Trochodendron aralioides

wheel tree

Outstanding Qualities

The wheel tree was once found only found in collectors' gardens, but it is now much more widely available. It is a lovely tree that produces a single main trunk from which are carried a whorl of horizontal branches, somewhat like the spokes of a wheel. Its evergreen leaves are long and tapered, and their bright green color contrast well with rhododendrons and the trunks of our native conifers. Planted as single specimen, it is eye-catching due to its distinctive growth habit.

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: It grows well in open woodland settings with Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata', Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata', Fatsia japonica and Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis. Consider underplating it with groundcovers like hellebores, Pulmonaria 'Benediction', Pulmonaria longifolia ssp. cevennensis and cyclamen.

Great Color Contrasts: variegated, gold

Great Color Partners: chartreuse, dark green

Culture Notes

Plant wheel tree in full sun to light shade. It grows best in fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil. Water it regularly for its first two seasons and during subsequent summer dry spells. Pruning is generally not required as wheel tree has a lovely branching structure that could easily be spoiled with pruning.

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Quick Facts

Plant Type: tree

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 m.)

Plant Width/Spread: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 m.)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 8

Flower Color: green

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light shade

Water Requirements: regular watering