Maintaining yellow bladder shrub, Colutea arborescens properly

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yellow bladder shrub - Colutea arborescens

In the natural garden, the yellow bladder shrub impressively demonstrates how ecology and aesthetics go hand in hand. With a lavish flowering in bright yellow followed by decorative legumes in the fall, the ornamental shrub pleases insects, birds and gardeners alike. The Colutea arborescens is so frugal that it thrives as a pioneer even under barren conditions. The only downer is the poison content of its leaves and seeds. How to properly care for the Yellow Bladder Shrub is explained in the following lines.


In the creative garden design, a yellow bladder shrub undertakes a variety of tasks. So it blends harmoniously into a mixed hedge, thanks to its sociability. In addition, he is there where it is necessary to attach a steep embankment. As a result of its deep-rooted tap roots, nothing slips so fast here. His graceful silhouette also qualifies the Colutea arborescens as a magnificent solitaire, which attracts everyone's attention. If the site conditions still meet its low demands, the shrub will fulfill all the expectations set in it.
  • Sunny situation up to the light partial shade
  • Damming summer heat is tolerated
  • Slight wind exposure is acceptable
Located in southern Europe, the bladder shrub also favors hot garden areas in the local regions without cold draft. This preference does not detract from his winter hardiness, as he has dropped off his foliage dress at this time of year.

soil quality

If you give the ornamental wood a full sun, he feels very at home when the soil is as follows:
  • Sandy, dry and with a little clay
  • Low in nutrients and humic
  • Of high permeability
  • Ideal is a pH greater than 7
In a permanently moist or even acidic soil the yellow bladder shrub will not unfold its beauty. Especially in compacted soil, its taproots do not penetrate and the woodland comes in.

Pouring and fertilizing

In order to properly care for a yellow bladder shrub, the utmost restraint regarding the water and nutrient balance applies. A well-established wood is content with the natural rainfall. During summer drought periods should be watered, however, so that the plant is not under drought stress. A fixed fertilization plan is not necessary. If you are already out and about with a wheelbarrow compost in the garden, the Colutea arborescens is happy about a portion. In August, the supply of nutrients ends so that the shrub can mature before the winter. If there is a nutrient overfeeding in late summer, further branches drift off, whose soft tissue freezes with the first frost. This process weakens the shrub in its entirety and makes it susceptible to diseases and pests.
Tip: A start fertilization in March / April in the form of compost, cattle manure and horn shavings promotes the vitality of a yellow bladder.

To cut

Thanks to its uncomplicated care, the bladder shrub is often settled in public parks and facilities. Here, its visual appearance suffers significantly within a few years, because a central aspect is disregarded. The ornamental wood develops an attractive stature only, if it is granted a pruning in the year. Otherwise, it spreads in all directions, continues to lignify and shrinks from the inside out. As a result, the beautiful lip flowers thrive only solitary and isolated on the branch tips. In the well-kept hobby garden, the Colutea arborescens will not suffer such a fate, because here he gets a cut in early spring. Pruning the summer flower immediately after flowering is a considerable disadvantage for two reasons: A later pruning causes autumnal sprouts, which will freeze in winter. The magnificent legumes should not be removed because they adorn the shrub even during the cold season. How To Cut A Yellow Bladder Shrub Expertly:
  • The weather is frost-free, dry and overcast
  • The cutting tool is freshly ground and disinfected
  • Protect gloves from contact with the toxin content
  • Old, withered branches on the base
  • Cut into the shrub interior and cut off intersecting branches
  • Insofar as light and air reach all areas
  • Shorten too long shoots by a maximum of one third
As a rule of thumb for a spring cut is that a strong pruning causes intense budding and vice versa. As part of the proper cut is only to be noted that the scissors is always attached 2-3 mm above a bud. A slight inclination ensures that plant juice and rainwater run better. This prudence prevents a fungal infection.
Tip: The clippings of a yellow bladder are toxic to horses and should never be disposed of in a pasture.


If the successful care has aroused the desire for more copies of the Colutea arborescens, you have the choice of two methods of propagation:


If the poison content of the seeds does not frighten, collect them in the fall from the legumes or acquires the seed in specialty stores. The best time for sowing is early spring. Here's how to do it:
  • Fill small pots with Saaterde, Perlite or peat sand
  • Insert 1-2 seeds each about 1 cm deep
  • Moisten with water from the spray bottle without wetting the substrate
  • At the partially shady window seat expect germination at 20-25 degrees Celsius

yellow bladder shrub - Colutea arborescens

Within 1-3 weeks, the first leaflets develop, followed by more quickly. Keep the substrate slightly damp. If several seedlings thrive in the seed box, the weaker seedlings should be sorted out from a height of 5 cm. If the young plants have completely rooted the pot, they are planted in the bed.


A good time for the cuttings propagation is the early summer. Ideal are half lignified shoots with a length of 10-15 cm. That's how the offshoots turn into young bladder bushes:
  • Defile each clone in the lower half
  • Fill small pots with lean pike soil or unit earth (TKS1)
  • In each case use an offshoot with the defoliated part
  • Moisten the substrate and put a plastic bag over it
Set up in a partially shaded, warm place, each cuttings will develop their own root system. In this phase, the earth must not dry out. A fresh shoot signalizes the successful course of reproduction. The plastic bag is no longer required. Some sunshine hours a day are welcome to the young plant. When the culture vessel is fully rooted through, the bladder shrub is transplanted into a mixture of one third each of unit earth, perlite and sand. During the winter you can take care of it properly in the light or dark place at temperatures of 0-5 degrees Celsius. From time to time a sip of water prevents the earth from drying up. Next spring, plant a vital, robust Colutea arborescens in the bed.

Origin and description

The bladder shrub has its home in the Mediterranean and North Africa, but also found in this country in the wild. It grows up to five meters tall and blooms from May to the end of summer with golden yellow flowers. After pollination, legumes develop with the seeds, which can grow up to eight inches long. They are initially green, later turn slightly reddish and then become parchment-like.
These pods contain carbon dioxide and therefore look like inflated, which gave this plant its name. They often stay on the bush all winter long, so that even in this time for a beautiful decoration in the garden is taken care of. In strong winds, the pods are torn from the bush and carried to other locations, which spreads this plant further. Otherwise the pods will dry up over time and then release their seeds. Because the bladder shrub has a long flowering period, flowers and fruits are often seen on the bush at the same time.

Toxicity of the plant

The bladder shrub belongs to the poison plants and can cause problems in humans and animals. Its leaves and seeds contain light toxins that cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea when ingested. For households with small children or pets, the bladder shrub is therefore only partially suitable as an ornamental plant for the garden. Due to the unpleasant smell and the bitter taste of the seeds, children are only slightly endangered in this respect.
In the past, leaves and seeds were used in naturopathy because of their laxative effect for the treatment of constipation, but today they are no longer used.
The yellow bladder shrub provides convincing proof that the bond of nature and the gardening sense of beauty need not be excluded. In the spring, the woodland unfolds its bright yellow flowers, bumblebees, bees and butterflies cheer well into August. This is followed by the eye-catching legumes, which provide food for the birds during the cold season. With all these ecological advantages goes a magnificent appearance both as a solitary, as well as in the hedge. In return, a Colutea arborescens only expects a sunny, sandy-dry location and a bit of water in drought. In order to cultivate it properly, an annual cutback first becomes the focus. This measure keeps the ornamental wood in shape and always attracts again the charming flowers.

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