List of Tropical Trees With Autumn Color Leaves

Tropical Trees With Autumn Color Leaves
Who isn’t interested in deciduous trees? This type of tree is very unique in that it always changes the color of the leaves in the fall. But, for those of you who live in tropical regions, it is very rare to find a tree like this. Although some of the deciduous trees can grow in tropical climates, maintenance is difficult and the area for planting must be in higher elevations where there are cooler temperatures.

If you are wondering what deciduous trees can grow in tropical climates, I will give examples of Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum), Japanese Persimmon (Diospyros kaki), Common Pear (Pyrus communis), and European Crabapple (Malus sylvestris) which basically, these trees can only be grown in USDA hardiness zones 5-8. The trees I mentioned are cultivated in Indonesia which has a tropical climate, but only cultivators in the highlands can grow these trees, such as in Bogor (West Java), Dieng (Central Java), and Malang (East Java).

Well, if you are looking for a tropical tree with brightly colored leaves such as a deciduous tree, you are at the right article. Here, Names of Trees will share info regarding a list of tropical trees with autumn-colored leaves, which certainly do not require difficult maintenance like real deciduous trees.

There are quite many tropical trees or shrubs that have leaves tinged like deciduous trees in winter, some of which are even around us and cultivated by your town’s nursery. However, most of you may not know the name of the tree. Right?

Okay, no need for ado, just take a look at the list below:



1. Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum chinense)

Chinese Fringe Flower Tree

The Chinese Fringe Flower or Strap Flower (Loropetalum chinense) is a popular ornamental tree. The tree is widely cultivated in Asia and is often planted as an ornamental tree in gardens, yards, or public places such as yards of houses of worship and yards of supermarkets.

There are many varieties of Loropetalum chinense, some of which have bright green, pale green, reddish-green, bright red, and dark red leaves. In China, this tree is known as jìmù, and all parts of the tree are used in traditional Chinese medicine.


2. Caribbean Copper (Euphorbia cotinifolia)

Caribbean Copper Tree

Caribbean Copper or Smoketree Spurge (Euphorbia cotinifolia) is a shrub or small tree with broad, red leaves native to Mexico and South America. This tree can grow to 3-4 meters tall, and in deep, well-nourished soil conditions it can reach 8-9 meters.

Caribbean Copper is well known in Central America, where its poisonous sap has been used in both traditional medicines as both an emetic and a cathartic agent. However, this tree is more widely cultivated and grown as an ornamental plant than for medicine.


3. Sea Hibiscus Red-leaved (Hibiscus tiliaceus ‘Rubra’)

Sea Hibiscus Red-leaved Tree
Source: Nelson

Sea Hibiscus Red-leaved (Hibiscus tiliaceus ‘Rubra’) is a roadside, riverbank, embankment, and coastal shade tree in many parts of Southeast Asia. Although the crown is not too dense, this tree is preferred because the roots are not deep so that it does not damage the surrounding area.

Besides being planted in public and open areas, this tree is also suitable to decorate a garden or a living fence. Sea Hibiscus Red-leaved is very easy to cultivate, it can be propagated by cuttings, grafting, or grown from seed.


4. Rose Mallow Red-leaved (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Red Hot’)

Rose Mallow Red-leaved Tree

Rose Mallow Red-leaved (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Red Hot’) is a shrub native to East Asia and is widely grown as an ornamental plant in the tropics and subtropics. Rose Mallow Red-leaved produces large, red, odorless flowers.

This plant has many cultivars and hybrids with various colors of flowers and leaves. Rose Mallow flower has been designated as Malaysia’s national flower on July 28, 1960.


5. Red Shoots (Syzygium oleina)

Red Shoots Tree
Source: UNIQUE

Red Shoots or Pucuk Merah (Syzygium oleina) is a species of shrub that is widely cultivated in Indonesia and other tropical climates. This tree has bright red leaf buds that make it look like a deciduous tree, the red leaf color will slowly turn green over time.

Indonesians often prune this tree (pruning 2-3 times in 1 year) so that it will still have red leaves every season. This tree is also classified as tough, easy to care for, and withstands long drought. Because of its characteristics, Red Shoots are planted in almost all yards and complexes in big cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and Bali.


6. Golden Dewdrop (Duranta erecta ‘Sheenas Gold’)

Golden Dewdrop Tree

Golden Dewdrop (Duranta erecta ‘Sheenas Gold’) is a shrub that is commonly planted in the tropics as a living fence or garden complement. The tree is very tolerant of a wide variety of soils and withstands long drought. The cultivars that have bright yellow leaves are known as Golden Dewdrop and are most commonly cultivated.

This tree originated in Central America and is now spreading in all tropical places around the world. In some places, this tree becomes a weed or invasive species such as in Australia, China, South Africa, and some places in Oceania.


7. Rock Fig (Ficus ingens var. ingens)

Red-leaved Fig Tree

Rock Fig or Red-leaved Fig (Ficus ingens var. ingens) is a species of fig tree native to Africa and southern Arabia. Rock Fig grows in the form of a shrub or medium tree. It is often found growing wild on the slopes of rocky mountains and cliffs.

Rock Fig has a variable habit depending on the climate and local substrate, in the highlands it grows to form shrubs, and in the lower plains, it grows as an upright tree.

This tree is cultivated outside of its original habitat as a bonsai specimen and potted ornamental plant. It was chosen because it has a red color on the leaf buds and sometimes sheds the leaves.


8. Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)

Rubber Tree

Rubber Plant or Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica) is a species of fig tree native to South and Southeast Asia. The tree has naturalized in Sri Lanka, the West Indies, and Florida.

There are several cultivars of Rubber Plant that are cultivated as ornamental trees, five of them we have described in this article.

Rubber Plant is one of the most popular house plants in the world. The leaves are thick and shiny, making them very suitable as complementary plants in the yard or garden. It can be planted in pots or on the direct ground, the maximum height if planted in the open reaches 30 meters with a width greater than the height of the tree.


9. Lofty Fig (Ficus altissima ‘Yellow Gem’)

Lofty Fig Tree
Source: Gercens

Lofty Fig (Ficus altissima ‘Yellow Gem’) is a species of large evergreen hemiepiphyte tree native to Southeast Asia. Its coverage includes the South China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Andaman Islands, and the Malesia region.

One of its cultivars has green leaves with a dazzling bright yellow hue. The leaves are large and the tree is very suitable to be planted as an ornamental tree in a large garden. This tree is also sometimes planted in pots as an alternative to rubber plants.


10. Malay Gold Ficus (Ficus natalensis subsp. leprieurii ‘Malay Gold’)

Malay Gold Ficus Tree
Source: Gercens

Malay Gold Ficus (Ficus natalensis subsp. leprieurii ‘Malay Gold’) is a fig tree with small triangular leaves. This tree is sometimes referred to as the Ficus triangularis and is widely grown as an ornamental plant. When mature, the tree has a thin appearance with small, dangling leaves and is a beautiful green mixed with white or yellow.

Unfortunately, this is not a wild tree like the others. Malay Gold Ficus can only be obtained from ornamental plant sellers.


11. Weeping Fig Variegata (Ficus benjamina ‘Variegata’)

Weeping Fig Variegata Tree
Source: and Kim Starr

Weeping Fig Variegata (Ficus benjamina ‘Variegata’ syn Ficus benjamina ‘Starlight’) is the most popular species of a fig tree in the world. This tree has many cultivars which are used as ornamental plants and bonsai.

One of the cultivars which have striped leaves (a combination of green and white) is very suitable for planting in the yard as a complementary tree considering its unique, pendulous, and shiny foliage.


12. Dwarf Umbrella Variegata (Schefflera arboricola ‘Variegata’)

Dwarf Umbrella Variegata

Dwarf Umbrella Variegata (Schefflera arboricola ‘Variegata’) is a species of tree in the Araliaceae family, which is native to Taiwan as well as Hainan. This tree can grow to form a large shrub with a maximum height of 8 meters.

Various Dwarf Umbrella Tree cultivars have been selected for a variety of leaf colors and patterns, often variegated with cream to yellow edges or centers, and dwarf forms. Schefflera arboricola ‘Gold Capella’ cultivar has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.


13. Cotton Tree Variegata (Ceiba pentandra ‘Variegata’)

Cotton Tree Variegata

Cotton Tree Variegata or White Cotton Tree (Ceiba pentandra ‘Variegata’) is a tropical tree originating from northern South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. This tree is widely grown in South America and Asia, to be precise in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

One type has leaves that are striking green and white, making it look like a tree in autumn that will drop its leaves. This species is widely planted on the side of the road as a shade tree and public parks.


14. Cranberry Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella)

Cranberry Hibiscus Tree

Cranberry Hibiscus or African Rosemallow (Hibiscus acetosella) is a plant that is usually found growing wild in abandoned land or open areas, marshes, and forest clearing. This type is the most vigorous of all hibiscus flowers because it can tolerate cooler conditions, is hotter, and has larger flowers.

Cranberry Hibiscus grows best in slightly acidic soil conditions with a pH of between 6.1 and 6.5. The tree can only grow to 1-1.5 meters tall and is a great choice for small yards or pots.


15. Red Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus)

Red Amaranth Tree
Source: D. Richards

Red Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) is a type of spinach that can be consumed and contains many nutrients. It is one of three Amaranthus species cultivated as a grain source, the other two being Amaranthus hypochondriacus and Amaranthus caudatus.

Red Amaranth can grow to 2 meters tall and the leaves are different from most spinach, it has silvery red or dark red leaves. The tree can grow very much because the seeds that fall from the flowers will quickly grow beside the mother tree.

The right choice for trying to grow plants with red foliage, apart from this beautiful color it can also be consumed and can be allowed to grow as an ornamental plant.


16. Fire Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)

Fire Croton Tree

Fire Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) is a popular ornamental plant that is very suitable for planting in the yard because of its growth which forms shrubs with a wide variety of leaf colors, especially bright red and yellow.

Fire Croton originated from Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands, but has now spread throughout the tropics and subtropics around the world, and has become a symbol of tourism.


17. Jacob’s Coat (Acalypha wilkesiana)

Jacob's Coat Tree
Source: Cutler

Jacob’s Coat or Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana) is a type of plant that can grow up to 3 meters tall. It has a dense crown, with an erect trunk and many branches. The leaves are red with blackish stripes or streaks, the leaf blade may be flat or wrinkled, large and wide with teeth at the edges.

In South Florida and tropical America, this plant is widely grown in the yard because it provides color all year round.


18. Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides)

Coleus Tree

Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides) is a shrub with a maximum height of 1.5 meters native to Southeast Asia to Australia. The leaves are efficacious as hemorrhoids medicine, ulcer medicine, puerperal fever medicine, ear inflammation medicine, and irregular menstrual medicine.

The leaves are variegated, due to which ornamental species have been developed to an extreme in cultivated varieties, whose leaf color may include one or more colors of green, white, cream, yellow, pink, red, maroon, and dark purple.


19. Little Ruby (Alternanthera dentata)

Little Ruby Tree

Little Ruby or Ruby Leaf Alternanthera (Alternanthera dentata) is a fast-growing ornamental plant in the spinach family. This plant is native to the West Indies and Brazil and has been cultivated as an ornamental plant, especially for garden borders because of its colorful foliage.

Little Ruby can grow to 60-80 cm tall with dense burgundy foliage. This plant grows best in well-drained soil and full sun, in a frost-free location.

20. Castor Bean (Ricinus communis ‘Carmencita’)

Castor Bean Tree

Castor Bean or Castor Oil Tree (Ricinus communis ‘Carmencita’) is a wild plant with a single, finger leaves 10-40 cm in diameter. This plant is easy to adapt to new environments, but it would be nice if planted in an optimal environment, with temperatures ranging from 25-30 °C and rainfall of 300-1200 mm per year. Castor Bean tolerates muddy and waterlogged soils, however, it requires full sun and a soil pH of 5.0-6.5 to thrive.

Several varieties are cultivated for industrial purposes, and one of them that has red leaves is often planted as an ornamental tree.

From a list of tropical trees with autumn-colored leaves above, which one do you think you would like most to plant and why?

If you have other recommendations, feel free to share with everyone, write down what trees you would like to recommend in the comments column.



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