Scotch Broom

Tee_March 17, 2005

Should Scotch Broom be cut back hard (like butterly bush) in spring to get flowers?

Also, I looked this up on Hortiplex and it doesn't seem to have much information - just Latin name, maybe photos. Did I miss something? Thanks, Tee

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Noni Morrison

HMM,not sure there is a way to stop it from flowering. It is a noxious weed here, and the only way we can use it is to cut the foliage before it leafs out. It took a special legislative act pushed by person in charge of furthering agricultureal uses of native plants in our state to get it so we could use the green branches even! Scotch broom will throw off so many seeds when it blooms that you should always have a supply of new plants. Old ones get pretty ugly fast if you are cutting on them. I cut off the foliage before the bloom, then cut them down and use a new seedling the next year or two...and still they come, born in on the winds, the birds,what ever!.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 11:47AM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

In this zone and with our winters and poor native soil Scotch Broom is well-behaved - you see solitary bushes of it here and there near the road, planted there on purpose. I collected some seed pods and planted the seedlings grown from them last spring down by the road - we'll see whether they survived the winter.

I'm glad to hear their foliage has some use with cut flowers.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 1:00PM
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Was there any particualr way you started your seeds? I gathered some as well, and am just trying them this year. I stuck the seed in the freezer for a couple of weeks, and just planted them in a flat, so we'll see if I get any germination.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 1:15PM
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joycevallee(z8 canada west)

It is a major pest here. I liked it when I first saw it but after seeing it over the whole island an out of control it is a bit much. I am glad you can enjoy it without that problem.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 1:57AM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

Cheryl, they were very easy. Collected the seeds in the fall and planted them in late winter, no stratification, and got good germination. By last fall they were branching out and about 10" tall.
I can see why you'd want to replant them every few years if you were cutting them as they get stalky otherwise. The ones that look best are the ones that grow untouched.

We are near Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which during the forties imported elements of traditional Gaelic culture to this genuinely Gaelic area, including planting scotch broom along the road, to draw tourists. Then the road was widened without concern for the broom, and two or three bushes of it wound up by chance in other places, where they persist (but don't spread).

It's funny the things we treasure here that are pests elsewhere. We've babied the broom, English ivy, butterfly bush, ampelopsis, a privet which is ten inches tall after three years...

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 9:19AM
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I searched for the name of the most beautiful flowering shrub I've ever seen...for 2 yrs...finally got the guts to call the business to track down the name of the shrub...yup, pink scotch broom. The owner gives it a "good haircut" early spring every year. It grows back in and flowers beautifully! they are about $15 for a bush here in PA but pretty rare. I bought seeds from ebay & planted them in seed starting mix, water, mist & I've got 3 so far after 2 weeks...I keep watching & hoping for more. I didn't cold treat or anyting else..just popped in the dirt & grow.

If anyone out there has more seeds...let me know! Thanks, Tamra

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 9:58AM
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Hello! I have a question regarding the scotch broom bush. Is there any way that cuttings can be rooted?


    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 7:17PM
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Noni Morrison

Not according to the state horticluturist we talked to in our forestry class...that is why they were able to push through the use of the branches as foliage for the cfloral trade. He says that even if you are trying to root it is next to impossible.

After this disucssion I bought 2 pink(lavender) plants of it at ForestFarm but will watch them carefully to make sure they don't spread. One is a dwarf form that is supposed to grow to 18" and the other is full sized.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 11:08PM
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I cannot imagine why anyone would want to plant it. When we were building our house here on the dredge spoils, it was the only thing that would grow. I used our jeep and a choker chain to pull out some that were 12' high. We have it pretty well under control on our acreage now, but the neighbors don't -- and the hills around here are covered with it. In the summertime you can hear the dry pods pop as they are shooting out their seeds. No germination problems with them. I must admit it is a pretty bright color and my niece used to make wreaths with it that were pretty -- but I HATE IT!! I will be forever fighting to keep it from taking back our property.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 8:01AM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

Wreaths - I'm looking forward to trying that with broom. We may have to 'borrow' a bit from the park ;).

Cheryl did your seeds ever come up?
Btw we got an inch of snow last night and are supposed to get 4-8" more today - hope yours fell as rain.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 10:06AM
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Thanks to both of you!
I had not even seen it here in central VA to tell you the truth nor had I even heard of it. My next door neighbor handed me some branches yesterday. Her and a friend had spotted one growing wild not far from here. Her friend had bought two before. She said that between all 3 of us, she was hoping one of us could get it to root. I rode down to look at the one she "stole" the branches from and it's by itself. It hasn't spread. It's probably about 8 feet tall.

Should I just tell her to go back to that one for the seeds on the ground? That happens in the summer? (If she still wants it after hearing Teresa's and other comments about it).

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 10:12AM
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Noni Morrison

I would NOT start a broom of the wild yellow kind in any temperate climate! IF she wants a Scotch broom get one of the more gentle kinds from a nursery! THere is a moonlight Broom that is pale cream and even that one I have seen spreading around here, but nothing like the gold one. RIght now I look out at my neighbors corner piece and it is glowing yellow with Scotch broom about 12 feet high, packed solid. That means we will continue to be infested with it even though we have cleaned our lot of it. Whenever I see a field like this I think of them as "Bad citizens" because it is a classified noxious weed and they are doing nothing to control the spread of it. SOrt of like letting your kids go to a birthday party when they have a virulent plague...

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 10:55AM
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Out of a whole tray, only 3 seeds came up, and are growing. Sorry to hear about your snow, it was rain here yesterday morning, and today is sunny, windy and quite cool. I had to bring a LOT of trays of seedlings in from my unheated Greenhouse, which was no fun at all, but I just didn't want to take a chance of burning plants at this stage. Tonight we are to get down to -1C, and a frost is expected. As green as everything is, snow would just be awful to see right now. I feel for you! At least when it hits this time of the year, it doesn't last. Hold onto that thought. Take care,

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 2:24PM
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This is my first inquiry in this forum; although I have really enjoyed reading/learning for about a year. I live in Virginia, but also inherited "the family house" on Cape Cod MA. I have a very part time yard man, on the Cape, who planted scotch broom (yellow) as foundation plantings. Since then, I've been reading about how very invasive they are -- maybe only on the west coast?? Since I spend weekend time tearing out the ivy that's encroaching in local forests, I feel guilty about possibly having planted an invasive on the Cape. Does anyone know if I have created a monster? THANKS!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 5:27PM
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mbravebird(VA zone 7)

I've never seen Scotch Broom, so googled for a picture and came up with this great article, which I've linked at the bottom. Among other things, it says that non-invasive cultivars do not sprout and spread in the same way as the yellows. AND it says that the less invasive cultivars like poor, sandy soil without much water -- which sounds like Cape Cod to me. (I've only been there once, though). Here's an interesting quote from the article:

"Plain yellow Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) is an invasive weed which the government mistakenly introduced throughout America's temperate regions because of its excellent capacity to protect cleared hillsides or new embankments from erosion. Along thousands of miles of freeways this stuff was deposited, mostly the natural yellow variety, in some places the white. It is today so extensively naturalized & troublesome that it is hard to fully appreciate its far less harmful cultivars & hybrids, such as 'Lilac Time,' which suffer a degree of prejudice by association."

Interesting stuff. Beautiful looking plant, at least in the pictures I found. And isn't that interesting, LizaLily, that the "native" scotchbroom you had to lobby so hard to use was actually an introduction?


Here is a link that might be useful: Scotch Broom article and pictures

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 8:55PM
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bluestarrgallery(zone 7 GA)

Careful what you ask for, Scotch broom is very invasive in California and has taken over lots of native plant habitat in the foothills (zone 7). there are other types of broom hybrids that are not invasive and much nicer looking that can be used instead such as Cytisus 'Mahogany' and Burkwood's Broom.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 3:26AM
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Can anyone tell me when to cut back my scotch brooms,and how much i should take off. I've had them for 2yrs and i love them but i dont want them to get to big. So far i havent had a problem with them.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 8:03PM
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Hi I am new to this forum....does anyone know anything about the scotch brooms that grow in the PA area? I have the pretty wine colored one, not sure of the official name?
I just planted it and wondered about how to take care of it? Everything I've looked up so far seems awful?! Are there different kinds of this broom? Most info that I have found states that they are invasive...any comments would be most helpful..thanks!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 11:55AM
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LuLul: wine sounds like a great color. I live just south of PA line in central MD and have the pale yellow broom. I guess from discussion above that it is the gold that is so invasive, and mainly in the west. Mine seems to do well without any help from me. (I killed 2 before). It sits into the northwest wind, and is now since my birch tree has grown about 6 hours of sun. I love it in flower arrangements ,both in bloom, and then just the crazy branches.It is a slow grower for me, so I don't expect that with the small amount of cutting I do off it that maybe in another 6 or 7 years, it might reach 5 or 6 feet.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 7:47PM
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Dont plant the yellow kind if you live in CA. It WILL take over, just look at nevada county, its getting harder to see the pine trees lol. But no joke, its a serious problem now and no one knows really how to get rid of it all, there's just too much, everywhere!!
Scotch broom is dangerous, it has lots of oils and burns at an intense heat, not to be taken lightly. I fear that this plant will cause many wildfires and deaths in the coming century....

Here is a link that might be useful: nevada county

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 11:44PM
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