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Broom, from the legume family, is popular mainly because of the shape of its flowers and their variety of colors. It is very robust and easy to care for, flowers beautifully and requires little work. In addition to the real broom (Genista), 'false' species of other genera (Bullflower, Ulex, Spartium)) are also offered under the trivial name 'Broom', but these are only very distantly related to the real broom. Accordingly, the question arises as to how hardy gorse is.

How hardy is broom?

The genuine broom (Genista) includes numerous wild forms as well as a large number of attractive cultivated forms. They are all very frost tolerant. The other so-called 'fake' broom species are usually only partially hardy. In addition to broom (Cytisus scoparius) and gorse (Ulex europaeus), they also include rush or Spanish broom (Spartium junceum) and thorn broom (Calicotome spinosa). The respective winter hardiness or cold tolerance depends on the origin. Accordingly, 'fake' broom species originally from the Mediterranean region are much more sensitive to cold than those of northern origin.

tip: Both the varieties of genuine broom and the 'fake' species are considered to be highly toxic, even if they differ in the composition of the ingredients. The toxin concentration is also different.

Frost protection for real gorse

The range of broom (Genista) extends from Poland to Scandinavia. So it is not surprising that varieties of this genus are completely hardy and usually survive the winter at home without any problems. As a rule, older, planted specimens in particular do not require any special winter protection. Only young or newly planted ones should be provided with winter protection in the form of a light covering of leaves or fir twigs.

Syrian broom, Genista lydia

Protect 'false' species from frost


As already mentioned, not all broom species have the same winter hardiness. Broom (Cytisus scoparius), which like the many-flowered and ivory broom belongs to the genus Geissklee, comes from the Mediterranean region and is therefore only partially hardy. Nevertheless, it is in hardiness zone 6b, which means that it is hardy to -20.5 °C with appropriate protection. In the case of prolonged, severe frosts, however, it can happen that young plants in particular freeze back. After removing the frozen shoots in spring, the plant usually sprouts again without any problems.

Common broom, Cytisus scoparius

rush gorse

  • Spartium junceum
  • Also known as Aphrodisiac
  • More sensitive to wet and cold
  • Not fully hardy in Germany
  • Moves into hardiness zone Z8
  • Tolerates temperatures from -6.7°C to -12.3°C
  • It is best to only plant outdoors in mild locations
  • Cover with leaves or brushwood to protect against frost
  • In harsh locations with severe winters, keep only in a bucket if possible
  • Overwinter bright and cool or frost-free
Broom, Spartium junceum


The winter hardiness of gorse (Ulex europaeus) is also limited. As a rule, it tolerates temperatures down to -15 °C. Nevertheless, winter protection is recommended in severe frosts or in hardiness zones 6-9. Above all, gorse should be protected from frost. A cover with dry leaves, which optimally protects the shoots at the base, is also suitable for this. An additional cover with brushwood can be useful. It is quite possible that one or the other young shoot will freeze to death in winter, especially if the plant was radically pruned too late in the year, for example in late autumn. Exactly these shoots can then be removed close to the ground in spring.

Gorse, Ulex europaeus

tip: Especially gorse has a special feature. Its green branches contain oils that can easily catch fire in hot summer months.

thorn gorse

With its wonderfully fragrant, yellow flowers, the deciduous, thorny, branched thorn broom (Calicotome) belongs to a small genus with only three species. In regions with mild winters in winter hardiness zone Z8, with temperatures of -6.7 °C to -12.3 °C, this species gets through the cold season well with winter protection from leaves or brushwood. In colder locations, it is advisable to keep it in a bucket and spend the winter in a bright and cool place. This can be done both indoors and, with appropriate protection, outdoors.

Thorn broom, Calicotome spinosa

Winter protection for specimens in tubs

  • Generally protect young plants and specimens in tubs from frost
  • The roots need protection
  • Can quickly freeze to death without winter protection
  • Overwinter particularly sensitive plants frost-free
  • Ideally at temperatures between five and ten degrees
  • Hibernation of less sensitive specimens, with protection also outdoors
  • First place the bucket away from the ground in a sheltered place
  • Preferably in front of a warm house wall
  • Additionally wrap with fleece or other insulating materials
  • Do not let the substrate dry out completely, even in winter

tip: In contrast to plants in beds, those in tubs can easily be trimmed in late autumn. But then they should overwinter frost-free.

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