Pruning Scotch Broom (Cytisus)

botanophile's picture

Any suggestions for pruning Scotch broom (Cytisus)?  They are so beautiful the first few years:  compact, bushing up from the ground.  Then they get leggy and start to topple over.  I've looked in lots of books, back issues of Fine Gardening and Horticulture, etc. with no luck.  I garden in SE Conn, zone 6.

Astrid's picture

(post #8865, reply #1 of 6)

I just read something which talked about pruning from the inside out, removing branches at the trunk. This prevents the top heavy problem of trimming off the top, which can result in the plant falling over or splitting because all new growth is at the top and gets too heavy.

New Mexico home organic gardener

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. Emerson

New Mexico home organic gardener Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. Emerson
growinNlearning's picture

(post #8865, reply #3 of 6)

Hi Astrid,


Many thanks for the tips offered.  I've one that is pink, in a big pot outdoor.  This survived fine in zone 7b where I live.  I've noticed some yellow of some center-grow leave stalks.  I now know what to do.  This cultivar does not produce seeds.  And having it in container It isn't spreading any where.  Love this plant.

the country gardener's picture

(post #8865, reply #2 of 6)

Around here we prune them with Roundup or a torch.  They are a very aggressive non-native invasive, taking over in most environmental niches west of the Cascades from Northern California up into Canada.


That said, there are ornamental vartieties that are not a problem, and the pruning for them is the same as for Scotch. Prune back stems that have flowered to half their length, cutting to a side branch or to new growth that is just emerging. Thin out weak, crowded and dead stems.  If the plant is already leggy and overgrown you can't really rejuvenate them by cutting back hard.  Either prune out excess branches and twigs to accentuate its open form or remove it and start again. 


Please check with local folks first to see if this plant is invasive in your neck of the woods.  If it is, kill it and shop for safe species. Thanks.


Marty


"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

Marty

"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

botanophile's picture

(post #8865, reply #4 of 6)

Where I am in coastal CT, it is most certainly NOT invasive.  Severe winters can often kill them off here.  I've never seen seedlings from my broom, even tho it does develop seeds.   Nature is certainly interesting how one ecosystem's bane is a delicate ornamental in another! 

the country gardener's picture

(post #8865, reply #5 of 6)

Nature is indeed an interesting lady.  I rather figured your environment might not prove itself welcome to broom which is why I felt comfortable offering pruning advice on it (with the caveat of course).  You might look for some of the named varieties of Cytisus scoparius (sterile Scotch Broom derivatives).  'Pomona' is red, 'Lord Lambourne' is red and creamy yellow, 'Dorothy Walpole' is rose and red, 'Lilac Time' is lilac, and 'Munstead' is white flushed with lilac and purple. Sorry, I don't know of any sources for your neck of the woods, though Hortist might 

Marty


"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

Marty

"The plants have been good to us."  Lester Hawkins

botanophile's picture

(post #8865, reply #6 of 6)

mine is a "Moonlight" variety; pale yellow with a beautiful scent...


Now I know where the Scotch broom the florists use comes from!  Out here, they use it for greenery in flower arrangements, and I could never figure out why anyone would cut the branches without the flowers.