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GARDEN Q & A

Where to Find Brooms

August 16, 1987|ROBERT SMAUS

Q: I am interested in planting brooms, particularly the larger varieties such as Genista aethensis , G. hispanica and Cytisus praecox . I have heard that those three grow in Southern California , but I've been unable to find them at any of the nurseries. Can you give me a source? -- D.M., Pasadena

A: Brooms should do well in Southern California because many are native to the Mediterranean, which has a climate similiar to ours. Several brooms have, in fact, become naturalized in California. Spanish broom ( Spartium junceum ) and Canary Island broom ( Cytisus canariensis )--both with bright yellow pea-like flowers--are noxious weeds in the chaparral and in the garden. Of the many brooms, Cytisus praecox , the Warminster broom, is the only one available at nurseries, but rarely. Its cultivar, 'Moonlight,' with creamy yellow flowers, can be ordered from Wayside Gardens (Hodges, S.C. 29695-0001). Siskyou Rare Plant Nursery (2825 Cummings Road, Medford, Ore. 97501) carries a number of the smaller Genistas , but I know of no source for the taller kinds. Brooms would undoubtedly be more popular if not for the genista worm, which eats leaves and stems.

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