25 Years, 25 Great Plants: Part I Deciduous Trees

June 5, 2020

This year, Devil Mountain is elated to celebrate 25 years of business! To highlight the past 25 wonderful years, we have come together and built a list of 25 of the most impactful and all-star landscape plants, including trees, shrubs, perennials and more. All the varieties discussed are all grown at our Clements growing ground in the Central Valley. In this four-part blog series, we will be taking a closer look at these choice cultivars – starting with deciduous trees.

This carefully curated list of trees contains varieties that will serve almost any landscape need, stay tuned in for the next part of the series – evergreen trees.


Cercis canadensis var. mexicana – Mexican Redbud

Mexican Redbud is often grown as a small tree but may also be found kept in bush form. As the common name indicates, this species has specially adapted to the conditions found in deserts of the American Southwest and Mexico; once established it is very heat and drought tolerant although it will require some supplemental watering during extreme temperatures. Recognized by its unique foliage, each leaf is vividly green with wavy, undulate margins. Autumn foliage is brilliant gold and glossy, shimmering in the breeze. This tree works well in small spaces, adding an interesting accent and seasonal color shift. We carry Mexican Redbuds in 1 gallon, 5 gallon, 15 gallon, and 24 gallon containers.


Lagerstroemia x ‘Tuscarora’ – Tuscarora Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtles always make a dramatic statement, but Tuscarora’s bright coral blooms are unique and quite striking against a backdrop of glossy deep green foliage. Originally introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum, Tuscarora Crape Myrtle is held in high regards due to its hardiness and mildew resistance. Mature trees can withstand hot summer temperatures with low water but will need some regular irrigation to first establish itself. It may be kept as a shrub or trained as a small tree, spot this in the garden where the summer profusion of blooms and year-round attractive bark may be admired. We carry Tuscarora Crape Myrtle in both standard and bush forms, in 1 gallon, 5 gallon, 10 / 15 gallon, 24” boxes, and 36” boxes.


Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Black Tulip’ – Black Tulip Magnolia

This is likely the most dramatic tulip magnolia available on the market, from late winter to early spring before foliage emerges and Black Tulip Magnolia trees become dappled with large and exquisite, goblet shaped blooms. Each flower emerges in shades of burgundy wine and magenta and are up to 6 inches long. The obovate leaves of Black Tulip Magnolias are deep green and up to 8 inches in length. Maturing to 15 – 20 feet in height, these make a fabulous specimen tree that provides a vital and dramatic splash of color to the landscape. Tolerant of a wide spectrum of conditions, this tree accepts full sun to part shade, as long as surrounding soil is consistently moist and organically rich. We carry Black Tulip Magnolias in 5 gallon, 7 gallon, 10 / 15 gallon, and 20 / 25 gallon containers.


Nyssa sylvatica ‘Wildfire’

Native to the Eastern U.S., Wildfire Black Gum Tree is slow growing up to 50 feet tall, and 40 feet wide.  Happy to grow in any low or particularly damp spots in the landscape, this family was named ‘Nyssa’ after a mythological water nymph to help describe its preference for high moisture soil. In its adolescence the form of Wildfire Black Gum appears pyramidal, spreading and becoming irregular with age. Attractive horizontal branches are lined with glossy, dark green leaves that help to cast dense shade. Foliage emerges fiery red in spring – hence the cultivar name of ‘Wildfire’ – and shifts through shades of dark green in summer, eventually maturing to reddish burgundy in the fall before dropping. If a male tree is nearby, small dark blue fruits will be produced that are edible but not quite palatable as they are very sour. Presence of Wildfire Black Gum attracts pollinators, birds, and other local wildlife. We carry Wildfire Black Gum in 15 gallon containers, and 24 / 25 gallon boxes.


Pistacia chinensis ‘Keith Davey’

Choice for fall foliage display, Keith Davey Chinese Pistache presents some of the most dramatic fall colors a landscape tree can offer. Foot-long, compound leaves are divided into 10 – 12 lancolate leaflets in emerald green, transforming to luminous orange and red during fall. Slowly growing to reach 25 – 35 feet high and nearly as wide, this non-fruiting male cultivar is a favorite for shade, street plantings, or as a landscape specimen for a patio or garden. We carry Keith Davey Chinese Pistache in 15 gallon containers, as well as 24”, 36”, and 48” boxes.


Quercus robur var. fastigiata x bicolor ‘Kindred Spirit’

‘Kindred Spirit’ is a hybrid of English Oak and Swamp White Oak, with a remarkably tight and upright columnar form. First introduced and patented in 2005, this Oak was like none other on the market because of its unique growth habit. Foliage is dark green with silvery undersides, transforming through shades of yellow and rusty ochre in fall. Maturing to 30 feet high and about 6 feet wide, this cultivar is highly resistant to powdery mildew. Planted in mass, Kindred Spirit Oaks make a handsome privacy hedge or street tree and adds an attractive and unique element to any landscape when used as a specimen. We carry Kindred Spirit Oaks in 15 gallon and 24 / 25 gallon containers.


Styrax japonicus ‘Snow Cone’ – Snow Cone Japanese Snowbell

Native to Eastern Asia, Snow Cone Japanese Snowbell is a compact and dramatically flowering tree known for its fragrant, drooping blooms. Enchanting white flowers dangle from short side branches, while flowers droop down, foliage angles upward creating tiers of white and deep green. Flowers give way to greenish-gray olive shaped drupes that will often persist into late fall. Slowly maturing to a dense pyramid about 30 feet in height and up to 25 feet wide, although in its youth Snow Cone Japanese Snowbell is often narrower than it is high. We carry Snow Cone Japanese Snowbell in 15 gallon, 24 / 25 gallon, and 36 gallon containers.


Tilia tomentosa ‘Sterling’ – Sterling Silver Linden

Sterling Silver Linden is a highly ornamental shade tree with a broad, oval crown of foliage and fragrant flowers in early summer. Each leaf is glossy green with soft silvery undersides, turning and fluttering in the slightest breeze. New leaves emerge silvery-grey and mature through shades of light green and creamy yellow before dropping in fall. From late spring into early summer a profusion of pale yellow flowers attract hordes of pollinators – when in full bloom bees often visit in such abundance that buzzing may be heard from a distance. Sterling Silver Linden is praised for its higher heat tolerance compared to other species; this tree is also a wonderful drought tolerant variety. We carry Sterling Silver Linden in 15 gallon, 24 gallon, 36 gallon, and 48 gallon containers.


Sources Used:

Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium Staff. Hortus. New York: Macmillan General Reference, 1976.

Norris Brenzel, Kathleen, ed. The New Sunset Western Garden Book. 9th ed. New York: Time Home Entertainment, 2012.

San Marcos Growers. https://smgrowers.com/.