Scotch Broom – Very Invasive Ornamental Looking Flowering Plant

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Scotch Broom is an ornamental looking flowering plant that is very invasive. Scotch Broom is not hard to miss because it grows to heights of 6-12 feet and forms a very dense brush. This plant diminishes animal habitat, shades out and kills native plants, and is so dense that birds like quail cannot get into it for nesting. It takes over:

  • Roadsides
  • Pastures
  • Streams & other Waterways
  • Native Grasslands
  • And most other disturbed areas

Note: A disturbed area can include anywhere where trees are removed or ground is shuffled around for any landscaping of building purposes.


Scotch Broom produces an enormous amount of seeds that have a hard coating enabling them to survive from 60-80 years in the environment. In other words, they are very resistant and can wait for the right time (or generation) to begin their assault. A single bush can produce up to 60 pods with each pod containing 5-8 seeds.

Native to & Distribution:

Scotch Broom is native to all of Europe. It can now also be found in North America, Chile, India, Iran, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Widespread distribution into North America occurred because this flowering plant was originally brought over from Europe as an ornamental and as a soil binder along roadsides.

Scotch Broom   Very Invasive Ornamental Looking Flowering Plant

Scotch Broom   Very Invasive Ornamental Looking Flowering Plant

Scotch Broom is well suited to invasive dispersion into many environments. This plant tolerates a wide range of soils, and will grow most of the year if the temperatures are mild with adequate precipitation. Scotch broom seeds can be carried long distances by vehicles, by gravel hauled from rivers, transported by birds and animals, or even carried by the wind after the pods have exploded.

Controlling Scotch Broom:

Once established, Scotch Broom is hard to get rid of without great effort. You options are:

Physical Methods: When the plants are small (& the soil moist) you can pull out the entire plant by hand. Larger plants will have to be pulled using tools of somekind because they are just too large and dense. Note: If you leave the roots about half of them will re-sprout.

Thermal Control: This may sound dramatic but some people resort to flame throwers or other weed burners to kill Scotch Broom. The cleared area will still need to be finished off physically removing or by spraying herbicides.

Biological Control: The best one tried in North America is allowing goats to graze the land. Insects are effective in Native Europe but are still experimental in North America and other regions.

Chemical Control: Spot herbicides applied to the stems or cut stumps have proven effective. Various broadcast herbicides can be effective in controlled circumstances. Check with a local county extension agent or Master Gardener program to get advice first.

Scotch Broom is actually a very attractive flowering plant, but… Buyer beware! It can take over your property as well as surrounding properties.