Plant Form: Shrub

Water Use: Very low

Mature Size: 2-3 ft. tall x 2-4 ft. wide

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom Time: Spring (April – May), Summer (June – July)

Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 15°F

Native to: California, Arizona, Nevada, Baja California

Desert Senna is one of those surprising plants that almost disappears into the landscape until it bursts into bloom with an explosion of flowers that can cover almost every inch of the plant. Most of the year, Desert Senna is a tight collection of erect green and gray stems that add vertical texture to the landscape but fool many people into thinking it is dead. Its small leaflets in two to four pairs drop off soon after emerging, leaving its spine-tipped branches naked most of the year. Occasional water will tease out leaves again, but make sure not to overwater, and plant only in soil with excellent drainage. The bright yellow, fragrant blossoms from late spring to early summer attract butterflies, moths, other pollinators, and photographers. Desert Senna adds spring color in a native or xeric garden, dry washes, butterfly and wildlife gardens, and rock gardens.


Good month to sit back and enjoy your garden, few choices besides watering and grooming.

  • Walk irrigation lines to check for clogs, leaks, and breaks
  • Deadhead spent flowers, trim off dead flowering stems (save any seeds for replanting)
  • Continue deep-watering trees and shrubs once a month
  • Keep adding to mulches to conserve water, keep soils and roots cool, and reduce frequency of watering