How to Grow Anthyllis Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Jupiter's beard, Kidney Vetch, and Lady's Finger

The hardy perennial Anthyllis typically flowers in the late spring.Jupiter’s beard are low growing plants.

Kidney Vetch - Anthyllis

USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 360.

Description of Anthyllis

They have flowers of pink or red clover like flowers, and erect fern like leaves.

Anthyllis make ideal plants for a rockery, for use in between crazy paving and as an edging flower for borders.

Anthyllis Plant Species

Anthyllis vulneraria - Kidney Vetch

Anthyllis vulneraria is a perennial. It grows to about 1 foot (30 cm) tall. It features pinnate leaves and clusters of yellow flowers.

Anthyllis vulneraria
Anthyllis vulneraria (Kidney Vetch) photograph by Roberto Verzo, CC.

This plant thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. Kidney Vetch is ideal for rock gardens and use as a ground cover.

Anthyllis barba-jovis - Jupiter's Beard

Anthyllis barba-jovis is a shrub. Jupiter's Beard reaches a height of 3 feet (90 cm). It produces silvery leaves and clusters of yellow flowers.

Plants prefer a location with full sun and well-drained soil. It is perfect for borders, rock gardens, or seaside gardens due to its salt tolerance.

Anthyllis montana - Mountain Kidney Vetch

Anthyllis montana is a perennial. It grows to 12 inches (30 cm) tall. Mountain Kidney Vetch has fine feathery leaves, and carries clusters of pink flowers.

It loves to grow in full sun and requires a well-drained soil. It is ideal for rock gardens, borders, and as a ground cover.

Anthyllis cytisoides - Mediterranean Kidney Vetch

Anthyllis cytisoides is a shrub. It grows to 3 feet 4 inches (1 meter) tall. It bears greyish-green leaves, and clusters of yellow flowers.

Mediterranean Kidney Vetch thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It is a great choice for xeriscaping, borders, or seaside gardens. This pkant is known to be both drought and salt tolerant.

How to Grow Anthyllis Species

It is best to sow Anthyllis just below the soil at a depth of around 0.5 cm (0.2 inches), with a spacing of approximately 30 to 60 centimeters (one to two feet).

Jupiter’s beard / Kidney vetch / Lady’s finger should be sown out in the autumn. Anthyllis prefers to be grown in part shady of fully sunlit conditions.

The soil type can be poor but it should be dry with good drainage; ideally the pH of the soil should be between 5 and 6.

When starting Anthyllis off from seed indoors, the seeds should first be soaked overnight in luke warm water.

It takes approximately one to two months to germinate.

The Anthyllis seedlings should be planted outside in either the autumn or spring.

Quick Anthyllis Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Anthyllis
  • Common Names: Kidney Vetch, Lady's Fingers.
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 5-9. RHS Hardiness Rating: H5 (Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters).
  • Best Used For / Garden Location: Excellent for rock gardens, gravel gardens, and alpine plantings. Thrives in a sunny location.
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial / Herbaceous.
  • Plant Height: 6-18 inches (15-45 cm).
  • Plant Spread: 6-18 inches (15-45 cm).
  • Blooms: Late Spring to Summer.
  • Flower Details: Bright yellow, red, or white flowers that are small and fluffy.
  • Leaf Foliage: Silver-green, feathery leaves.
  • Fruit: Small, hairy legume.
  • Best Light Conditions: Full sun.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained, sandy, or chalky soils, poor soil is tolerated.
  • Sowing, planting: Sow seeds in a cold frame in spring. Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle.
  • Germination time: 2-4 weeks at 70°F (21°C).
  • Propagation: By seeds or root cuttings in winter.
  • Plant Care: Drought-tolerant once established. Trim after flowering to maintain shape.
  • Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for containers. Use well-drained compost and provide ample sunlight.
  • Growing as an House plant: Not typically grown as a houseplant due to its requirement for full sun and well-drained soil conditions.
  • Miscellaneous: Attracts bees and butterflies. Tolerant of coastal conditions, drought, and deer.
  • Pests and diseases: Generally disease-free. May be affected by aphids.
  • Common Garden Species / Cultivars / Varieties: Anthyllis vulneraria 'Coccinea' known for its reddish-orange flowers. Anthyllis vulneraria var. 'Alba', noted for its white blooms.
  • Family: Fabaceae, the Pea family.
  • Native: Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia.
  • References and Further Reading: Missouri Botanical Garden: Plant Finder - Anthyllis.

Common Questions

How many members does the Anthyllis genus have?

The Anthyllis genus has about 20 species, including the Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria).

Do members of Anthyllis make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, species like the Kidney Vetch are used in rock gardens, as a ground cover, and in green roofs for their pretty flowers and ability to attract butterflies.

Which Anthyllis species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Anthyllis vulneraria (Kidney Vetch) is often grown by gardeners for its attractive clusters of yellow flowers.

Are members of the Anthyllis plant genus fragrant?

No, Anthyllis species are not typically known to be fragrant.

What is the perfect location to grow Anthyllis?

Anthyllis plants prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They are drought-tolerant and thrive in poor soil conditions.

Is Anthyllis invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Anthyllis is not presently considered to be invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Anthyllis plants from my garden?

Anthyllis plants can be removed by uprooting. Since they tolerate poor soil, it's best to improve soil conditions to discourage growth.


The Anthyllis genus, part of the Fabaceae family, includes around 40 species of annuals, perennials, and shrubs. The most well-known is Anthyllis vulneraria, or Kidney Vetch. These plants, native to Europe and Western Asia, feature clusters of small, bright yellow or red flowers and fine, feathery foliage.

Anthyllis plants prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They can handle poor soil conditions and are drought-tolerant, making them ideal for rock gardens or areas with dry, sandy soil. They provide excellent ground cover and are beneficial for pollinators, attracting a variety of bees and butterflies.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on Anthyllis, a member of the Fabaceae family. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ legume growing guides: How to grow Mung Beans and Baptisia plants.