How to Grow: Goldenrain Tree

Koelreuteria paniculataFruits, Golden, Koelreuteria, Paniculata, Rain, Tree


Other Name

Pride of India tree


Sun Requirements

full sun


Bloom Period and Seasonal Color

Summer with yellow flowers, papery seedpods and orange-yellow fall foliage color


Mature Height x Spread

20 to 40 feet x 20 to 40 feet


Added Benefits

Attracts beneficials, drought tolerant, fall color, deer resistant


If you’re looking for a different type of tree for your yard consider the goldenrain tree. This medium to large sized, rounded, deciduous shade tree brightens up the summer landscape with its golden flowers. This tree produces large, 1 to 2 foot long clusters of golden colored flowers in early summer. The flowers are followed by attractive seedpods covered with papery husks similar to Chinese lantern plants. Golderain tree also can have attractive fall foliage, with its leaves turning an orange-yellow color. This tree is tolerant of adverse conditions including heat, drought, air pollution, and heavy wind. It grows well in a variety of soils, but has been noted to be invasive in some areas.


When, Where and How to Plant

Goldenrain tree is hardy to USDA zone 5, so is marginally hardy in colder parts of New England. Purchase trees for a local nursery and plant in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Plant trees in full sun in well-drained, moist soil. Space trees 30 feet apart.


Growing Tips

Goldenrain tree grows best in moist soils, so water young trees well. Goldenrain tree has thin bark and is easily damaged. Create a mulch ring covered with wood chips or bark mulch around trees grown in lawns and to keep the soil evenly moist and the trunk protected from damage due to lawn mowers or string trimmers. Fertilize in spring with a tree plant food.


Regional Advice and Care

Goldenrain tree needs little care once established. Prune out dead, diseased or broken branches at any time. Young trees tend to have few branches. Prune young trees to a central leader system to develop proper branch angles. The limbs of goldenrain tree tend to droop, so plant this tree where there’s enough room to work around the branches. Goldenrain tree seeds can self sow and become invasive. Weed out seedlings in spring.


Companion Planting and Design

Goldenrain tree makes a great specimen tree in the landscape or shade tree in a large outdoor, patio area. It doesn’t get so large to overwhelm a small yard. Although goldenrain tree is resistant to winds, the brittle branches may still break and cause a mess. It also doesn’t tolerate salt spray and isn’t a good coastal tree. Because of its tolerance to air pollution and adaptability to various soils, though, goldenrain tree makes a good urban and street tree.


Try These

‘September’ is a late flowering variety that blooms in late summer. However, it’s not as hardy as the true species. ‘Fastigiata’ grows to 25 feet tall in a columnar shape, but doesn’t flower as well as other selections and is less cold hardy.  ‘Beachmaster’ is a dwarf version that grows into a large shrub 10 feet tall. ‘Rose Lantern’ produces pink colored seedpods in fall.

Excerpted from my book, New England Getting Started Garden Guide.