Native to the Balkans, Turkey and Syria, this low growing shrub is evergreen in areas with warm winters and deciduous in areas with cold winters. It is a member of the pea family, Fabaceae, that also includes beans, mimosa and black locust. Plants grow 1-2′ tall and are multibranched, with arching stems and open form. The oval leaves are up to 1/2″ long, pinnately veined, and spaced about 1/2″ apart. Clusters of fragrant bright yellow pea-type flowers 0’4″ long appear in late spring and give way to flat, oblong, brown fruits containing 3-8 seeds and maturing in the fall. G. lydia is tolerant of poor soil, salt, heat, and drought and is an excellent choice for a xeriscape where it can be used as a specimen or ground cover, as well as in a garden border, foundation planting, rock garden, or fragrance garden. The genus name, Genista, is the Latin name for the plant known as broom. The specific epithet, lydia, refers to the ancient Iron Age kingdom in western Turkey.

Type: Flowering deciduous to evergreen shrub

Outstanding Feature: Fragrant flowers

Form: Arching, trailing

Growth Rate: Slow

Bloom: Clusters of fragrant, bright yellow flowers in late spring

Size: 1-2′ H x 2-3′ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average to poor, medium to dry, well-drained, alkaline; heat and drought tolerant

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Care: Low maintenance; prune immediately after flowering if necessary and never hard-prune.

Pests and Diseases: Generally healthy but susceptible to aphids, gall mites, honey fungus

Propagation: Seed, semi-hardwood cutting

Outstanding Selection:

Bangle (12″ tall)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

By Karen