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Plants We Love: Japanese Pagoda Tree

Japanese pagoda tree (Sophora japonica ‘Pendula’) is a small to medium ornamental tree with a weeping habit and feathery leaves. It adds soft structure and elegance to the garden.
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Japanese pagoda tree (Sophora japonica 'Pendula')

Plant name: Japanese pagoda tree, weeping scholar tree, weeping Chinese scholar tree

Botanical name: Sophora japonica ‘Pendula’

Virtues: A small to medium ornamental tree with a beautiful weeping habit. Cascading, sometimes twisted branches add grace to the garden and soft movement as the wind blows.

Foliage: 10-inch-long green leaves are made up of 7 to 17 small oval leaflets, giving the tree a feathery look. Leaves turn yellow in fall then drop.

Habit: Weeping. 15 to 25 feet tall and wide.

Season: Year-round for structure; spring through fall for foliage.

Origin: China and Korea

Cultivation: Does best in rich well-drained sandy soil with medium water and full sun. Tolerates partial shade, heat and some drought. A good urban tree, able to withstand pollutants and city conditions. The straight species Sophora japonica will flower, but this weeping cultivar very rarely does. USDA Zones 4–8.

Read about other favorite weeping trees

Image credit: Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder


Are you looking for more information about trees for your landscape? Or do you just love ornamental shrubs? If so, check out Trees, Shrubs & Hedges for Your Home ,The Homeowner's Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook, and Container Topiary