Necklace Pod

One of the first native Florida Keys plants that I was introduced to was the  Necklace Pod. I planted about six of them in full sun about 50 feet from the Bay and the plants hated the spot where I had them.  I eventually got mad enough and relocated them to another spot that was about 30 feet from the Bay but here again they still balked.  Eventually, I needed to fill some holes on the seawall and thought to myself – O.K. now I am going to teach these plants a lesson on how to behave because they don't know when they are well off! 

Stupid me!  Of course this was exactly what they wanted.  Salt water spray.


BOTANICAL NAME Sophora tomentosa
HEIGHT 5 – 10 Feet
ZONES 10 to 11
LIGHT Full Sun
SALT TOLERANCE Salt  & Drought Tolerant

About 10 years later I began hearing rumors that the Necklace Pod that we were working with here in the Keys was actually from Texas. I ran right up to Key Biscayne where I was told that I could find some plants of the real native variety growing. The rumor was true because the leaves on the variety that I had were soft and hairy while the leaves on the plant growing up there had no hair on them at all and were a kind of a waxy green texture.

Six months later I spotted the native variety in a nursery and brought 10 home to the garden.  I had exactly the right spot picked out for them where they could be a showcase of color. The spot was about 10 feet in from the Bay. After 6 months of TLC I did not have one flower stalk.  just leaves. Nothing that I did seemed to make these plants want to bear flowers. So, I yanked up 4 and moved them to the Seawall and immediately, I had flowers.  Simultaneously, I put 2 on the Northside of the property facing South but  these produced no flowers.

Quickly I realized either you give the native Necklace Pod morning sun or you can write off seeing them bloom.

A neighbor asked me to help her with her landscape and she had just the right morning sun exposure by her Seawall and so I gladly pulled up the plants on the North side and the ones facing West and gave them to her.  They are a great success where they are relocated facing the morning sun.

Most plants don't like to be uprooted unless you put them in the plant hospital for 6 months to recover. However, both varities of Necklace Pod could care less if you pull them out of the ground with little care and move them somewhere else.  In a matter of days they are bringing forth new leaves.

Necklace pod has a tendancy to sprawl and take over the area where it is planted and so make sure that you account for this when you are deciding where to plant them.  The plants do need room.

I cut our plants down to the bone towards the end of the growing season and try to get them under control because If I did not do this the plants would simply take over and get leggy.

Note that the Texas variety spits out more flowers than the native variety – however, the flower of the native variety is a really deep rich yellow and much prettier than the non-native variety.