London Plane tree (Platanus x acerifolia)

London Plane tree (Platanus x acerifolia)

The London Plane Tree, also known as Platanus x acerifolia, usually grows wild across Europe, but it’s increasingly cultivated in the United States as well. The trunks of the trees are straight, with spreading branches that appear to drop slightly, creating a beautiful visual effect that explains why many homes choose a London Plane tree.

The leaves are almost star-shaped and bright green, some growing even as much as 12 inches long.

No One Know How Long It Lives

The London plane tree is rather massive, and can even reach 100 feet tall in its maturity and a spread of 40 feet. It has a medium growth rate of 13-24 inches per year. While it will take it some time to reach maturity, this species is known to live quite a long time. In fact, nobody really knows how long a London Plane tree can live because no specimen is known to have died of old age.

It Requires More Watering in the Beginning

This tree has some drought tolerance and prefers sunlight or partial shade. It needs a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight every day. It can grow in acidic, moist, sandy, well-drained, and clay soils, making it the perfect choice for New Yorkers.

Watering is minimal when the tree reaches maturity, but in the first few years, it does need to be watered until its roots are fully developed. Because the canopy gets rather large, however, you should consider planting the tree in a wider area.

An Enigmatic Tree

The exact details of this tree’s origins are unknown, but it is believed the London Plane Tree is a combination of Oriental planetree and the American sycamore hybrid. Since it was discovered it could survive the unfriendly conditions of London, it was a very popular choice of tree in the city, which is why it eventually got this name.


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