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Privet Senna


Native Garden

​​​​​Privet Senna

Senna ligustrina

  • Common name: Privet senna
  • Scientific name: Senna ligustrina
  • Family name: Fabaceae
  • Origin: Southeast US
  • Height: 4 to 8 ft
  • Width: 3 to 6 ft
  • Growth: Fast
  • Zone: USDA Zones 9 through 11
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • Salt tolerance: Low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Prefers a well-drained sandy soil with a circumneutral pH between 6.0 and 7.5.
  • Moisture: Low water needs. Once established, it will not need regular watering.
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Pests/Diseases: No pests or diseases are of particular concern. Cloudless sulphur and sleepy orange butterfly caterpillars will eat the leaves, but this will not seriously affect an established plant.
  • Growing conditions: It should grow in a warm, sunny area. It is a low-maintenance plant, needing little watering once established. It does well in nutrient-poor soil, although adding organic content will improve its growth. Make sure to leave plenty of room, as it is a fast grower that may achieve its full height within a growing season.
  • Characteristics: This plant grows into a large, leggy shrub. It usually has several woody, trunk-like stems from which the smaller, more flexible green stems will branch out from. The compound leaves are alternately arranged. Each leaf is made up of numerous, pointed leaflets. The flowers grow in clusters and are buttery yellow with five petals. The fruits are narrow, brown pods which contain seeds.
  • Propagation: By seed.
  • Wildlife: Caterpillars of the cloudless sulphur and sleepy orange butterflies eat the leaves. The flowers attract butterflies and bees.
  • Facts: This plant occurs naturally in hammocks and disturbed areas.
  • Designer considerations: Since it is a butterfly host plant, it is an excellent choice for butterfly and native plant gardens. It looks best when surrounded by shorter plants, especially plants with different colored flowers. ​​