Hardy, Easy to Grow, Showy Flowering Tree or Shrub, Bonsai, Hedge, Arbor, Pergola, Allee or Espalier. Golden Chain Tree is a small, low-branched, deciduous tree or large shrub that is native to the mountains of central and southern Europe. It typically grows to 15 to 25 feet tall. It is most noted for its profuse and showy late spring bloom of gorgeous yellow flowers in 12 inch dense, pendulous, wisteria-like racemes. Flowers are beautifully displayed against deep green leaves; few trees are more lovely in flower. Trifoliate leaves with elliptic-lanceolate to obovate leaflets each to 3 inches long are a dull green to gray green with pubescence underneath. Pea-like fruits in seed pods to 2 inches long ripen in fall. All parts of this plant, particularly the seeds, are poisonous.
Other Names: Golden Chain Tree, Laburnum Vulgare, Cytisus Laburnum, Common Laburnum
Zone: 5 to 7
Growth Rate: Slow to moderate
Plant Type: Deciduous Flowering Tree or Shrub
Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Native Range: Central and southern Europe
Height: 15 to 30 feet
Spread: 10 to 15 feet
Bloom Time: May - June
Bloom Color: Bright Yellow
Flower/Fruit: 6 to 12 inch yellow, pendulous flower racemes.
Sun: Full Sun to PartSshade
Fall Color: Insignificant fall color
Site Requirements /Soil Tolerances: Best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Soil drainage is particularly important. Best in full sun in the northern part of its growing range, but appreciates part afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Performs poorly in the heat and humidity of the deep South. Best performance generally occurs in climates such as the Pacific Northwest where both summer and winter temperature are moderate. It is best planted in protected locations to minimize risk of damage from sub-zero winter temperatures.
Culture: If trained as a small tree, root suckers must be removed as they appear. Also consider removing the seedpods as they appear because they are not particularly ornamental, they consume plant energies.
Uses: Small specimen tree, shrub border or hedge. Also may be grown as a large shrub. Train for arbors, pergolas, allees or espaliers. Good background plant.