white broom (Retama monosperma syn. Genista monosperma Where Lygos monosperma), also called retam blanc, is a shrub with a very elegant silhouette, native to the Mediterranean, more specifically the Canary Islands, the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. Its frost resistance is limited, but it can withstand -5 °C for a short period of time in dry soil.
Its thin stems, rather silky grey, flexible, arcuate, with a drooping habit, rather dense. They bear relatively few very green leaves which are deciduous, alternate, linear, finding them to be ephemeral as they fall quickly, after only a few days.
From February or March, depending on the region, small white flowers 1 cm long, moth-like, are collected in axillary racemes, compact, 3-4 cm long. They are fragrant with the aroma they emit.
Flowering is followed by fruiting in the form of a pod less than 2 cm long, pubescent, containing only one reniform yellow seed (“polysperm”). Be careful, the seeds contain a toxic alkaloid (cytisine) and should not be ingested.
Very popular with florists, white broom brings lightness, height and sophistication to the creation of bouquets. However, its poorly managed and sometimes mass planting to reinforce the dunes has led to it appearing on the list of invasive plants and being banned in Australia and the United States.
- Family: Papillon
- Type: deciduous shrub
- Origin: Canary Islands, Spain, Portugal, North Africa.
- Color: white flowers
- Seeding: yes
- Cutting: yes
- Fit: spring
- Flowering: February to May
- Height: up to 4 m (equivalent span)
Ideal soil and exposure for white broom
White broom is grown in a sunny place, protected from the wind, in light, poor, even calcareous and well-drained soil. It tolerates dry soils as well as sea spray, making it suitable for seaside gardens. With increasing drought due to climate change, this shrub may quickly become of more interest to us.
Date of sowing, pruning and planting white broom
It is in the spring that you will sow the seeds of white broom in pots under a cold greenhouse.
In summer, semi-woody cuttings are taken.
Planting is scheduled for spring, anticipating its further development.
Advice on the maintenance and culture of white broom
The white broom requires little maintenance and its size is not mandatory, but only if it proves necessary: in this case it will be necessary to intervene at the end of flowering without going back to the old wood.
Diseases, pests and parasites of white broom
White broom is not attacked by pests and is not susceptible to disease.
Location and favorable associations of white broom
It is a shrub that is grown in a shrub bed, in a loose hedge, in isolation, or even in a container for gardeners who only have a terrace.
Recommended types and varieties of Retama for planting in the garden
Genre retamawhose name comes from retama which in Spanish means “broom”, has only 4 types. In addition to the white broom (Retama monosperma), it exists Retama dasikarpaespecially found in Morocco as animal feed, Retama raetam with white flowers marked with a purple line, native to the Middle East but has become invasive in Australia, Retama spherocarp with yellow flowers native to the Iberian Peninsula, with diuretic medicinal properties and for the treatment of gastroenteritis.
It does not belong to the same genera as the Spanish broom (Spartium Younseum) or Scottish broom (Citis scoparius), but they have something in common.