Not sure if scotch broom is growing/needs to be pruned

Asked May 22, 2019, 11:33 AM EDT

I planted a scotch broom last summer just after bloom and it thrived very well and grew quite a bit. Now this spring it is brown and only has a little bit of new green leaves near the base. Should it have flowered by now? I feel like the stems are dead and I want to cut it back but I read about pruning it and I know to wait until after it flowers. But I'm starting to think it's not going to.... Leave it or cut it back? Thank you!

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response


Scotch broom, Cytisis species, is considered an invasive weed in the west USA, and an ornamental in other areas. In some areas of eastern USA it is considered invasive.

Severe cold can kill the stems of this shrub, and it regrows from the base. It is said to bloom from March through June. My reference says it blooms on old wood, so if you want flowers, leave some older stems for now to see if they will bloom. If not, and we continue to have severe cold spells like we did this past winter, you may not get flowers. In fall it may be worth trying to cover it with a mound of dry leaves, straw, or mulch as you would a tender shrub like hydrangea or some hybrid roses, in an effort to protect the flower buds on the stems over winter.


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