Golden rain tree is a delightful small tree with wonderful yellow flowers. It is a showstopper when it’s in bloom as it is now in Virginia. Hailing from China and Korea, golden rain tree grows to 30′ tall by 30′ wide. Make sure that you allow enough room for it to reach its 30′ width because it almost certainly will if left to its own devices.
Golden rain tree has several noteworthy characteristics that make it a desirable tree for your landscape. Let’s take a look at some of these:
THE FOLIAGE: Golden rain tree has pinnate or bipinnate leaves; that’s a fancy way of saying that the leaves are divided and feathery in appearance. The fall color is variable but if you purchase one with good fall color, you’ll be rewarded with yellow foliage.
THE FLOWERS: This is the reason that most people want a golden rain tree in their landscape. The flowers really are quite phenomenal and have great presence in the garden. The yellow color draws your eye to the tree and if placed properly, the blooms can entice a visitor to a desired area of your garden when the tree is flowering. The blooms persist for upwards of a month and carpet the ground in yellow when they finally fall.
THE FRUIT: After the yellow blooms fall, they are followed by papery fruits that resemble little Chinese lanterns. They are a great conversation starter and kids love to pop them open to see what’s inside. Inside the Chinese lanterns are viable seeds that germinate if you look at them twice. The only drawback to growing golden rain tree is that it self seeds readily. In my opinion, the seedlings aren’t a real issue. They are easily removed even when they reach a foot or so tall. But perhaps, if you have a more natural area of your landscape that you don’t tend very often, golden rain tree may not be the plant for you.
I want to be sure that you realize that there is also a plant called golden chain tree. It is not the same as the golden rain tree. Golden chain tree’s latin name is Laburnum x anagyroides and it is a plant that is better suited for areas that are cooler than Zone 7. Here in Virginia, it is a short lived tree that isn’t worth growing. When you go to the nursery to pick out your tree, make sure that you ask for a golden rain tree.
If you have a sunny or lightly shaded area in your garden that needs a small tree, consider the golden rain tree. It is disease resistant and not a choice for garden pests. If you keep an eye on the seedlings, I think that you will be pleased with growing a golden rain tree in your landscape. Do you have any experience with growing golden rain tree? If so, leave me a comment below or shoot me an e-mail. If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me at Twitter. Happy gardening!