Hedysarum Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Hedysarum plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Sweetvetch: Cultivation & Garden Use

Hedysarum are a genus of half hardy Perennials that are usually grown as annuals and biennials in the garden.

They range from 60 cm to 1.5 m (2 to 5 feet) in height.

Plants bloom in the summer with red, yellow, purple or violet racemes.

Hedysarum alpinum
Hedysarum alpinum – Alpine Sweet vetch by Ljmacphee.

Hedysarum boreale
Hedysarum boreale (Utah sweetvetch) by Matt Lavin.

Hedysarum Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Sweetvetch, French Honeysuckle, Cock's Head, Yellow Sweetvetch.
Family: Fabaceae.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial commonly grown as a hardy annual or hardy biennial by gardeners.
Height: 24 to 60 inches (60 to 150 cm).
Native: Europe, Asia, North America, North Africa.
Growing Region: Zones 4 to 9.
Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: Yellow, red, violet, purple. Stemmed Raceme.
Foliage: Feather-like leaflets. Attractive leaves.
Sow Outside: Cover seed. Before last frost or in late autumn. Spacing 24 to 40 inches (60 to 100 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: two weeks to three months. Temperature 55 to 65°F (13 to 18°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors in spring or autumn.
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage. Rich loam for best results. Drought tolerant. Cut back to the ground in autumn. Use slug repellent. Root cuttings or division can be carried out in autumn in warm areas or spring in cooler regions.

Common Questions

How many members does the Hedysarum genus have?

The Hedysarum genus has about 200 species, all demonstrating a broad diversity in appearance and habitat preferences.

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

Yes, certain species of Hedysarum are popular in gardens for their attractive foliage and clusters of pink or purple flowers.

Which Hedysarum species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The Hedysarum coronarium, also known as French Honeysuckle, is a popular choice among gardeners for its vivid flowers and hardy nature.

Are members of the Hedysarum plant genus fragrant?

Some species of Hedysarum, such as the French Honeysuckle, are known for their sweet and pleasant fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Hedysarum?

Hedysarum plants prefer full sun and well-drained soil, making them suitable for open garden beds and borders.

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

Currently, Hedysarum is not listed as invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Hedysarum plants from my garden?

Removing Hedysarum plants can be achieved by digging out the root system and ensuring no root fragments are left in the ground.


The Hedysarum plant genus, part of the Fabaceae family, includes numerous species of perennial herbs and shrubs. Native to the Northern Hemisphere, these plants are often used as forage for wildlife. Notable species include Hedysarum coronarium, known as French honeysuckle.

Hedysarum grows best in well-drained soil under full sun. It tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and is fairly drought-tolerant once established. The plants can be propagated from seeds, typically sown in spring after the last frost.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Hedysarum plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Acacia melanoxylon, Eranthis plant, and Dolichos plants.