Want to add some shade to your garden, backyard patio, or deck? Fast-growing shade trees are the answer. Trees provide habitat and food for pollinating insects and wildlife. You can watch your tree grow after you plant it! Make sure to choose a variety that will survive winters in your area, and read the plant description carefully to confirm its mature height and width will fit where you want it to grow without clogging up the yard.

1. Australian Tree

If you intend to infuse life and texture into your home or backyard, consider the Australian tree fern, known as Cyathea cooperi. This captivating evergreen fern is native to cool and humid regions of eastern Australia. It is a fast-growing tropical plant that grows in moist climates. To make sure it grows well, ensure blotchy sunlight or shade, plenty of humidity, and consistently moist soil. While relatively low maintenance, regular watering is essential to prevent drying out. This fern can reach a height of up to 20 feet in its natural habitat. The Australian tree fern brings a sense of exotic allure and vibrant color to any setting.

2. Dwarf Cavendish Banana Fruit Tree

The dwarf banana tree is a fast-growing and easy-to-maintain tropical plant ideal for backyards, growing in full sun or partial shade. Its lush foliage creates a graceful landscape display, adding beauty to any outdoor space. Growing your bananas at home is rewarding and provides healthy fruit rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. This dwarf fruit plant can be cultivated in pots, making it suitable for container gardening. Additionally, its versatility allows it to be kept indoors as a decorative plant, offering the joy of homegrown bananas right in the comfort of your home. Enjoying and caring for these plants can also help reduce stress and fatigue, providing a therapeutic gardening experience.

3. Needle Palm Tree, Cold Hardy

The Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix) is a native palm tree in the southeastern United States, prized for its resilience and adaptability to various conditions. This slow-growing plant can reach heights of up to 8 feet and boasts a crown of fan-shaped fronds at its apex. Commonly used in landscaping as a low-maintenance plant, the needle Palm adds a tropical touch to outdoor spaces. It thrives in well-draining soil and partial to full shade, thriving in USDA plant hardiness zones 5b through 11, making it exceptionally cold-tolerant. One of its remarkable traits is its ability to tolerate dry and wet soils, making it suitable for regions with fluctuating moisture levels. Its compact size and slow growth rate make it perfect for smaller gardens or container planting. Generally requiring minimal care, needle palms may need occasional watering and fertilization during dry spells. While the tree produces small, edible black fruit, it's typically not consumed due to its bitterness. The needle palm tree adds beauty and resilience to any garden or landscape, even in colder climates. If you are considering planting one, it's essential to verify your specific USDA plant hardiness zone and seek advice from plant experts regarding care and maintenance.

4. Cassia Senna Surattensis Polyphylla Tree

Consider Cassia surattensis, also known as Senna surattensis or Glaucous Cassia, a native of Florida. This butterfly-attracting plant is a healthy bloomer, showcasing pretty flowers in both spring and fall. It adds color to any landscape with its bright green foliage year-round. Cassia surattensis is perfect for container planting on patios, near entryways, or in small spaces growing in sunny locations with well-drained soil. Whether used as an accent plant in your yard, its stunning foliage will surely capture the attention of onlookers.

5. Yellow Trumpet Tree, Tabebuia Tree 

Planting trees is an excellent way to enhance the tranquility and natural beauty of the backyard. Not only do trees add visual appeal to any landscape, but they also play a vital role in reducing air pollution and providing shade. Consider planting the Tabebuia chrysotricha, also known as the gold trumpet tree, for a striking display in your garden. This tree is famous for its vibrant yellow flowers, which bloom in spring, adding a burst of color to your outdoor space. Additionally, the gold trumpet tree requires less water than other trees, making it a low-maintenance option that suits busy lifestyles.

6. Pink Powderpuff Flowering Tree

The Pink Powderpuff Tree, scientifically named Calliandra surinamensis, is a stunning flowering tree. It originated in South America. It is renowned for its captivating pink puffy flowers. It's a popular choice for gardens and landscapes. This evergreen tree typically grows to a height of up to 20 feet (6 meters), making it small to medium-sized. Its delicate fern-like leaves are a lovely backdrop for the vibrant pink blooms. The tree earns its name from the distinctive shape of its flowers, which resemble miniature powder puffs or fireworks displays. These charming pink flowers bloom year-round, bringing bursts of color to any garden. The powderpuff flowers attract pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It makes them an essential food source for these beneficial creatures. The pink powderpuff tree prefers well-drained soil and full sun but can tolerate some shade. Regular watering and occasional fertilization with a balanced fertilizer help maintain its health and vibrancy.