Content Detail

Siberian pea-shrub is a hardy, sun-loving, large shrub which is tolerant of drought, wind, deer, and varying soil conditions. Prized for its light green, fern-like foliage and bright yellow spring flowers.

  • Family (English) Pea
  • Family (botanic) Fabaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Compact tree (10-15 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Dry soil, Moist, Sandy soil, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Mounded, Multi-stemmed, Open, Oval, Round, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast, Moderate

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Siberian pea-shrub is native to Siberia and China.

Attracts birds & butterflies: 

Butterflies are attracted to the yellow flowers.

Bark color and texture: 

Stems are green in youth, aging to a light brown. The angular stems are tipped with small spines.

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

Alternate, pinnately compound leaves have 1 to 3 inch leaflets. The leaflets are round to elliptical and light, bright green in summer changing to yellow in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Bright yellow, 1/2 to 1 inch pea-shaped flowers bloom in mid-spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

A yellow-green cylindrical, 1 to 2 inch long, narrow pod that changes to brown with age. Pods make a popping sound as they open.

Plant care:

An erect to oval shrub or small tree reaching 15 to 20 feet high and 12 to 18 feet wide. Best for sunny, hot dry sites. Heat and cold tolerant, it is good for poor sites. Regular pruning is required to keep plants in bound. Cut stems back to ground to rejuvenate. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

None serious. Siberian pea-shrub is tolerant of heat, wind, cold, salt, and poor soils.

Russian pea-shrub  (Caragana frutex):

An upright suckering shrub that reaches 6 to 10 feet high. Slender stems have small spines. Bright yellow 1 inch pea-shaped flowers appear in clusters in mid to late spring. Native to Turkestan and Siberia.



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