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In The Garden: Bahama cassia is a butterfly attractor

December 3, 2019
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Bahama cassia (Cassia chapmanii), also known as (Cassia Bahamanesis), is an excellent choice for a South Florida butterfly garden. With delicate green leaves and pretty buttercup yellow flowers, it attracts many of the Florida Sulfur butterfly species as both a nectar source and an important larvae food source.

The plant could also be used in the landscape as a specimen planted by itself, or as a screen, hedge or border. In a sunny location it grows to about 4 feet to 6 feet tall, so it would make a nice background plant in a shrub border. It will grow taller in partial shade to approximately 8 feet. Allow plenty of room for its rounded spreading habit of growth, as it can easily grow to become 6 feet to 10 feet wide.

The shrub prefers well-drained, acid, sandy soil and is moderately drought tolerant. Prune the plant back to the ground in the spring every few years to rejuvenate it, or following a winter with freezing temperatures. The plant often sprouts back quickly in the spring and does best in hardiness zones 9 and 10. Native only to Southern Florida, it will bloom throughout most of the year, making it a welcome addition to any native or flowering garden.

Article Photos

Bahama cassia

In The Garden is a joint effort by all at the local garden center, at 3889 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel. For more information, contact 239-395-5859 or visit



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