Which are the best ornamental trees in Kenya?

Are you searching for the best trees to plant at home in Kenya?

In this post, get a list of the best indigenous and exotic compound trees in Kenya and Uganda. They include You can plant thise as shade trees, beautification in Kenya. You can grow them in the compound, driveway or parks.

If you are in the landscaping business selling trees and a flowers nursery, the article suggests the most profitable decorative trees you should stock its seedlings and seeds to earn the highest profits.

What are the benefits of growing ornamental trees in your home

Jacaranda & other ornamental tress on a park

Apart from raising your property value, planting ornamental trees can give your home that classy expensive look. Besides, the compound trees will give you additional benefits such as shade and fruits.  Other benefits include.

  • They add appealing height and structure site
  • You can enjoy their welcoming shade to keep your home from overheating from hot sun
  • They can screen you from neighboring buildings giving you privacy.
  • Tree cover offers a natural habitat for bird, insects and other wildlife.
  • They add beauty to your home garden, avenue, home, or park.

How do you choose the best ornamental tree for your home

There are many trees to plant at your home. To choose the best, there are various factors you must consider the choose the best. They include the soil type in your area, tree rooting behavior and the agroclimatic zone of your area. Additional factors are;

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  • Evergreen trees make better ornamental trees across all the seasons compared to the deciduous trees.
  •  For a flowering tree, consider their color can easily blend with your house exteriors without clashing.
  • Neighbors do not plant trees that easily extend their branches and roots obscuring light or damaging your neighbors’ walls and floors.

Which are the best ornamental trees in Kenya

Are you wondering which are the best ornamental trees in Kenya? In this post, we give you a list of the best Indigenous and exotic beautification trees grown in Kenya. They are

Thika Palm Tree

Common name: Fern tree
Other common names: Japanese fern tree, Pihimbiya, Thika palm

The Thika Palm is valued for its beauty, shade, and wood, which is used for making small implements

The Thika Palm, also known as the Fern Tree (Filicium decipiens), is a slow-growing evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka, southern India, and parts of East Africa. It is commonly cultivated in widely planted as an ornamental tree in Nairobi and surrounding towns. It has a striking, fern-like foliage and compact size.

The Thika Palm typically reaches heights of 6 to 10 meters (20 to 33 feet) with a rounded, dense crown. Its leaves are large, glossy green, and compound, with elongated oval leaflets arranged in pairs along the length. The flowers are small, white with a pink tint, and held in loose clusters that are hardly visible.

It is propagated from seedlings or wildings, with ripe black fruit collected in December-January around Nairobi. The clean seeds should be sown in fertile soil without drying and will germinate in 2-3 weeks.

Terminalia Mantaly/Umbrella Tree

Terminalia mantaly umbrella trees for sale

The umbrella tree is the top rated shade tree in Africa by the landscapers. The Terminalia mantaly is also known as the Madagascar almond tree. It is a deciduous or evergreen tree with conspicuously layered branches. It is native to Madagascar but has become an invasive species in most parts of Africa,

It has large, umbrella-shaped branched with close leaves that provide plenty of shade. Its a common tree planted in compound, along streets, car parks and hotels as an ornamental tree of choice.

Royal Poinciana

Royal Poinciana flowers

Royal Poinciana is one the most popular exotic ornamental tree in Kenya. This tree belongs to the pea family and it’s a native of Madagascar. It is also known as the Flamboyant Tree or the Peacock Tree.

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Its most appealing decorative features are its large red scarlet to orange flowers. It’s a fast-growing tree that can attain a height of 6-12 meters. Its large canopy provides lots of shade.

Since the Royal Poinciana has a shallow root system, its prone to being uprooted in strong weeds. The other limitation of using Peacock tree for decorative purposes is littering when its branches and seed pods fall to the ground.

African Tulip Tree

African Tulip Tree blooming reddish-orange campanulate flowers

Also known as the Mountain tree, Nandi flame, Nile flame, squirt tree, tulip tree, Uganda flame, Flame Tree of Thika or the Pichkari. It can grow to 7-25 meters tall depending on care and climate.

The Nandi Flame is a common decorative tree in Kenya. It blossoms twice a year. Its flowers have showy reddish-orange or crimson (rarely yellow), campanulate flowers. It one of the recommended shade trees for parks, yards and drive ways.

On the downside, the Nandi Flame has shallow roots. In addition, its trees has a high tendency to break off easily in a storm.

Nile Tulip

The Nile Tulip or the Markhamia lutea tree is commonly known as siala, Lusiola or Muu in Kenya’s local languages. The Nile tulip is closedly related to the African Tulip. The tree is an indigenous species in the East African region. Its your best choice if you are looking for a fast growing, drought resistant and evergreen shade tree for your home in Kenya.

You can easily find its seedlings on any urban roadside nursery businesses. It is evergreen and blooms very conspicuous yellow flowers. Its ponds are brown and can grow long up to 1 meter.

Palm Trees

Coconut Palm Trees Isolated Tree White Background Collection

There are various palm tree and coconut varieties that used in Kenya for landscaping.  You an use them as both outdoor and indoor ornamental trees. Palm trees are preferred for their tropical feeling they add to your landscape.

Examples of landscaping Palm trees in Kenya include.

  • Chinese fan Palm; Also known as the Coco Plumosa Palm. its palm leaves droop down like in a fountain. They are highly adaptive to various Kenyan Climates. Besides, they can endure droughts and hot weather. Best for gardens.  
  • Golden Cane Palm; Commonly known as the butterfly palm. This type has yellow stems with green leaflets. Best for indoors.
  • Other palm trees in Kenya are the; Fish Tail Golden palm, Red Bottle palm, Pygmy date palm, Cycas Revoluta palm, Mexican fan palm, Royal Palm

Palm tree branches and leaves have a high demand on Palm Sunday processions during the Easter holidays.  Are also used in basketry and water conservation. Some species produce the palm wine. It does well in riparian soil and climate zones.


Jacaranda is one of the best beautification trees in Kenya.  In landscaping, its preferred for its blue-purple flowers. Under good conditions it can grow tall up to 15 meters giving you good shade in hot seasons.

 Its common in tropical areas with warm temperatures. The Jacaranda tree grows best in areas with well drained fertile soil. However, remember Jacaranda roots grow wide, spread extensively and deeply and can destroy walls.

Red Hot Poker Tree

Erythrina abyssinica - Red Hot Poker tree among other ornamental plants for dry  areas such as sisal and cactus
A picture of a Red Hot Poker Coral Tree in a well manicured landscape

The Erythrina abyssinica – Red Hot Poker tree is another great ornamental tree in Kenya if your home is in dry areas. It grows to about 10 m high. Its bark is yellowish brown thick and corky and can sometimes have woody spines with deep ridges.

Its leaves are compound with three rounded leaflets. The underside has brownish hairs. During blooming, the flowers are orange red in erect heads.

The other Red Hot poker tree benefits include; Its wood can be carved to make log beehives, mortars, drums and stools. The seeds are used in making necklaces. The attractive flowers can attract birds and insects to your farm.

Acacia Trees

 Acacia Xanthophloea

The Acacia species is one of the best beuatifaction trees that grow in dry areas in kenya. It is a common sight in most savannah grasslands. The trees has a wide canopy that provides ample shade and is known for its resilience in harsh environments.

One of the best examples is the Naivasha Acacia Tree or the Acacia Xanthophloea. It is a fast growing, drought tolerant shade tree. It has a greenish-yellow bark with bright coloured leaves. Its a tall acacia species that can grow into 25 metres tall.Its one of the best trees to plant in your compound or home, Besides, It’s the best ornamental tree to grow along your driveway and roads.

False Ashoka

The False Ashoka tree, also known as the Mast Tree is best tree shade tree along drive ways. The trees will give your property a formal look that is is artistic and charming. It comes from their columnar growth with a weeping habit. The False Ashok Tree can stay full to the ground with greenery from top to bottom.

The tree is wind-tolerant, grows tall and narrow. It is often used in group planting for windbreaking, privacy hedges and even to cut down on noise pollution.

The false Ashok Tree true beauty is most effective when planted in rows.

African olive tree

mũtamaiyũ-Olea africana (African olive or wild olive tree)

The African olive tree or the mũtamaiyũ is a native tree in the tropical Africa. It is also known as Ole African or Wild Olive. a popular ornamental tree species for providing shade in urban and suburban areas. It has a dense canopy and produces small, edible fruits.

The wild Olive tree grows in ecological zones with altitudes ranging from 1,600-2,200 metres above sea level. The tree matures slowly but on the pisitice side it has many commercial uses. African olive trunks are used to make construction beams, carvings, fencing posts, wood fuel, medicine and fodder.

Fruit trees

Mango tree infront of a house and palm tree

Many homeowners in Kenya plant fruit trees as ornamental trees. The common choices are mango, avocado and Guava trees. Others are Loquats and banana plants. They are planted for beauty, ample shade and fruits.

In many homesteads across the rural Kenya, you will find a large fruit tree. The trees which grow a wide and dense foliage is a hub of the community. On its shade, people can gather under it to communicate, to celebrate and to collaborate.

Cypress & Pine Trees

Pine Trees in Kenya

Pine trees are popular for their fast growth, their ability to grow in a variety of soils, and their use in the timber industry. They are also used for ornamental purposes, such as in landscaping, due to their attractive evergreen foliage and their ability to create shade.

The Cypress trees belong to the coniferous trees species. These exotic beautification trees are native to the temperate regions such as Himalayas and Canada. Today they widely grown in Kenya. They are loved for their beauty appeal and shade.

Their coniferous tree species such as cedar and the pine are rated as the most popular exotic trees in Kenya Below are additional ones you can grow in your compound;

  • Fir (Balsam, Fraser, Canaan, Douglas, Grand, Noble or Concolor)
  • Pine (White, Scotch  or Virginia )
  • Spruce (Blue, Norway or White)
  • Cypress (Leyland or Arizona)
  • Cedar (red)

Bonsai Trees

Bonsai trees are Potted mini trees like the Juniper Bonsai Trees you can market as Christmas or other gift baskets.  A bonsai’s tree price ranges from about $100 to several thousand dollars, up to one million. There are also miniature bonsai that can be had for $20-30. You can sell these ones anywhere in the world by shipping and selling them online more easily.

Read Next : Best Fencing Plants In Kenya

Other ornamental trees

Sausage tree fruit, (Kigelia africana)

The following were also noted as among the best trees planted for beautification across parts of Kenya. They include sausage tree, bottle brush and the

  1. Sausage tree – The Sausage tree (Muratina) is a large, deciduous tree that is native to tropical Africa. It has a unique appearance with large, sausage-shaped fruits that hang from the branches, and provides ample shade.
  2. Bottlebrush tree – The Bottlebrush tree is an exotic tree species that is native to Australia, but has become a popular ornamental tree in Kenya due to its bright red flowers that resemble a bottlebrush and its ability to provide shade.
  3. Yellowwood tree – The Yellowwood tree is a large, slow-growing tree with a spreading canopy that provides ample shade. It is native to southern Africa and is popular for its beautiful yellow wood.
  4. Grevillea Robusta- (Mukima)  Was originally grown as a shade tree for tea and coffee and more recently as an agroforestry tree for small farms.  With its fern-like pinnate leaves and prominent attractive orange flowering display, it is also popular as an ornamental tree in many households.

Which are the most profitable Landscaping trees in Kenya?

Are you a landscaper who is looking for best ornamental trees to grow and sell in Kenya? In the list below we give you some decorative trees with highest demand. They are used for decorative purposes during religious holidays. Besides, you can market them as gifts. The best types are; palm trees, Christmas trees and bonsai trees.

You can propagate a Christmas tree from plant cuttings or seedlings. Grow ones with strong fragrance and branches to carry the Christmas decorations.

Where can you buy best quality compound trees in Kenya?

To purchase quality compound trees in Kenya, consider reputable nurseries and landscaping companies such as

  1. Green Future Tree Nursery
  2. Alpha Tree Nursery
  3. K Tree Enterprises
  4. Unique Landscapes Kenya Limited
  5. Goldenscape Tree Africa
  6. Willy M Kihara Tree Nursery
  7. Urban Plants

These sources offer a variety of ornamental trees.

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  1. Good resource center for acquiring agricultural information. Include places where one can acquire seeds for farmers who intend to establish a side Hussle.

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