Cytisus broom shrubs, a sweeping flush of yellow, white & more!

Cover of cytisus flowers

Cytisus is a fantastic flowering shrub, instantly recognizable thanks to its flush of upright, blooming branches.

A summary of Cytisus facts

Name – Cytisus
Family – Fabaceae
Type – shrub

Height – 2 to 6 ½ feet (0.4 to 2 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary, rather poor

Foliage – deciduous or evergreen
Flowering – April to June

Easy to care for, the planting and pruning contribute towards increasing growth and blooming of your cytisus.

Planting cytisus

If purchased in a container, cytisus can equally be planted both in fall or spring, as long as it doesn’t freeze.

  • Cytisus doesn’t grow well in excessively chalky soil.
  • In a hedge, space plants at least 48 inches (120 cm) from each other.
  • It will feel great both as a hedge and as as a standalone.
  • Refer to our guidelines for planting shrubs

Note that some Cytisus species are invasive in the Americas. Here are the best alternative broom shrubs that can be planted instead.

Pruning and caring for cytisus

Cytisus is so easy to care for, that it requires very little work and you can forget about it completely. Its magnificent blooming will remind you it’s still there, though!

How to prune cytisus

Cytisus doesn’t need to be pruned or trimmed, but you can, however, remodel its shape from time to time.

Prune the sprigs of the year when the flowers have died off the cytisus.

You can also reshape your cytisus to a nice shape just after the blooming, cutting back more drastically.

Watering cytisus

As regards watering, the first year is the only year where regular watering is needed.

Indeed, cytisus is a shrub that doesn’t fear high temperatures.

A cytisus growing in a pot nonetheless needs more attention as regards watering.

Learn more about Cystisus

Common cytisus with red spots on normally yellow petalsCytisus bears flowers abundantly and it is very colorful, a real ball of golden fire for the most part of spring.

Its growth is relatively fast and it adapts well to most soil and climate types.

Cytisus only live for a few years, 5 to 7 at most, which means they require replacing after this short span of time.

You easily prepare cuttings in summer to multiply your plants, which is a great way to replace the mother plant regularly.

Plants easily confused with Cytisus

Even though the color and bearing is similar to those of scotch laburnum, they’re both different shrubs.

Another broom that resembles this plant very closely is French broom.

However, Cytisus, specifically the Cytisus scoparius species, is exactly the same thing as Scotch broom. Scotch broom is a species within the wider Cytisus (or broom shrub) family.

Properties and traditional use

Cytisus sprigs are used in the pharmaceutical industry. Sparteine is extracted from Scot’s broom. This compound has properties that help regulate heart activity.

The most common Cytisus varieties:

  • This Cytisus praecox variety is white-floweredCytisus praecox ‘Albus’ white flowers, shown in nearest picture
  • Cytisus beani – intense yellow blooming (Bean’s broom)
  • Cytisus purpureus – purple colored
  • Cytisus kewensis – creamy-white color
  • Cytisus scoparius – gold yellow (Scot’s broom or Scotch broom, invasive in America)
  • Cytisus multiflorus – white flowers (Spanish broom)

Formerly part of the Cytisus family, French broom is now classified as Genista monspessulana, but it’s definitely a wonderful broom shrub (also a bit invasive, though).

Smart tip about cytisus

In order to protect roots from the cold in winter, go natural and mulch the foot of the tree with plant-based mulch.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Thick cover of flowers by Axel Kristinsson under © CC BY 2.0
Rare red on C. scoparius by Roland Tanglao under © CC BY 2.0
White cytisus by Leonora Enking under © CC BY-SA 2.0