CYTISUS broom

Cytisus plants are commonly known as ‘brooms’. Cytisus species and varieties vary from tiny shrubs for the rock garden to small trees. They have pea-shaped flowers that are usually, but not always, yellow.

Suitable site and soil. Broom species are hardy and will grow on all garden soils. Most of the hybrids, however, including those of the common broom, fail on shallow soils over chalk. They are all excellent for clay and like full sun.

Cultivation and care. Brooms are effective though shortlived shrubs and are excellent for planting in new gardens. Life is extended if they are pruned back after flowering.

Propagation Soak seeds in warm water and leave for 24 hours. Sow in late winter and germinate at 18°C – 65°F or in early spring and place in a cold frame. Half-ripe, heeled cuttings, taken in late summer, root slowly in a frame.

Recommended varieties. C. ardoinii: dwarf (heights 5-10cm – 2-4in), alpine shrub with yellow flowers in spring. C. battandieri (pineapple broom): wall shrub, with large, three-lobed, intensely silver leaves and large clusters of yellow, pineapple-scented flowers in summer (height 4.5m – 15ft). ‘C. ‘Burkwoodii’: hybrid with cerise and crimson flowers in late spring. C. x kewensis: wide, low shrub (height 60cm – 2ft) with creamy-white flowers in spring. C. scoparius (height 2.4m – 8ft) is the common broom and good varieties include ‘Cornish Cream’ and ‘Dragonfly.’

Pests and diseases. Trouble-free.

PRUNING BROOM

Broom that flowers on last year’s wood should be cut back by two-thirds after flowering. Prune species that flower on the same year’s growth just before the growing season starts in early spring.

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