Senna Artemisioides, usually known as the Silver Senna, Wormwood Senna, Feathery Cassia, or Silver Cassia, is a species of flowering plants in the Fabaceae family. This lovely plant is endemic to Australia and can be found growing in all arid territories and mainland states.
In cultivation, there are more than ten different subspecies of Feathery Cassia plants. However, it is quite difficult to classify these subspecies properly, as the process of hybridization between them is very common. The most popular specimens grown as ornamental houseplants worldwide include S. artemisioides subsp. artemisioides (Silver Cassia), S. artemisioides subsp. sturtii (Sturt’s Cassia), and S. artemisioides subsp. helmsii (Blunt-leaved Cassia).
About Feathery Cassia
- Their genus name “Senna” comes from the Arabic word “sanā” which is often used to describe plants that have laxative or purging effects on the human body.
- The specific epithet “artemisioides” refers to the Greek Goddess Artemis, whose statue was made from silver. This word is a representation of their silvery foliage.
- Thanks to their pleasant-looking flowers and interesting foliage, Feathery Cassia plants have gained the prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
- These colorful shrubs are seen pretty often in numerous landscape decorations from residential and commercial spaces as background plants, near borders and banks as flowering accent plants, and grouped in parks and open spaces.
- Besides the ornamental purposes, Feathery Cassia plants have wildlife value. Their fragrant flowers are known for their ability to attract butterflies, birds, and bees (which also pollinates them).
- Like all desert species, these plants grow well in full sunlight and warm temperatures. They can also tolerate cooler conditions and even some afternoon shade.
- Feathery Cassia shrubs are not picky and can grow in a wide range of well-draining soils. They thrive with little water and fertilizer.
- Senna artemisioides shrubs grow very fast, so they will need regular and light pruning to maintain a certain size or shape.
Feathery Cassia Features: An Overview
- These plants belong to the large Senna genus that contains about 260 to 350 species of flowering plants. It is a diverse genus that includes herbs, trees, and shrubs.
- Feathery Cassia is an evergreen shrub that can reach up to 9.8 feet (3 m) in height and also width. Most specimens grow only between 3 and 6 feet (0.9-1.8 m) tall and wide.
- They present a dark, strong, and rough bark at the very base. The bark becomes white and smoother at higher elevations.
- Their foliage is composed of leaves that are variable in size and appear on many erect and slender branchlets. They are divided into 4 to 8 pairs of needle-like to linear leaflets.
- All branchlets and leaves come along with short, white, and wooly to silky hairs. This feature gives them an elegant silvery shade on their greenish overall appearance.
- During their blooming period, from winter to spring, these plants exhibit an abundance of inflorescences almost entirely covered with
- The blooms of Feathery Cassia are borne in small clusters of 4 to 12 cup-shaped and bright yellow babies. In general, they grow about 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in diameter and have 5 overlapping petals.
- Their flowers are followed by flat and green fruit pods. They measure from 0.8 to 2.8 inches (2-7 cm) in length and turn dark brown when mature.
Growing Feathery Cassia
Feathery Cassia companions are good-looking and low-maintenance shrubs like any others, so they will not cause many problems along the way. However, these plants must experience only certain environmental conditions to grow healthy and happy. But you should not worry too much! As long as you pay attention to their basic demands, everything will go nice and smoothly.
When it comes to their light requirements, Feathery Cassia plants prefer to grow in locations where they can receive plenty of bright and direct sunlight. If planted in the garden, these shrubs will need at least six hours of full sunlight daily. Indoors, place your babies in the brightest location from your home, such as near south, west, or east-facing windows. If you live in a region with harsh summers, it is suggested you find a spot where they can be protected from direct sunlight in the afternoon.
Feathery Cassia plants are desert species that can tolerate even extremely hot temperatures. They can also withstand cooler temperatures that drop to 22 °F (-5.5 °C) for longer periods. Whether you grow these shrubs indoors or outdoors, they will grow just fine in any mid-cool to warm temperatures all-year-round. If you live in a region with frosty winters, it is better to grow your plants in pots and bring them inside once the temperatures get cooler.
Once in a while, your Feathery Cassia plants will be bothered by curious scale insects, mealybugs, or aphids. If you notice any sign of infestation, you can treat the unhealthy parts with rubbing alcohol, neem oil, or suitable insecticides/pesticides in severe cases.
Planting Feathery Cassia
Feathery Cassia plants must be planted in spring or autumn, then provided with deep watering right away. They can grow properly in almost any type of soil, but your plants will be comfortable in sandy and well-draining substrates.
These shrubs grow at a pretty fast pace, so they do not require fertilizer very often. If you want your Feathery Cassia plants to produce more flowers and healthy foliage, you can fertilize them in spring after the blooming season. Feed your plants with an all-purpose fertilizer designed for flowering plants according to package instructions once a year.
If you want to keep your Feathery Cassia plants in good shape, regular pruning may be necessary during and after the flowering period. The spent blooms can be removed from the branchlets to allow new ones to come with their mesmerizing fragrance. Moreover, you can also cut off old or unhealthy branchlets to encourage new growth for the year to come.
Watering Feathery Cassia
There is nothing more relieving than caring for desert species, as they are the most easy-going and drought-tolerant plants to have around! And you have guessed it right! Feathery Cassia plants are among those houseplants that can thrive with little water for a long time. However, they will need daily watering in the first year after planting, a period in which these shrubs try to accommodate to their new growing environment.
Like most shrubs, Feathery Cassia babies will benefit from watering once every week. They are susceptible to root rot, so you have to wait for the soil to dry out completely before the next watering to avoid waterlogging or any soggy conditions. During the hot summer months, your plants may require watering more frequently than usual. In winter, you should water these plants once or twice a month only to keep the soil from staying dry for too long. As long as you always check the soil in-between waterings, you cannot do something wrong to your shrubs.
Propagating Feathery Cassia
Have you already fallen in love with Feathery Cassia plants? Well, so did we! And we have some great news to share with you, especially if you are a beginner gardener. They can be propagated through seed sowing very fast and easy, so you have no reason to fear these beautiful shrubs.
Feathery Cassia seeds will respond better to propagation if they are collected from dried and open fruit pods. Once you remove the seeds, they must be treated with boiling water to encourage fast-growing. It is enough to let the seeds soak in boiling water for about 5 minutes before planting them. Usually, the seeds germinate right after the boiling treatment.
During this time, you can prepare the growing medium. Fill a pot or bed with suitable potting soil and, when the seeds are ready, sow them just above the substrate. As a general rule, the seedlings will grow faster if they are provided with full sunlight, warm temperatures, and regular watering. When the seedlings have developed a strong root system, you can transplant them in their individual pots or the garden in autumn.
If you want to spice things up, you can also propagate them using semi-hardwood cuttings, but this will require more effort on your part. Either way, you should know that even the most experienced growers can fail sometimes. This method will be successful if you are using cuttings from somehow hardened branches from the current season’s growth.
The Feathery Cassia cuttings must be planted in a well-draining substrate and provided with water once the soil feels dry to the touch. For optimal results, you can dip the cut part in rooting hormone before planting. If you place the container in a warm and well-lit location, your babies will have their new roots after a month or so.
We hope that we have convinced you to give Feathery Cassia plants a chance! And why wouldn’t you? They are absolutely stunning and can be grown both indoors and outdoors without much effort on your part. Also, thanks to their easy-going style, these flowering shrubbies will become friends with your other babies immediately.
Ready to start growing and propagating Senna Artemisioides? Let us know if you have any questions about these delightful shrubs!