How to find the perfect house tree

Planting a house tree is more than just beautiful tradition, but also has very practical reasons. Find the perfect house tree with these tips.

Bluebell tree as a house tree

Catches the eye with its large leaves in any garden: a bluebell tree as a house tree

  • What is a house tree?
  • Which trees are suitable as a house tree?
  • Popular house trees at a glance
  • What is a house tree?
  • Which trees are suitable as house trees?
  • Popular house trees at a glance

When children draw a house, they automatically draw a tree next to the house as well as m-shaped birds in the sky – it simply belongs to it. It does, namely as a house tree. But what distinguishes a house tree and which tree is the right one for the particular garden? With our tips you will find the perfect tree for your garden!

What is a house tree??

Whether slender, tall, wide or spherical, with drooping branches or great flowers, a house tree is a prominent, free-standing tree in the garden that either reflects or dictates the design direction of the garden or simply looks beautiful because of its eye-catching growth habit, flowers or fruit. A house tree provides shade, depending on its size is suitable as a support for children’s swings, provides space for nesting boxes and in the past was even a reserve of wood for times of need. But a house tree is even more than just practical, because originally it was and is a tree with symbolic power.

Traditionally, house trees are planted when a house is built or when people move in, but of course they can also be planted later, as they are not limited to new building plots. Some people plant a tree for a wedding, the birth of their first child or other special occasions. This gives the tree a commemorative value and symbolizes security and down-to-earthness.

Children's swing on a house tree

Larger house trees are super suitable to hang on it, for example, a swing for the kids

Which trees are suitable as house trees?

In the past, it was no coincidence which house tree stood in the garden – there was a lot of superstition involved. Because different types of trees were said to have very typical properties. For example, lime trees stand for hospitality, a walnut tree for fertility, and cherry trees were considered a symbol of good luck. All trees stand for protection and security. Today, however, practical aspects and garden design are more important.

Important characteristics of a house tree

A house tree must match the house, property and garden design. Before buying, find out how big and also how wide the house tree will be, so that later it will still have space in the garden, it is after all a purchase for life. The size can become a challenge with the ever smaller new building plots, because a classic tree would be oversized for the usual 400 or 500 square meter gardens. Just do not plan from the outset a regular pruning to keep the house tree small, that does not work. Also popular spherical trees like spherical maple (Acer platanoides ‘Globosum’), spherical robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Umbraculifera’) or the spherical trumpet tree (Catalpa bignonioides ‘Nana’) go really wide in old age. For small gardens, only small or narrow-crowned varieties are suitable, which can be particularly well underplanted with perennials.

Globular maple as a house tree

The globe maple is an absolute classic among house trees, but also grows up to six meters wide over the years

How big may the house tree be?

Make sure that the final height of the house tree does not exceed two-thirds of the width of the property – or at least is not significantly higher. Think also about the distance to the property line and inquire with the city or the district administration office, because there the regulations are regionally different. Location is critical, because even if you improve the soil in an unsuitable location, the tree will quickly outgrow that area and have to deal with poor garden soil again. Pay attention with the selection thus rather immediately to suitable trees.

The right growth habit for garden design

Columnar, spherical, with hanging branches or high trunk: The growth form of the house tree should fit well with the house and plot size. Sprawling, irregularly growing trees or large shrubs such as rock pear (Amelanchier lamarckii) and flowering dogwood (Cornus kousa) are suitable for naturalistic gardens. For small gardens, small-crowned fruit trees, especially apple trees and plums, and columnar trees are becoming more popular. The southern beech (Nothofagus antarctica) has a special appearance, suitable for those who want extravagant trees – and have large gardens.

Copper rock pear as a house tree

The copper rock pear is an eye-catcher as a house tree almost all year round. In spring it delights with its pretty blossoms, in summer with its fruits and in autumn with its phenomenal foliage coloration

High-stemmed trees are particularly well suited for locations near terraces or other seating areas, as such house trees provide an unobstructed view of the garden. Plant deciduous species near windows that provide shade in summer and do not obstruct light penetration in winter.

When choosing, think also about the leaf effect. Thus, large-leaved bluebell trees (Paulownia tomentosa) or mulberry trees (Morus alba ‘Macrophylla’) appear much more dominant than a filigree fan maple (Acer palmatum) or Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum).

Overview of popular house trees

Other criteria that play a role in the selection are, in addition to the size and growth habit, flowers, fruits or striking autumn colors.

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