Spanish Broom – Knowledgebase Question

Spartium junceum L. is your Spanish Broom. Spanish broom is a perennial, evergreen shrub that can reach six to ten feet tall. The erect, bright green stems are rounded (rush-like) and mainly leafless. The stems branch off at the top, ending with flowering clusters on leafless racemes. The leaves are simple and one-parted, (as compared to the three-parted leaves of Scotch broom); they are alternate, short-lived, and less than one inch long. The leaf shape is linear to lanceolate. Hairs are present on the lower surface. The leaves are the same bright green color as the stems. The flowers are fragrant, bright yellow, and pea-shaped, approximately one inch long. The flowers grow in clusters at the branch ends, on stalks that can be 18 inches long. The flowers bloom from July to frost. The fruits are hairy seed pods, flat and linear, up to three inches long. Spanish broom spreads by seed. Spartium junceum is the only species of this genus. Distinguishing characteristics include the round stems, the simple one-parted leaves, and the fragrant flowers.
I don’t know whether other Home Depot’s in your area might still have the plants for sale – you may have to phone the garden centers to see if they have any in stock. If you cannot find a plant perhaps your friend will let you gather seeds from her plant. The seeds will sprout into new plants.

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.

Display ideas

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.

Spanish Broom Plant

The Spanish Broom Plant (Spartium junceum) is a great semi-evergreen flowering shrub. It can grow up to 8-10 ft. tall and about 5-7 ft. wide. This native plant tolerates poor sandy soils perfect for the desert southwest. A drought-tolerant plant that can be used in a rock garden landscape with smaller perennial or annual plants in the foreground. USDA Hardiness Zone: 7 – 10

Check your plant zone here.

Spanish Broom Photos

The Spanish Broom Plant in front of a Southwestern style home

The Spanish Broom Plant

During the spring season, it will bloom fragrant yellow flowers. It will produce seed pods in early summer. This plant will do well in Xeriscape landscaping yards or businesses that need low water, maintenance-free shrubs.

A Spanish broom tightly trimmed at the bottom. Intense fragrant flowers at top of the plant.

Problems with this Plant.

Webworms will attack this plant. Also commonly called “fall webworms”. They feed on the foliage of many types of trees and shrubs. They make large silk webs on the ends of stems or branches. Spraying with a product called “Thuricide will kill them”. Thuricide is a liquid form of bacteria, Bacillus Thuringiensis or more commonly known as “BT”.

Go organic and pick them out by using tweezers or place a water bowl nearby for birds. Most birds will eat caterpillars and webworms.

Growth Rate

Moderate growing plant. Will reach 6 ft. in about 4-5 years. Prune in late winter to enhance new growth and flowers in early to mid-spring.

Another great yellow flower plant is the “Yellow Bells Plant”.

Spanish Gold® Broom

When gardeners hear the name “broom” they often cringe at the thought of hillsides covered by the invasive Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) in California. Fortunately for all of us, the form of “broom” chosen by Plant Select® is no such brute. Native to the high mountains of Spain, Spanish Gold® Broom (Cytisus purgans) is a tidy, drought-tolerant “evergreen” shrub that is adaptable to our alkaline soils, hot summers and cold winters.

Like many brooms, the stems of Spanish Gold® Broom are generally green and stick-like (hence the name) and covered with small green leaves from spring until early fall. The yellow pea-like blossoms are very fragrant (a vanilla-like aroma) and last for a couple of weeks in early spring.

In the landscape, Spanish Gold® Broom is best used for its formal mounding shape and unusual texture. In mixed borders, it complements a wide variety of plants, including perennials, grasses, other shrubs and conifers. It looks just as attractive in both “natural” and formal plantings.

Dry conditions are preferable, especially once established, but because its stems are green all year round, it should be monitored for winter moisture. Pruning is only necessary to remove occasional winter die-back.

View the plant profile here.

Spanish Gold® Broom
Cytisus purgans

Shrub
Size: 3-4 feet tall x 5-6 feet wide
Blooms: Yellow, mid to late spring
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Moderate to dry
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4a-9
Culture: gravelly, clay or loam soils; Intolerant of poorly drained soils. Requires little care once established.

Contributed by Pat Hayward, executive director of Plant Select®.

  1. Lou McClelland says:

    Boulder CO. I have 2 plants of Spanish Gold® Broom (Cytisus purgans). One of 3 planted 2008 has died. One is small, green from tip to ground. One is huge, but every branch is tan/brown and dry/brittle from tip to ground. I’d like advice on the huge dry bush — remove, prune all branches to near the ground now (March 6), just wait, or what? Thanks!

  2. Pat Hayward says:

    I’ve had that same thing happen on older plants. I think the best thing to do is wait and see if any new growth pushes from the base on the dead-looking one. if you seen new growth then prune out all the brown stems. If no growth, then of course it it’s dead. The big one can be pruned just as soon as you see new growth, and then maybe just take it back 1/3 to 1/2. You could take SOME branches all the way to the ground, but not to the whole thing or you’ll likely lose that one too.. Look around too. I’ve had a couple of old ones die on me but it always seem there was one seedling to take its place, so I moved the seedling when young to take the place of the old one.

  3. Lynda Farabee says:

    Where can I buy or order this shrub?

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      This is a very popular plant in Colorado. You should be able to purchase it at any independent garden center. If you are out of state, try one of our on-line retailers at

  4. Megan says:

    I have 2 healthy looking shrubs I planted last year however neither bloomed this year. I was so disappointed…do they not bloom the first couple years or is something wrong?

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      You should have seen some blooms on them this year, however it is true that the more mature they get the more prolific the blooms. One factor that may reduce blooming is shade. These plants need full, hot sun all day long for best performance. If that is the case then try to provide more light pruning larger trees or shrubs. If that can’t be done, transplant those plants now, providing them with ample water to get through the rest of the year.

      • Megan says:

        Thanks. They’re in full sun, and are beautiful but I think I’m just out of luck this year on flowers. Thought it was weird though. Maybe early next spring I’ll do a couple light rounds of natural fertilizer, like the Big Bloom liquid and see if I can’t force a few out!

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