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The Chinese flame tree develops into a medium to large size deciduous tree with a broad canopy shape, 25-45 ft. high and as wide. Foliage consists of 12-18 in. long bipinnately divided leaves comprised of 6-10 pairs of serrated leaflets, each growing 2-4 in. long. Large numbers of tiny yellow flowers grow on 12-18 in. long terminal racemes for a colorful display in late summer. Flowers are replaced by large papery seed capsules that range in color from pale salmon to pink-red. Seed capsules provide good color value on the tree through late fall.

Chinese flame tree is a popular lawn and garden tree in the Inland Empire where it tolerates heat, sun and winter temperatures below 20°F. It is a moderate to fast growing species that is planted in parks, as street trees and in residential gardens. This tree grows best in loam type soils with deep watering.

Water Needs

Chinese flame trees growing in the Inland Empire perform best with moderate amounts of water on a monthly basis throughout the year. Deep watering is recommended for good rooting depth and to help maintain good flowering and foliage character. It should be noted there are several winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water depending upon exposure conditions and size.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 4

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 17"-24"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Growth Rate: Moderate, Fast
Height: 25 ft. - 45 ft.
Width: 25 ft. - 45 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Fall
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Sand, Loam, Clay, Calcareous soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Frost, All day sun
Function: Specimen, Flowering accent plant


Plant to prune when young as needed to establish good long term structural form. Prune in winter. Chinese Flame Tree drops an abundance of seed pods, so be careful and plant to clean them up regularly if planting near paved surfaces (D).



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