How to Grow Cytisus — Broom

Cytisus broom
Cytisus blooms resemble the flowers of pea plants

Cytisus are fast-growing shrubs that bear an abundance of 1-inch or smaller pea-shape, often fragrant blossoms, mostly yellow but some are orange, red, or cream-colored.. Members of the Cytisus genus are commonly called brooms.

Cytisus range from small shrubs to small trees; most have a graceful spreading with slender, arching branches. Low-spreading Cytisus can be used as ground covers; larger species are suited for borders and informal hedges.

Cytisus flowers are borne singly or in clusters. Flowers resemble pea flowers with five petals.

Cytisus are short-lived, lasting tend years or so before they become leggy and thin.

 Scotch broom, Cytisus scoparius
Scotch broom, Cytisus scoparius

Get to Know Cytisus

  • Plant type: Deciduous spring-blooming shrub
  • Growing Zones and range: 6-8
  • Hardiness: Half-hardy
  • Height and width: Varies by cultivar from 24-inches to 15 feet tall
  • Foliage: Simple mid-green leaves
  • Flowers: Usually yellow, but also white, red, or maroon
  • Bloom time: Spring until autumn
  • Uses: Grows well in windy and seashore conditions; good for erosion control
  • Common name: Broom, genista
  • Botanical name: Cytisus spp.
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Origin: Europe, Asian Minor, North Africa

Where to Plant Cytisus

  • Plant Cytisus in full sun.
  • Plant Cytisus in average garden soil, Cytisus will grow in poor, sandy, rocky soil.
Cytisus scoparius, the common broom
Cytisus scoparius, the common broom

When to Plant Cytisus

  • Set container-grown Cytisus in the garden in spring.
  • Sow seed of species in spring.

Planting and Spacing Cytisus

  • Space Cytisus 12 to 15 feet ((3.6-4.5m) apart.

How to Water and Feed Cytisus

  • Cytisus needs moderate moisture at first; once established Cytisus is drought-tolerant.
  • Cytisus does not need fertilizer.
Atlas broom, Cytisus battandieri
Atlas broom, Cytisus battandieri

Cytisus Care

  • Cytisus does not need to be pruned in naturalistic settings. Cut stems back by one-third right after blooms.
  • Cytisus can be invasive; remove any new plants not wanted.
  • Cytisus is seldom bothered by diseases and pests.

Cytisus Pruning

  • Cytisus blooms on the previous year’s wood; prune immediately after bloom time to avoid cutting into old wood.
  • Cytisus need little pruning apart from keeping it in bounds and light shaping. Cytisus blooms more profusely if left unpruned.

Cytisus Propagation

  • Raise species from seed sown in spring. Cultivars do not grow true from seed.
  • Root semi-ripe-wood cuttings in midsummer and semi-ripe cutting in late summer
Warminster broom, Cytisus x praecox 'Allgold'
Warminster broom, Cytisus x praecox ‘Allgold’

Cytisus Varieties to Grow

  • Cytisus battandieri, Atlas broom: Semievergreen shrub grows 12 to 15 feet (3.6-4.5m)ll and as wide; can train as a small treed; fragrant, clear yellow flowers in spikelike clusters.
  • C. x praecox, Warminster broom: Compact growth 3 to 5 feet (.9-1.5m) tall and wide; mounding mass of pale yellow to creamy white flowers in spring; use as an informal screen or hedge; is widely grown and is hardy in Zones 6-9.
  • C. scoparius, Scotch broom: Evergreen can row to 10 feet (3m) tall; golden-yellow flowers; aggressive grower; species is invasive in the West; several named cultivars are less aggressive, low growing, and more colorful including ‘Burkwoodii’, ‘Carla’, ‘Dorothy Walpole’, ‘Lena’, ‘Lilac Time’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘St. Mary’s’, ‘San Francisco’, and ‘Stanford.’

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