Shady and fragrant, a linden tree can create a pleasant outdoor space to while away a summer afternoon with a book in hand or a spot for kids to play out of the sun. You'll appreciate lindens' non-toxic heart-shaped leaves and attractive, silvery-gray bark, but these trees are really prized for their sweet-smelling flowers, which are used to scent perfumes, soaps and lotions Lindens grow in a range of sizes, from 30 to 100 feet, so choose a species with a mature size that fits well in your landscape.
To 50 Feet
One of the smaller members of the Tilia genus, the Mongolian linden (Tilia mongolica) grows to 30 feet tall with a 20- to 30-foot-wide canopy. Native to eastern Asia, this hardy tree grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 5, where it prefers sunny sites with well-draining soil. The native range of the littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata) includes western Asia and Europe. This tree grows from 30 to 50 feet tall with a 15 to 30-foot spread. Its conical or umbrella-shaped canopy is dense with dark leaves that turn gold and yellow in autumn. Plant the littleleaf linden in moist, acidic soil in USDA zones 4 to 8.
50 to 65 Feet
With a height of 50 feet and a similar spread, the European linden (Tilia europaea) creates shade in the landscape. This linden's dense, dark foliage turns copper and gold in the fall, while the furrowed gray bark adds winter interest. The European linden is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 7; it grows best in moist, acidic soil. Japanese lindens grows from 50 to 65 feet tall and spreads up to 50 feet wide. This Asian native blooms in early summer with aromatic yellow flowers, followed by winged seeds. Japanese lindens are hardy in USDA zones 6 to 8 and grows best in loamy, moist soil.
65 to 100 Feet
The silver linden (Tilia tomentosa) grows to 70 feet tall with a pyramid-shaped, 45-foot-wide canopy that matures to an oval shape. This tree is named for its foliage, which have dark-green tops and contrasting, silvery bottoms. It's hardy in USDA zones 4 to 7 and grows well in sunny, moist sites. Silver lindens tolerate a range of urban conditions, making them a good choice for landscapes near streets. The white basswood or white linden (Tilia heterophylla) reaches heights of 80 feet with a 60-foot spread. A eastern North American native, this tree has a rounded canopy and dark-topped foliage with white bottoms. It's hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7 and attracts butterflies in spring with its pale yellow blooms.
The basswood or American linden (Tilia americana) grows up to 100 feet tall with a 60-foot-wide canopy, making it a good choice as a shade tree. American lindens attract squirrels, butterflies birds to your yard with their red-purple spring flowers and seeds. They're hardy in USDA zones 2 to 8 and prefer moist, sunny, sites. The largeleaved linden (Tilia platyphyllos) also reaches heights to 100 feet. This erect tree has a 70-foot-wide canopy and dark leaves that turn golden in fall. Largeleaved lindens grow in USDA zones 5 to 8 and tolerate a range of site conditions, include clay or sandy soil. In this tree's native Europe, it's sometimes referred to as a "lime" tree.