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Laburnum trees are known for their stunning yellow flowers and are also known as Golden Chain because of the draped flowers which look somewhat similar to wisteria flowers. It’s no wonder that many people want to grow them. The two most popular types are Laburnum (laburnum anagyroides) and the hybrid Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’ with the latter probably be the most popular of the two.
The good news is that while they flower for a very short period of time each year, they are very easy to grow and they propagate particularly fast from seed although most people will probably prefer to buy an established tree from a nursery or garden centre that will likely flower the same year or the following year depending on when you purchase one. Growing from seeds takes around two and a half years before they can be planted outdoors and even then they will only be small whips.
Note: The beautiful yellow flowers, seeds, pods, and all other parts of the tree are poisonous if ingested. It’s important that children eat any part of the Laburnum tree as it could result in a serious upset stomach.
Growing Laburnum trees
If you want to grow a Laburnum tree from seed it is best to start sowing the seeds between September and November. If you don’t want to wait this long you can always purchase a young Laburnum tree from a nursery or garden centre, as that will reach maturity much faster and will likely flower.
Bare root trees can be cheaper but potted trees can be planted any time of year
If you are planting a young tree or a sapling from a nursery it’s best to put them in their final growing position sometime between October and March if you purchase a bare root tree when they are dormant for winter and often a little more affordable. You can also buy potted Laburnum trees can also be purchased in summer and can be planted at any time of year.
They are not fussy about soil type
Regardless of which maturity level your Laburnum trees are when you plant them, they are not fussy about the soil in which they are grown. They can grow in light soil, well-drained soil, even heavier clay soil as long as it does not get water-logged. They also come in a range of pH tolerance levels ranging from fairly acidic all the way down to alkaline. They will basically grow in any soil types as long as the soil is free-draining.
UK gardeners will benefit from the fact that most laburnums are quite hardy so they will survive winter everywhere in the UK very well.
Plant in a sunny position with plenty of light
The only thing about which they are somewhat picky is sunlight. They need to receive lots of sun and the more sun you give them, the better they will behave. Like most trees and shrubs if they don’t receive adequate sun they won’t necessarily die but you won’t get the flowers for which they are coveted or will likely reduce less flowers.
Low maintenance once established but keep well watered until established
If you plant them somewhere with full sunlight they won’t require really any attention once they are established. But early on when they are young you will need to give them extra water, especially during dry spells or when first planted. Otherwise, they are a low-maintenance tree.
No matter where you plant them, be advised that they are a nitrogen fixer. This means they can actually take nitrogen from the air and leave it in the soil which can be very beneficial for any plants that you are choosing to grow nearby.
Training Laburnum Trees
Something interesting about Laburnum trees is that they can also be trained into arches, tunnels, pleached arbours or simply grown as a specimen tree as most people choose.
They create dramatic displays with beautiful, yellow flowers. These flowers will appear between May and June contingent upon the variety you choose and they will draw to your garden many insects and pollinators too.