Senna hebecarpa

Wild Senna

$3.00 - $5.00

1/2 oz.
1 oz.

Bare Root Plants
Out of Stock

3 Pack
Out of Stock
Tray of 38
Out of Stock

Wild Senna is a versatile plant that we think deserves more recognition as a great choice for garden or restoration projects. Its lovely, bright yellow flowers bloom July-August, attracting many bees and butterflies.  Autumn brings beautiful leaf colors and the formation of long black pods with seeds favored by larger birds like wild turkeys.  A horizontal root system provides strength against winds, allowing the plant's stately (4-6') beauty to be appreciated even after the storm. Some gardeners use this sun-loving plant to form a hedge.
Wild Senna, and other Cassia and Senna species in the Fabaceae (pea) family, are important host plants for many species of Sulphur Butterflies.

It is virtually indistinguishable from its relative, Maryland Senna (Senna marilandica) until the two species have ripe seeds. The Wild Senna will readily open its pod and the seeds will fall out, whereas the Maryland Senna seed pods will stay tightly closed.  Other than this, it is very hard to tell the two species apart.

Species of genus Senna are legumes. Most legume species harbor beneficial bacteria called rhizobia on their roots. Genus-specific strains of this bacterium called inoculum can aid in the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen and improve long-term health of native plant communities. Inoculum is naturally-occurring in most soils and additional amendment is usually not needed. However, in low fertility soils it may be necessary. Genus-specific strains are available at

Live Plant Shipping Table

Spring Fall Age/Size
Dormant Bare Roots April/May October
Potted 3-Packs May/June September 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep pots
Potted Trays of 38* May/June N/A 2" wide x 5" deep plugs
*This species is a choice in the Mix & Match - Create Your Own Tray!

Senna hebecarpa - Wild Senna

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

9 Questions asked on Senna hebecarpa

Just saw this plant in bloom. Can it become invasive by spreading from roots or self seeding? Would love to make this a specmin plant in front of my house.
No, Wild Senna is very well-behaved. It's tall and has a thick, stately stem and would make a wonderful living fence on garden focal point. We love this underappreciated native! And so do the bees!
Does this plant die back to the soil each year or is it more shrubby?
Hi Holly. It is a herbaceous perennial so it does die back and emerge from the soil each year. It has a very thick stem and puts on amazing growth each year so can almost look like a small tree!
If i want to harvest the seed pods from this plant to plant elsewhere, do I need to take the seeds out of the pod and bury them in the soil, or do they do well if the pods are simply scattered on the surface?
Hi Michelle. To increase your odds of getting new plants next year, we would suggest opening the pod when it is dry and seeds are brown. This is a very easy seed to harvest so you might as well take advantage. You can press them into a bare, clean soil site, but never bury too deep. Usually we say only plant as deep as the seed is wide.
Hello! I wintersowed these seeds and now have a lovely 1-1/2 foot plant growing. I assumed I shouldn't expect it to bloom this first year--is that correct? Thank you!
Hi Kathy! First-year blooms on perennial plants, including Wild Senna, really is more of the exception than the rule. That doesn't mean it won't happen! Glad to hear it is doing so well.
Does wild senna have deep roots? I have two growing as volunteers under a young river birch and I would like to move them. Do I need to dig very deeply and when is the best time to transplant them?
Hi Mia, Like most perennial prairie plants, Wild Senna has quite a large root system. Senna has a deep taproot and spreads horizontally from rhizomes. Because of the deep taproot, it can be very hard to transplant. If you are attempting to do so, you’ll want to dig it out as deeply as you feasibly can. I would try this in the fall just before the ground freezes, or in the spring just after it thaws. Good Luck!
Any idea about deer resistance? Thank you!
Hi Carolyn, Wild Senna does produce compounds that are thought to discourage mammalian grazing, and several sources do list it as deer resistant. Perhaps we should add it to our deer resistant list! That said, I wouldn't put it past a hungry deer to eat just about anything.
Can I propagate this by rooting a cutting? I was unaware of how large it gets or about the taproot, when planted. It's reached about 4' x 3', growing on the corner of a retaining wall. So, I can't dig it out or divide it. I'd like to plant another one elsewhere by cuttings. I'm unable to determine where to deadhead. There are now pods on it and I don't know if new blooms will appear this late in the summer. Thanks!
Hi Allie, We propagate all of our plants from seed, so unfortunately we aren't the best to advise you on how to take cuttings from this plant. I haven't been able to uncover much on this topic, so the plant may be ill-suited for this propagation method. Could be fun to experiment though!
Would Wild Senna be safe on a septic leach field....root-invasiveness-wise?
Hi Sue. Because Wild Senna is considered a shrub, we would not recommend planting it directly on a septic system. Most resources suggest planting shrubby or woody species at least 10' away from septic fields (just to be safe).
Can this plant be grown in containers?
Hi Joseph! The Wild Senna is a very big plant when mature so I don't think it would do well in a container.

While the experienced gardener may have success growing some species of native perennials in containers, we don’t recommend this for long term plantings since proper conditions (like moisture and nutrients) are harder to maintain, root health may suffer from being contained in a small area, and winter kill is much more likely in containers. In addition, if you order this species in plant form from us, container transplanting will void our Plant Guarantee.


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

US Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Full, Partial
Soil Moisture
Medium-Wet, Medium
5 feet
Bloom Time
July, August
Bloom Color
Pollinator Favorite: butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, beetles
Bird Favorite: seeds, insects, fruit, nectar, nesting, perch
Highly recommended for home landscaping
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code