The Golden Rain Tree is a small, deciduous tree with feathery leaves and large clusters of bright yellow flowers that appear on the tree in the summer. It flowers during a part of the season that is well after most trees have already bloomed. It is a hardy, durable flowering tree that is widely grown in temperate regions in both cities and suburbs because it is tolerant of urban conditions. The clusters of seed pods are also very ornamental features in the summer and autumn. It is a small, open-branching, irregularly-shaped tree with a rounded crown which typically grows 30-40' tall and as wide. Features pinnate or bipinnate, feathery, compound leaves (to 18" long), each leaf having 7-17 irregularly lobed leaflets. Leaves emerge pinkish bronze to purplish in spring, mature to a bright green in summer and turn yellow (quality variable) in fall. Bright yellow flowers (1/2" wide) appear in early summer in long, terminal, panicles (12-15"). Falling blossoms may or may not resemble "golden rain", but the fallen blossoms often form an attractive golden carpet under the tree. Flowers give way to interesting, brown, papery seed capsules which somewhat resemble Chinese lanterns.
Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Adapts to a wide range of soils. Tolerates drought and many city air pollutants. Garden Uses. Small shade tree, street tree, lawns or terraces. Hardy in zones 5-9.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
- Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat.
- Soak the seed in water for 12-24 hours.
- Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 12 weeks.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the container and leave it to drain.
- Put the pot in a warm, sunny area.
- Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet. The seeds germinate in 30-60 days.
- The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.