Pea shrub Siberian Caragana_arborescens“Underwhelming” is probably the best adjective to describe this extremely hardy plant. Neither the small yellow-pea like flowers nor the pods or leaves will probably excite you, but if you need a tough plant tolerant of salt, wind, poor, dry soil, or extreme cold, you might want to consider this small tree or shrub. And not only does it tolerate poor soil, it actually improves it by fixing nitrogen, as other members of the pea family do. Its upright, multi-stemmed, columnar habit and bright green leaves make it a good choice for a screen, informal hedge, or windbreaker as well as for borders and containers. Several cultivars with attractive characteristics have been developed.  The genus name, Caragana, is the Latinized version of the Mongolian name for the genus.  The specific epithet, arborescens, is the the Latin word meaning woody.

Type: Deciduous shrub or small tree

Outstanding Feature: Tough, easy to grow and tolerant of adverse conditions

Form: Upright, multi-stemmed, spreading to columnar

Growth Rate: Medium to fast

Bloom: Small, yellow, pea-like flowers in late spring

Size: 10- 20’H x 10-20’ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Tolerates wide range of soils

Hardiness: Zones 2-7

Care: Shear occasionally to encourage dense growth

Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to canker and leaf hoppers

Propagation: Seed; cuttings; grafting

Outstanding Selections:


    • (dwarf with contorted branches)


    (graceful, fine textured).

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By Karen