How to Grow Xanthoceras sorbifolium Plants (Yellowhorn, Chinese Flowering Chesnut) in your Garden

Xanthoceras sorbifolium is more commonly known by the names of Yellowhorn, Shiny leaf yellowhorn, Chinese flowering chestnut, or Goldenhorn.

While this deciduous shrub is only natively found in northern China, it is commonly grown around the world. This is because it is easy to grow as long as the correct conditions are provided.

Shinyleaf yellowhorn
Psgan yellowhorn (Xanthoceras sorbifolium 'Psgan') photograph by Andrey Zharkikh.

Xanthoceras sorbifolium plants require a decent amount of space, as they can grow up to 25 feet (7.6 m) tall and reach 25 feet wide.

This shrub isn't prone to any major diseases or insect problems, which makes it a popular choice for gardeners looking for a lower maintenance plant.

Xanthoceras sorbifolium Shrub
Xanthoceras sorbifolium Shrub, photograph by Wendy Cutler; CC.

It produces many smallish white flowers with red centers in the spring. These star shaped flowers are about one inch (2.5 cm) wide. They are followed by green fruits.

The plant has long lasting pinnate leaves, flowers, and fruits are usually considered edible.

Chinese Flowering Chesnut
Chinese Flowering Chesnut photograph by Matt Lavin; CC.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Shinyleaf Yellowhorn

Xanthoceras sorbifoliumgrows best when planted in an area with full sun.

Ideally, the soil should be well-drained and loamy. However, this shrub is highly adaptable to multiple environments so it can readily be grown in partial shade, damp soils, and even tolerate some drought.

Chances of successful cultivation are best in zones four through seven (UK hardiness H7 (to below –20°C (-4°F)), but may still require some sheltering during the winter to prevent the shrub from cold drying.

Xanthoceras sorbifoliumis typically used as a border plant due to its large size. It also makes a great specimen tree/shrub that can be used to provide shade when located close to a patio.

It's a relatively low-maintenance shrub that requires little to no pruning. Any pruning should be done between the late winter and early spring.

Xanthoceras sorbifolium Botanical Drawing
Xanthoceras sorbifolium Botanical Drawing sourced by Biodiversity Heritage Library ; CC.

Xanthoceras sorbifolium Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Xanthoceras sorbifolium
  • Common Name: Shinyleaf yellowhorn, yellowhorn, shiny leaf yellowhorn, goldenhorn, Chinese flowering chestnut
  • Growing Zone: USA: 4 to 7 / UK: H7, very hardy.
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Tree

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 300 to 480
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 300 to 480
  • Time of Bloom: Spring
  • Flower Details: White, purplish tinge
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Rounded

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partially shady to full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Medium paced
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture:

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance: Low
  • Propagation: Seed, Root cuttings,from Rooted suckers
  • How to Prune: Require little or no pruning and in fact may be spoilt by harder pruning
  • Pests: Usually pest free
  • Diseases: Leaf spot

Further Information

  • Can Attract:
  • Tolerant of: Drought
  • Best Garden Use: As this flowering tree is small and often shrub-like it is great to grow as a background plant or as a border plant for large lawns. It can also look good as an edging for patios.

  • Family: Sapindaceae
  • Closely Related Species: Maples, Horse Chestnut, Lychee.
  • Miscellaneous: Is not a native plant of N. America, Fragrant flowers, Blooms are very showy
  • Genus Detail: Xanthoceras
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Xanthoceras sorbifoliu. You may also enjoy the following Maple tree growing guides: How to grow Paperbark maple and Box elder.