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Goldenchain tree, Laburnum × watereri



Authors as Published

Authored by Alex X. Niemiera, Professor, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech (first published February 2012, last reviewed February 2024)


Foliage: Trifoliate leaves; leaflets are about 2 inches long; alternate; deciduous

Height: About 15 feet

Spread: About 10 feet

Shape: Upright oval

Main Features

Goldenchain tree is a small tree that is primarily noted for its very showy pendulous flowers (16 inches plus in May). This species is best grown in zones 5 to 7 and generally requires afternoon shade. Plants in full sun are often stressed and succumb to pest problems. ‘Vossii’ is a long-flowered cultivar.

Plant Needs

Zone: 5 to 7

Light: Afternoon shade is recommended

Moisture: Average

Soil type: Average

pH range: Acid to alkaline


Goldenchain tree is suitable for locations wherever a small tree is needed provided the cultural conditions are suitable. Planting more than one tree, in groupings and borders for example, maximizes the flower show.


Stressed trees are prone to insect and disease problems, so plant goldenchain trees in locations that get afternoon shade.

Additional Information

This small tree species has a two-week spectacular flower show in May but is relatively non-descript the rest of the year. One should purchase the cultivar ‘Vossii’ since it has especially long and showy flowers.

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Publication Date

February 1, 2024