Senna/casia hebecarpa

blueberrier1April 7, 2010

Have several bare root senna hebecarpa to plant from Musser Forest. Was attracted to them based on their support for butterflies. Cannot locate info as to invasiveness/best site/companion plants etc. Had wanted to plant them on the north east side of small birch planting the butterflies antics could be viewed from a nearby patio. I would appreciate any details from your observations or experiences. Thanks.

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Hi, there! I grow S. hebecarpa and have for about 5 years now. It doesn't seem to be invasive for me. The seeds do not reseed for me either. They might if I actually cultivated them, but I don't. I have had both Sleepy Orange and Cloudless Sulphurs lay eggs on it. I do nothing to support it in the way of pruning, fertilizing, etc. It gets kind of rangy looking after it blooms, but I wouldn't be without it.

Mine gets late afternoon shade and does great. Soil doesn't appear to be a factor in growing it. These plants are nitrogen fixing legumes, so not necessary to fertilize them.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 10:42PM
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Thanks, Susan. Am looking forward to enjoying these as much as you.

I had soaked the bare rooted plants in a weak Fertrell 4-8-4 fish-kelp solution for a few hours. I then root pruned them to six inches, as some roots were 24 inches long and there was no other way to accommodate them in the rich clay site. Somewhere, I read to space them 2' apart, but only spaced at 15". They are alongside a mixed island bed that has three sapphireberry seedlings, coneflowers, irises, and reseeding annuals. Am hoping the Senna will bloom this summer. This bed is about 10' west of my largest raised veg bed and gets daily viewing/attention.

Have you ever saved seeds, scarified and planted to check germination? One site mentioned that Cassia/senna hebecarpa is the undiscovered treasure of the summer garden.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 8:18AM
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No, I haven't. I have a small garden, and this Senna reaches about 6' tall and wide. That's plenty big enuff for me. I also grow Senna bicapsularis, which is not hardy here, but reseeds a lot. It is very attractive, too, and the Sulphurs give it equal opportunity.

They don't really need rich soil, since they are nitrogen-fixing plants and provide their own nutrients and also to plants around them. They should bloom this summer. Mine was a small plant in a 4" pot. It grew to about 3' tall that same year and bloomed a lot. The bumblebees also love it, but they're only interested in getting to the pollen.

I think you'll really like and enjoy them.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 9:03PM
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