How to Grow Golden-Chain Tree — Laburnum

Golden-chain tree flowers
Golden-chain tree flowers

Golden-Chain Tree, Laburnum, is a small deciduous tree.  Laburnum is native to Europe and Asia and belongs to the Pea Family.

Golden-chain trees are among the most beautiful of flowering trees with three-part leaves and long drooping clusters of yellow pea-shaped flowers. The flowers are reminiscent of wisteria

Laburnum thrives in any well-drained soil and can stand up to city conditions with few problems. They are upright growers. They are usually pruned into single trunk trees but can be grown shrub-like regularly spaced in a border.

Golden-chain trees are propagated by seeds and layering.

All plant parts, especially the seeds are poisonous if eaten.

Golden-chain tree in spring bloom

Get to Know Golden-Chain Tree

  • Plant type: Deciduous tree
  • Growing Zones and range: 5-9
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Height and spread: Grows to 30 feet (9m) tall and 18 feet wide
  • Foliage: Trifoliate leaves
  • Flowers: Golden yellow flowers borne in long, pendulous clusters; followed by 2 to 3-inch pods
  • Bloom time: Late spring
  • Uses: Shrub borders, specimen when placed in front of evergreens
  • Common name: Golden-Chain Tree
  • Botanical name: Laburnum x watereri
  • Family: Leguminosae
  • Origin: Europe

Where to Plant Golden-Chain Tree

  • Plant golden-chain tree in full sun.
  • Plant golden-chain tree in average soil that is well-drained.

When to Plant Golden-Chain Tree

  • Set container-grown golden chain tree in the garden in spring.

Planting and Spacing Golden-Chain Tree

  • Golden-chain tree is most easily grown from a grafted plant purchased from a grower or nursery.
  • Space golden-chain trees 20 feet (6.1m) apart; trees grow 20 to 30 feet tall and just as wide.

How to Water and Feed Golden-Chain Tree

  • Keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Fertilize golden-chain tree by spreading aged compost to the dripline at least once a year.
Laburnum trees and box shrubs
Laburnum trees and box shrubs forming a formal walk way

Golden-Chain Tree Care

  • Prune golden-chain tree after flowering as needed.
  • Flexible branches are easy to espalier.

Golden-Chain Tree Common Problems

  • Golden-chain tree has no serious pests or diseases.
  • Golden-chain tree tends to be short-lived.

Golden-Chain Tree Propagation

  • Sow seed in fall.
  • Graft in spring.

Golden-Chain Tree Varieties to Grow

  • Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossi’ has a dense habit and very long flower clusters.
  • Laburnum anagyroides is a wide-spreading tree to 20 feet tall; ‘Aureum’ has golden yellow leaves; ‘Involutum’ has curled leaves; ‘Pendulum’ has a weeping form; ‘Quercifolium’ has lobed leaves.

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