Hedysarum coronarium

Common Name: French honeysuckle 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Fabaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Best in gritty, moderately fertile, alkaline soils. Tolerates poor sandy or rocky soils. Best performance generally occurs in cool summer climates such as the Pacific Northwest. Consider trimming back taller plants after flowering to shape, particularly in hot and humid summer climates such as the St. Louis area where plant stems tend to recline in the heat of the summer. Cut back stems to the ground after frost. Relatively easy to grow from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hedysarum coronarium, commonly called French honeysuckle, sulla or sulla clover, is a bushy, herbaceous perennial or biennial that typically grows to 3’ tall and as wide. It is closely related to lespedeza and vetch. Features gray-green to medium green, odd-pinnate, compound leaves, each with 7-15 elliptic to rounded leaflets. Extremely fragrant, bright red, pea-like flowers bloom in late spring to early summer in dense axillary racemes atop upright flowering stems. Flowers are attractive to bees. Good fresh cut flower. Flowers give way to non-ornamental yellowish seedpods that turn brown as they mature. This plant is sometimes cultivated for hay and livestock fodder in parts of Europe and northern Africa.

Genus name comes from the Greek word hedysaron meaning from and hedys meaning sweet.

Specific epithet means pertaining to garlands.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Borders, cottage gardens or cutting gardens. Mass in open woodland or naturalized areas.