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Toad Tree

Tabernaemontana elegans

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Toad Tree (Tabernaemontana elegans) at Roger's Gardens

Toad Tree

Toad Tree

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  25 feet

Spread:  15 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  8a


This small to medium sized variety is perfect for a small area; stunning, glossy deep green leaves contrast panicles of dainty white flowers all season; fruit appears in pairs with the look and texture of toads skin; can be grown in containers

Ornamental Features

Toad Tree features dainty panicles of fragrant creamy white star-shaped flowers with buttery yellow centers at the ends of the branches from early spring to late summer. It has attractive dark green foliage with pointy lime green spines. The glossy oval leaves are highly ornamental and remain dark green throughout the winter. It produces tan capsules from mid summer to late fall. The rough gray bark is extremely showy and adds significant winter interest.

Landscape Attributes

Toad Tree is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen tree with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Toad Tree is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Shade
  • Hedges/Screening
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Toad Tree will grow to be about 25 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 15 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.

This tree does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

Toad Tree is a fine choice for the yard, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Shade  Screening  Container 
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Texture  Bark 
Ornamental Features