Content Detail

Dyer’s greenweed is a small deciduous shrub with green, upright, twiggy stems. It is a good plant for hot, dry sites such as rock gardens. Prefers acidic, well-drained soil and thrives in nutritionally poor soils. The bright yellow flowers appear from June through September and are used as a dye.

  • Family (English) Pea
  • Family (botanic) Fabaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Dry soil, Sandy soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late spring, early summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Upright
  • Growth rate Slow

Size & Form:

Dyer’s greenweed is an upright, twiggy shrub reaching 2 to 3 feet high.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This plant is native to Europe, Asia, and the  Mediterranean.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

Butterflies and bees are attracted to this shrub.

Bark color and texture: 

The bright green twiggy stems can add winter interest.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are produced in an alternate pattern and are bright green in color. They are 1-inch long and the narrow leaves are elliptical with pointed tips.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are bright yellow and 1-inch long.  Flowers grow on erect racemes and sporadically flower throughout the summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:  

The fruit is a 1/2 to 3/4 inch long pod.

Plant care:

Dyer’s greenweed grows best in full sun and well-drained, acidic soil. It is tolerant of light sandy to medium loamy soils. Thrives on neglect and in nutritionally poor soil. Does not transplant well. Flowers on new growth. Pruning after flowering will encourage a second flush of flowers.

Pests, diseases and tolerances:

It is intolerant of salt or wet soils but doesn’t mind windy sites.

Bangle Dyer’s greenweed (Genista lydia ‘Select’):

This variety grows 2 to 3 feet high, forming a low mounded shrub with electric yellow flowers.

Flora-Pleno Dyer’s Greenweed (Genista ‘Plena’):

This is a dwarf, semi-prostrate shrub with brilliant yellow flowers.


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