Lydia's Broom or Dwarf Broom

Asked May 25, 2015, 2:37 PM EDT

I live in South Lake Tahoe Calif. I know that the Brooms are very invasive and not advised in Calif. But what about the Lydia Broom? Can I plant it in Calif? I see it planted in Carson City NV just 40 miles from here, but maybe Nevada has different rules. Would love to try it in my sandy soil but don't want to if it is harmful to the environment. Thank you, Charmaine Pape

El Dorado County California

1 Response

Thank you for the question, Charmaine. It is nice to have concerned homeowners inquire about plants before they introduce them into the landscape.

Lydia's broom (Genista lydia) is also known as common woadwaxen or dyer's greenwood, although these common names typically refer to another broom (Genista tinctoria). The plant is native to Europe and western Asia and is considered a weed in Britain and the United States but does not appear on the noxious weed list of either California or Nevada. Noxious weeds are so designated by either federal or state statute or declaration and there are usually prohibitions on their planting, propagation, and importation. California does list one genus of Genista, Genista monspessulana , (French broom), as well as Cytisus scoparius , (Scotch broom), on its State Noxious Weed List. Nevada has neither plant listed ( http://plants.usda.gov/java/noxious?rptType=State&statefips=32 ) .

Since neither state specifically prohibit the planting or propagation of the plant you are interested in, Lydia's broom, you should be able to plant it without much difficulty. The Cornell Woody Plants Database states that the plant is a "low, spreading shrub" that "Thrives in hot sunny spots of low fertility" and "Can tolerate acid to alkaline soil (pH 5.0 to 8.0)". It will do best in moist, well drained soils but can tolerate occasional periods of dry soil.

Considering all of this information, with proper care and maintenance, you should be able to plant Lydia's broom and enjoy it in your landscape.

Please feel free to contact your local county extension office or this site again if you have any further questions.