Koelreuteria bipinnata, or Chinese Flame Tree, is an elegant small tree that's native to China and can reach heights of 10-20 ft. It boasts finely textured foliage and a showy summer bloom of yellow and orange flowers, making it a popular choice for any yard. This tropical-looking tree can be grown in USDA Zones 7 through 10, and enjoys full sun to semi-shade conditions.
Its leaves are alternate, bipinnately compound leaves. The flowers are small and yellow with a touch of red at the base, with four petals, produced in large branched panicles that are 8-15 inches long.
As the tree matures and develops a root system, its fruit is a three-lobed inflated papery capsule, containing several hard nut-like seeds that are up to 1/2 inch diameter with a pink color.
To properly grow and care for Koelreuteria bipinnata, you will want to plant it in rich, well-drained soil in a sunny position. Although the tree can take a little shade, it will not flower as abundantly in the shade as in full-sun exposure. Regular, deep watering in the early years will help the tree establish a strong and wide root system.
In colder, more northern areas, Chinese Flame Tree can also be grown in a container. This is a great way to enjoy its beauty and foliage indoors or outdoors. The pot should be large enough to sustain its growth and fertilized as needed.