All shrubs produce seeds, but a few species protect them by growing seed pods. Seed pods can be hard, dry, soft or even fuzzy and come in a range of sizes and colours. Seed pods often attract wildlife who use the pods as a food source. When choosing seed pod-producing shrubs for your landscape, choose species with compatible cultural requirements. Some seed pods drop, causing a litter issue, so use care when planting them near paths or sidewalks.
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Some members of the genus Genista produce seed pods. The Mt. Aetna broom (G. aethnensis) grows to 20 feet tall and is hardy to USDA Zone 6. It prefers full sun and tolerates moist to dry soil. Mt. Aetna brooms have deciduous foliage that turns yellow in fall. They produce aromatic yellow flowers followed by seed pods in summer. The bridal veil broom (G. monosperma) also grows to 20 feet tall. This upright, narrow shrub produces long, brown seed pods in summer and fall. It thrives in full sun and tolerates a range of soils.
Soil with a pH level greater than 7.0 is alkaline. Not many shrubs thrive in alkaline sites, but exceptions include the feather bush (Lysiloma thornberi), which produces long, brown seed pods in fall. This semi-evergreen grows to 20 feet tall with a wide spread. It has pinnately compound foliage and blooms with white flowers in spring. Feather bushes prefer full sun to partial shade and tolerate moist, dry and alkaline soil. The banks grevillea (Grevillea banksi) produces brown seed pods with winglike follicles from summer through fall. This evergreen shrub has narrow, long foliage and blooms with showy red flowers in spring and summer. It requires full sun and tolerates moist, dry and alkaline soils.
Members of the genus Acacia produce seed pods. The knife acacia (A. cultriformis) grows from 10 to 20 feet tall with a 15-foot spread. This evergreen shrub has blue-green to grey-green foliage and produces large brown pods from summer through winter. It blooms with fragrant, yellow spring blossoms and is hardy in zones 9 to 10. Plant knife acacias in full sun to partial shade and moist to dry soil. The snowy river wattle (A. boormani) grows from 10 to 16 feet tall with a slightly narrower spread. This evergreen produces long, brown seed pods in summer and has blue-green, lanceolate foliage. Snowy river wattles are native to Australia and tolerate heat and drought. They thrive in full sun to partial shade and require minimal irrigation.
Sandy sites don't retain moisture well. Sand-tolerant shrubs include the red bauhinia (Bauhinia punctata), which produces 5-inch-long seed pods in late summer. This evergreen shrub produces red, orchid-like flowers in spring and summer. Red bauhinias climb if provided support and grow from 6 to 15 feet tall. They need full sun and prefer loamy, sandy, well-drained soil. The Mexican caesalpinia (Caesalpinia mexicana) also tolerates sandy soil. It produces dry, brown, 3- to 6-inch seed pods and blooms with yellow flowers in summer. This evergreen shrub has feathery foliage and grows from 15 to 25 feet tall. It prefers partial shade to partial sun and is hardy in zones 10 to 11.
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