Common name: Feathery cassia
Origin: Native to the arid regions of Australia
Where it will grow: Hardy to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (USDA zone 8; find your zone)
Water requirement: Low
Light requirement: Full, reflected sun to light shade
Mature size: 6 to 8 feet tall and wide
Benefits and tolerances: Drought tolerant once established, but does best when watered once a week in summer and every two weeks in spring and fall; water once a month in winter
Seasonal interest: Fragrant, yellow flowers in winter and spring
When to plant: Spring and fall; can be grown from seed or transplants
Shown: Feathery cassia growing underneath a sweet acacia tree
Flowers are borne in clusters that cover this shrub in masses of golden-yellow color in winter and spring. The pea-like flowers aren’t just beautiful; they are fragrant too.
This shrub has a lovely rounded shape when allowed to grow to its natural size. However, it can be informally pruned using hand pruners to control its size. Unlike many flowering desert shrubs, feathery cassia does well when sheared once a year after flowering has finished. This is often done to remove the seedpods, which some find unattractive.
Shown: Desert cassia (Senna nemophila)
To add contrasting textures to the landscape, pair feathery cassia with succulents such as agave or prickly pear, which have thick leaves and pads that show off the lacy foliage of this shrub to great effect.
Feathery cassia looks best in informal landscapes — it does not lend itself to formal hedging.
Shown: A newly planted landscape with feathery cassia, Valentine bush and purple trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis)
This lacy shrub is not fussy and does not require supplemental fertilizer or soil amendments.
Allow enough room for it to grow to its full size, so you won’t need to repeatedly prune it throughout the year. Prune once flowering has ended to remove the seedpods, if desired. Avoid pruning more than once a year, so you don’t remove the flower buds that begin to form in August.
More: 6 Flowers for Gorgeous Winter Garden Color