Mahogany Tree

Swietenia mahagoni

A native of South Florida, the mahogany tree grows a naturally beautiful canopy of small pretty leaves that create dappled shade.

young mahogany tree

Enough sunlight peeks through the tree's foliage to allow grass to grow beneath it.

A white picket fence kind of shade tree, a mahogany works well in landscapes with some space as a front or back yard tree.

A young tree like the one pictured will develop a classic large shade tree look with a nicely rounded, symmetrical crown.
This tree is can handle brief episodes of wet feet and doesn't mind salt spray. It will develop very large seed pods that look like Spanish maracas or big baby rattles. These "fruits" eventually split open, releasing winged seeds.

The reddish hardwood from this tree is valued for making fine furniture, cabinetry and boats. Because it's been over-harvested and many natural stands have vanished due to both timber harvesting and land development, mahogany is now on Florida's Endangered List.

Plant specs

This tree is a moderate to fast grower that can reach 35 to 40 feet with a wide-spreading canopy.

It does best in full to part sun.

These are tropical trees that need the warmth of Zone 10 to thrive. Frost will cause damage in areas of Zone 10 that border Zone 9B, and even in warmer areas they can thin out a bit if winter is harsh.

A mahogany is considered semi-deciduous. This means that though it keeps it leaves nearly year-round, the tree pushes out old leaves for a very brief period in spring before new ones appear.

Mahogany's salt tolerance makes it a good shade tree for planting on a coastal property.

Plant care

Although mahogany trees are South Florida native trees, they appreciate soil enrichment and regular irrigation and fertilization. 

Add top soil (or organic peat humus) and composted cow manure to the hole when you plant.

No trimming is needed as long as you've placed the tree well to allow for mature size.

When the leaves drop in spring, they can be quickly cleaned up with a leaf blower.

Water on a regular basis. Fertilize 3 times a year - in spring, summer and fall - with a good quality granular fertilizer.

Plant spacing

Because of its potential for developing a wide crown, place a mahogany at least 15 feet from the house.

Come in from walks and drives at least 8 feet - more if you can - to avoid problems with the surface roots of a mature tree lifting paved areas.

Landscape uses for mahogany tree

  • single yard specimen
  • along the property line

A.K.A. (also known as): West Indies Mahogany


COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Nearby plants could include downy jasmine, variegated arboricola, loropetalum, snowbush, Knock Out rose, and African iris.

Other trees you might like: Florida Maple, Shady Lady Black Olive

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