January 1, 2013
A garden event I look forward to every year is when the winter cassia begins blooming. Wherever it’s planted in the landscape the tropical looking flowers are sure to create winter interest. Winter cassia is certainly one of those show-stopping plants, especially considering the prolific blooms in the winter season. This specimen is a fantastic example of the impact of winter cassia. Imagine sitting on the porch on a cool day and enjoying the mass of bright yellow flowers. Beginning in November the flowers are displayed in spike-like clusters, each having up to 12 individual blossoms. The clusters form towards the branch tips. Planting in the full sun will reward you with the best flower production. Each individual flower has five petals and is almost an inch and a half in diameter. Even the center of the flower is elegant. The curves of the pistil and stamens add to the flower’s beauty. The compound foliage is interesting and consists of three to five pairs of oval shaped leaflets. The foliage is a deep green in the summer, but with falling temperatures these leaflets display a greenish-yellow. Winter cassia should be considered a hardy perennial into at least zone 8, and will freeze back and regrow the following spring. With winter cassia for our landscapes, who says we don’t have great fall and winter color in Mississippi. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.