Ulex (Gorse)


Despite its common nature, Gorse makes an excellent garden plant, especially on poor dry soils, in coastal gardens and areas of high pollution.

Family: Fabaceae (legume family)
Botanical Name: Ulex
Common Names: Furze, gorse, thorn broom, whin

Foliage: Small, evergreen, sparse leaves, on dense spiny branches.

Flowers: Bright yellow, fragrant, pea-like flowers, often followed by black seed pods.

Flowering Period: Spring (March to May) or autumn, depending on variety.

Soil: Well-drained, poor, sandy soil. Acid to neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun. Can be grown in any aspect, in either an exposed or sheltered location.

Habit: Bushy.

Type: Medium sized shrub.

Origin: Europe

Hardiness: Hardy in all regions of the UK.

Planting and Growing Ulex

Plant outside in autumn or early spring. Container grown plants can be planted out at any reasonable time of year.

For the best show of flowers, grow in a poor sandy soil, in full sun. The plants will become drawn and leggy on rich fertile soils and not flower well.

Low maintenance and drought resistant. Good for coastal and city gardens.

Can be used to create a dense impenetrable hedge.

Taking Care of Ulex

Water during dry weather until well established. Do not over fertilise.

Pruning Ulex

Pruning is not normally necessary except to shape or restrict growth. To keep the plants neat and compact, give then a trim every few years or so after the flowers have faded, usually around end of May.

Gorse is extremely spiny so wear gloves and protective clothing when pruning.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free.

Propagating Ulex

Increase by seed or take semi-hardwood cuttings in summer.

Popular Varieties of Ulex

Ulex europaeus (common gorse) has bright yellow flowers from March to May. Height from 7 to 10ft (2 to 3m).

Ulex europaeus 'Flore Pleno' (Syn. 'Plenus') is a dwarf, semi-double form with deep yellow spring flowers. Height and spread to 5ft (1.5m).

Ulex gallii (western gorse) is a compact autumn-flowering form. Height and spread from 5 to 8ft (1.5 to 2.5m).