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Genista aetnensis (Mount Etna Broom)

One of the most distinctive small trees that can be grown in Britain. For visitors to the tropics, it’s like a smaller version of the Australian Sheoak or Casuarina. Technically deciduous, the leaves are so tiny as to be inconspicuous but the many tiny branches are green and seem to do most of the necessary photosynthesis. Light, airy and slightly exotic.

It grows on the exposed slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily and therefore needs masses of light and pretty well drained soil but doesn’t mind a bit of wind.

Can grow to 15ft after 10 years but tends to have a somewhat recumbent posture with a broad rounded head. Masses of nice smelly yellow flowers in midsummer.

Nice specimens by the Walnut Tree pub in North Mundham near Chichester and down Chantry Lane in Storrington – both in West Sussex.

Propagated by us from seed.

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

Hardiness traffic light green

Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.