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Littleleaf Linden (Tilia cordata)



Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Professor, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech (first published May 2009, last reviewed March 2024)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 70 feet Spread: 40 feet

Shape: Upright oval

This medium tree has wonderfully fragrant flowers in June and is tolerant of adverse conditions.

Plant Needs:

Zone: 3 to 8

Light: Partial shade to full sun Moisture: Moist to dry

Soil Type: Sandy or loam or clay pH Range: 4.5 to 8.2


Suggested uses for this plant include shade and street tree.

Planting Notes:

Transplants readily.

Prefers moist, well-drained, fertile soil and full sun. Pollution tolerant.


Tolerates pruning, but pruning is not required.


Japanese beetles, aphids, and a sooty mold which gives the tree a blackish appearance may occur.


Consult local garden centers, historic or public gardens and arboreta regarding cultivars and related species that grow well in your area.

Cultivars of Tilia cordata:

`Greenspire' has a central leader and is a popular clone especially for street tree use. Related species:

Silver linden (Tilia tomentosa) is a beautiful medium/large tree that tolerates heat and drought better than other lindens. It also has fragrant flowers and the undersides of the leaves are whitish, hence the common name, which are showy when they flutter in the wind.

American linden (Tilia americana) is a large tree suitable for parks and other large spaces.


Lindens serve as good shade trees and are ideally suited to landscapes with the space to accommodate them. In June the small, yellowish flowers are somewhat showy and very fragrant. Japanese beetles can be a problem; there are cultivars which are less susceptible to these insects.

This material was developed by Carol Ness as part of the Interactive Design and Development Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation.

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Publication Date

March 6, 2024