Trees With Heart-Shaped Leaves: A Guide to Britain’s Most Romantic Foliage

Plants with heart-shaped leaves can not only help spread love, but they can also look beautiful in your garden or as houseplants in pots.

If you want heart-shaped leaves, this guide is for you. It lists twenty-five plants with different leaves that will all add a romantic touch to your home or garden.

As seasons change and leaves transform, few shapes capture the imagination quite like the heart. Trees with heart-shaped leaves can add a touch of romance and beauty to any landscape. Let’s explore some of the beloved British tree varieties with cordate, lobed foliage that will fill your heart with joy.

Why Do Some Tree Leaves Form Heart Shapes?

The development of a heart-shaped leaf is controlled genetically. Growth hormones influence the leaf margin’s shape as the cells expand. A heart leaf forms when expansion lags between the lobes, creating indentations around a central lobe. The leaf’s venation patterns also direct the final shape.

Heart-shaped leaves go by the botanical term “cordate.” The indentation where the two lobes meet is known as the leaf’s “sinus.” Some leaves have a deep sinus, nearly dividing the leaf, while others have just a subtle heart shape.

Both broadleaf and conifer trees can develop heart-shaped leaves. Typically, trees with heart-shaped leaves are deciduous, losing their foliage in autumn. But a few heart-leaved trees are evergreens.

Small-Leaved Limes

The two British native lime trees are excellent examples of trees with heart-shaped leaves They include

  • Small-leaved lime: A large, dome-shaped tree growing over 20m tall. It has elegant, heart-shaped green leaves just 5-8cm long. The foliage turns yellow in autumn.

  • Large-leaved lime: Also called the summer lime, this species has broader, thicker heart-shaped leaves reaching 13cm long. It grows into a tall, pyramidal tree.

Both small-leaved and large-leaved limes produce dense clusters of fragrant, creamy-yellow flowers in summer, loved by pollinating insects. Their bark is grey, fissured, and flattened into ridges.

Common Lime

More commonly seen in parks and gardens is the common lime hybrid (Tilia × europaea). It combines traits from the small-leaved and large-leaved parent trees.

With heart-shaped, deep green leaves and grey bark, common lime makes an excellent shade tree. Its scented yellow-white flowers also attract bees and other pollinators.

Foxglove Tree

The foxglove tree (Paulownia tomentosa) is named for its showy, foxglove-like purple flowers blooming in spring. But it also bears large, downy, heart-shaped leaves up to 30cm across that emerge bronze before turning green.

Native to China, this handsome deciduous tree can reach 15m tall. Its foliage turns golden yellow in autumn. Its timbers are also valued in woodworking.

Katsura Tree

Another Asian species, Cercidiphyllum japonicum or katsura tree dazzles with autumn foliage starting out pink and orange before turning golden. Its leaves are rounded and heart-shaped, with a bluish tint.

Katsura tree grows into a large, spreading specimen reaching 25m tall. Give it room to display its beautiful foliage through the seasons.

Heart-Leaved Philodendron

Houseplant lovers can enjoy heart-shaped leaves year-round with philodendron. Heart-leaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens) has lush, deep green, glossy leaves up to 30cm long shaped like hearts.

Native to Brazil’s tropical rainforests, philodendron thrives as a low-maintenance houseplant. It can also be grown outside in mild climates. Let its trailing stems spill from a hanging basket to show off its leaf shapes.

Growing Trees With Heart-Shaped Leaves

Here are some cultivation tips for success growing cordate-leaved trees:

  • Most prefer moist, well-draining fertile soil. Amend clay or sandy soils before planting.

  • Site in full sun to partial shade depending on the species. Shelter from strong winds.

  • Water young trees regularly until their root systems establish. Then normal rainfall should suffice.

  • Stake young trees until they develop sturdy trunks and root systems.

  • Prune cross-over, damaged, or congested branches for good structure.

  • Control pests like scale, mites, or aphids that may affect some heart-leaved trees.

When choosing a site, give heart-shaped trees plenty of room to spread and show their beautiful foliage. With proper care, they will bring romance and grace to your landscape for years to come.

Other Plants With Heart-Shaped Leaves

Beyond trees, many other plants bear cordate foliage that can add charm to your home and garden:

  • Dutchman’s Pipe Vine: A climbing vine with large, 10-inch heart-shaped leaves.

  • Redbud ‘Hearts of Gold’: A redbud tree cultivar with golden heart-shaped leaves.

  • Creeping Oxalis: A low-growing perennial with clover-like leaves.

  • Siberian Bugloss ‘Jack Frost’: Variegated heart leaves with silver and green.

  • Hostas: Shade garden perennials, some with white-rimmed, heart-shaped foliage.

  • Anthurium: Houseplant with glossy, heart-shaped leaves and flowers.

  • Philodendrons: Tropical houseplants like the pink princess philodendron.

  • Caladium: Vibrant heart-shaped tropical foliage.

The Alluring Charm of Heart-Shaped Leaves

Trees and plants with heart-shaped leaves always make distinctive additions to any natural space. Their unique symmetry and style capture the imagination.

The next time you’re looking to add something special to your garden, consider one of nature’s cordate treasures. From dainty lime tree leaves to the bold foliage of katsura and philodendron, heart-shaped greenery pumps love into every landscape.

1 Katsura Tree

  • BOTANICAL NAME: Cercidiphyllum japonicum
  • PLANT TYPE: tree
  • FOLIAGE: deciduous

The heart-shaped leaves of the Cercidiphyllum japonicum tree are different shades of yellow, pink, and orange depending on the time of year.

This tree doesn’t need much care and looks great in gardens with room for it. It does best when planted in acidic soil in a sheltered spot.

1 Heart Fern

  • BOTANICAL NAME: Hemionitis arifolia
  • PLANT TYPE: fern
  • FOLIAGE: evergreen

This fern can handle cold temperatures and is usually grown indoors. Its thin leaves look great in any indoor arrangement.

The best place to grow Hemionitis arifolia is in a loam-based medium with an acidic pH. Also, keep it out of direct sunlight because too much sun can burn the leaves.

20 Plant With Heart Shaped Leaves


What British tree has heart-shaped leaves?

Tree ID by heart-shaped leaves – six photos – limes, hazels, italian alder, black mulberry, white mulberry and handkerchief tree.

What is the name of the tree with a heart-shaped leaf?

Northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) shines in each of these areas and more. As trees begin to bud, Northern catalpa fills its branches with large, up to 12 inch long, light green, heart-shaped leaves that often have a soft pubescent underside.

What New England tree has heart-shaped leaves?

Once considered a variety of paper birch (Betula papyrifera), heart-leaved paper birch is distinct in its variably heart-shaped, many-veined leaves, its pinkish-brown bark, and its restriction to high-elevation Appalachian and northern habitats.

What European tree has heart-shaped leaves?

In Europe, they’re usually known as lindens or limes, while some North American species are known more commonly as lindenwood or basswood trees. These species hybridize quite easily, so it’s sometimes difficult to identify a precise tree species in its native habitat.

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