drained soils. Tolerant of moderate amounts of salt spray, gumbo limbo adapts to alkaline or poor, deep white sands but will also grow quickly on more fertile soil. Once established, gumbo limbo requires little attention other than occasional pruning to remove lower branches that may droop close to the ground.
Gumbo limbo is ideal for a freestanding specimen on a large property or as a street tree, but does need room to grow. Lower branches will grow close to the ground, so street trees will have to be trained early for proper development. Locate the lowest permanent branch about 15 feet off the ground to provide enough clearance for a street tree planting. Specimen trees are often grown with branches beginning much closer to the ground, providing a beautiful specimen plant with wonderful bark.

Florida’s Premiere Tree Installer, The Tree Planters located in Lakeland, is your #1 source for large, rare, and exotic palms and trees. At The Tree Planters, we have installed and transplanted thousands of large trees of every variety all over Florida for over 50 years. Every tree we sell, we plant. Every tree we plant, we guarantee for One Full Year.

Delivery is included in the price of your tree. We proudly serve the entire state of Florida. (All other delivery fees will be quoted at time of purchase), and a One-Year Guarantee on every tree planted by The Tree Planters.