Spanish Broom – Spartium junceum

Spanish Broom is the only variety in the genus Spartium. It originates in the Mediterranean region and also grows naturally in the Canary Islands.

The plant produces a profusion of bright yellow pea-like flowers from June until August. They resemble the flowers of Genista, Cytisus canariensis, and other brooms.

Each flower is borne on a short stalk along the tall flower clusters. Like the flowers, the green branching stems are characteristic of brooms.

The small leaves that appear on each shoot fall soon after they become fully developed, leaving only the green stems to take over the process of photosynthesis.

When planted out in a garden, Spanish Broom can reach a height of 2.4— 3m (8-10ft), with a spread of 1.8-2.4m (6-8ft). However, when grown in a container it is likely to be around 90-140cm (3-4ft).

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Spanish Broom looks particularly attractive when grown in a wooden tub or large clay pot. As well as being suitable for patios and balconies, it will also thrive in a conservatory or greenhouse. It can be used as a specimen plant, although it also likes the company of others.

Mature plants often become rather bare and woody at the base, but you can compensate for this by growing smaller foliage or flowering plants around them.

Through The Year

Spring

This is the time to repot your plant if you have not done so the previous year, potting on into an alkaline compost (a soil-based compost with added chalk). Plants grown indoors can be moved outside into a sunny position in May.

Summer

Feed the plant once a month with a standard liquid fertilizer. Water moderately but allow the compost to dry out before you water again. From June until August your plant should produce a profusion of flowers.

Autumn

Stop feeding and cut down on water. Trim and prune the plant before the winter.

Winter

You can move your plant indoors for the winter although it is hardy and should survive severe frosts. Water sparingly.

Propagation

Growing from seed

1 Sow seeds in March or April in a propagating tray, using a sandy-based compost.

2 When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out and pot up singly in 10cm (4in) pots.

Taking cuttings

Take cuttings in spring. Dip in hormone rooting powder and insert in rooting compost.

Pests And Diseases

Spanish Broom is generally a healthy plant, and is seldom attacked by pests or diseases.

Poor growth is usually a sign of aphids, which may attack the young shoots of the plant.

Treatment: Spray the plant with soapy water. In severe attacks, use a mild insecticide.

The plant will shed its flowers if it is kept too dry or if the air is not sufficiently moist.

Prevention: Water moderately and mist spray indoor plants regularly in warm weather.

PLANT CARE

Spanish Broom is easy enough to care for if you follow the instructions carefully. Prune back leggy growth in the autumn to encourage early flowering but do not cut into the old wood, from which new growth will appear in the spring.

  • Potting: Use an alkaline compost. Repot every second year.
  • Water moderately in the summer and sparingly in the winter, allowing the compost to dry out a little between applications.
  • Feeding: Feed once a month during the growing season with a standard liquid fertilizer.

BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT

  • Light: Spanish Broom thrives in a bright position in full sun.
  • Temperature: It will tolerate quite a wide range of temperatures in summer, from 15°-24°C (60°-75°F). In winter, keep indoor plants at about 4°C (40°F). Outdoor plants are frost-tolerant.

Buying Tips

  • Spanish Broom is generally available in the spring or autumn from garden centres and nurseries. If you are growing it outside in a tub, these are also the best seasons to plant it.
  • Choose a well-shaped plant with healthy growth. Avoid any with damaged stems.
  • Properly cared for, Spanish Broom will live for many years.

Spanish Broom bears a mass of fragrant bright yellow flowers in summer. In winter, when the leaves have dropped, its slender green stems remain attractive.

The Spanish broom, Spartium junceum, is invaluable in the garden because it continues to produce its bright yellow, sweetly scented flowers throughout the latter half of summer and even into the autumn when they are a splendid foil for purple buddleia and blue or red hydrangeas. Though deciduous, spartium has an evergreen look because of its light green, rush-like stems and though in good soil and sheltered places it may grow too tall for convenience it can be kept to 5 or 6 ft. by shortening each spring all or most of the previous year’s growth. In rather poor sandy soils or in windswept places near the sea, conditions for which it is well suited, it remains naturally compact. Unlike most brooms its flowers last well in water.

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