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Silver linden

Summer foliage of silver linden.

Silver linden has leaves that are dark green above and silvery-white below. It can be used as a street tree.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name:

Tilia tomentosa

All common names:

silver linden

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Parkway/street,
  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

Mature Height:

50-70 feet

Mature Width:

25-40 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Alkaline soil,
  • Road salt

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Tolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Intolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Intolerant

Ornamental Interest:

  • Summer blossoms,
  • Fall color,
  • Fragrant flowers

Seasons of Interest:

  • late spring,
  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • Yellow

Shape or Form:

  • Pyramidal

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes

More Information:

Silver linden (Tilia tomentosa)
Silver linden
photo: John Hagstrom
Tree & Plant Care

Full sun is best.  Fairly adaptable to soil pH.  Will tolerate drought a little better than other linden species.

Disease, pests, and problems

Aphids, Japanese beetles, linden borer are possible insect problems.
Powdery mildew and Verticillium wilt are possible fungal problems.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Silver linden does show less susceptibility than other lindens to Japanese beetles.

Native geographic location and habitat

Silver Linden is native to Europe and Asia.

Bark color and texture 

On young trees the bark is a smooth gray.  On older trees, the bark becomes more ridged.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves are heart-shaped with sharply serrated margins.  Leaf size can vary from 2 to 5 inches.
In summer, leaves are dark green above and silvery-white on the underside.  Fall color is a mild yellow.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Creamy yellow flowers in hanging clusters (7 to 10 flowers per cluster) in early summer.  Each cluster is accompanied by a long, strap-shaped bract.  Very fragrant.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruits are small egg-shaped gray nutlets, accompanied by a long strap-like bract.

Cultivars and their differences 

Green Mountain® silver linden (Tilia tomentosa 'PNI 6051'):  This cultivar has a faster growth rate and is more tolerant of heat and drought.

Sterling silver linden (Tilia tomentosa 'Sterling'):  Good tolerance of heat and drought.  This cultivar shows some resistance to Japanese beetle.

Location of Tilia tomentosa (Silver linden) at the Arboretum