The caramel tree: planting, cultivation and maintenance

The caramel tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) is particularly popular in the fall when its golden foliage is resplendent. It shines and reflects the sun’s rays. Its name comes from the caramelized scent it gives off in the air. Find out how to grow the caramel tree to beautify your garden.

Where, when and how to grow the caramel tree?

The ideal time to plant the caramel tree is in the fall. This allows the roots to take their place well before the arrival of winter.

It is nevertheless possible to carry out the planting during the spring for the subjects in container, but in this case it will be necessary to be regular and precise on the waterings during the first year.

The caramel tree appreciates deep, fresh, light and acidic soils. The more acidic the soil, the more the colors will be flamboyant during the fall.

Place your tree preferably in a sunny spot, even if it tolerates partial shade.

For planting, it is the same technique as for most trees. The hole should be 2 to 3 times the size of the root ball. Prefer a mixture of planting soil and an organic amendment. Do not forget to rehydrate the root ball and roots of the tree before putting it in the ground.

katsura tree Cercidiphyllum japonicum l'arbre caramel
Credits: Carmen Hauser / iStock

Size and maintenance

The caramel tree is very easy to cultivate since once well established, it does not really require care.

The most important stage is the watering which must be regular the first year of its growth.

It is not mandatory to prune the tree, but if you still want to give it a nice silhouette, prune in spring, late summer or fall, but never in winter!

Cercidiphyllum japonicum is a rather robust tree whose hardiness approaches -20°C. Its foliage reveals a brilliant green from spring to late summer. In the fall, its foliage is usually gold, but it also comes in red-orange tones.