This is a genus of about 50 shrubs and a number of cultivars that are grown mainly for their flowers. These are often in vibrant colours, especially yellow, which shine out across the garden like a beacon. The flowers are typically pea flower-shaped and either flower all along the stems, making a real splash of colour, or, more subtly, clustered in a group at the end of a shoot.
The flowering season varies from spring to late summer. An added bonus is that many are also scented. The foliage varies, some are almost leafless and are therefore not particularly interesting when out of flower, while others have a much more dense foliage. Many are small and most rarely get taller than 1.2m (5ft) and are suitable for small gardens and even a rock garden. Most need hardly any pruning except to keep their shape, but you should never cut back into old wood as this will not regenerate. Cytisus will grow on most soils and are useful on dry ones. The seed, and other parts for that matter, can cause stomach upsets if they are eaten.