With bright yellow flowers from May to October and a very intense, pleasant smell, the spice bark is becoming more and more enchanting in local gardens. However, since it is not hardy, the bush or standard stem originally from South America is ideally cultivated in a bucket. So it can be brought to a sheltered, frost-free location in winter. If it also gets the desired wind-protected and sunny warm location in summer, the candle bush is very easy to care for and ideal for cultivation even for hobby gardeners with little time.


  • originally native to South America
  • also known as candlestick
  • pinnate leaves
  • yellow, bright flowers
  • blooms from May to October
  • ideal container or conservatory plant
  • Location on balcony or terrace is ideal
  • gives off an intense, spicy smell
  • very easy to care for
  • Can be planted as a bush, shrub or standard tree


The location for the spice bark is ideally bright, sunny and sheltered from the wind. This is the only way for the plant to unfold its beautiful yellow flowers from May to October and exude its intense, spicy smell. A place on a sunlit terrace or a south-facing balcony is desirable for the container plant. But it can also find its place in a conservatory. The advantage here is that it can remain in this place even in winter. A candle bush that finds its place outside in summer must be brought inside in winter.

Note: If the Senna corymbosa is cultivated in a well-tempered, bright conservatory that is flooded with sunlight, it may also flower in winter. Because the plant usually does not need a hibernation.

Substrat & Boden

The spice bark wants a rich potting soil so that it can unfold its true flowering splendor. So when you first plant, you should use valuable potting soil from well-stocked garden shops. However, giving the candle bush the right substrate is a very simple matter for the reason that it should be cultivated in a bucket, because the purchased soil does not require any further additions when first planted.

Tip: Garden soil mixed with peat can also be used as a substrate. This mixture is also ideal for a rich flowering of the spice bark.


Since the candle bush can reach a height of up to three meters, a large one should also be chosen for the bucket. Because repotting is usually only necessary every two to three years. If a larger plant pot is already chosen, the plant can remain in it for several years. When planting, you should above all prepare the pot in such a way that no waterlogging can occur, because the spice bark does not tolerate it either, even if it needs a lot of water. Therefore, when planting, you should proceed as follows:

  • Lay drainage over the planting hole
  • use potsherds or stones for this purpose
  • give a plant fleece over this
  • so no soil can clog the drain
  • then fill in the purchased or prepared soil
  • leave a planting hole in the middle
  • Carefully remove the spice bark from the plant pot
  • It is helpful if the root ball is watered before planting
  • Put the plant in the bucket
  • fill in the remaining soil
  • Lightly press
  • water well
Tip: Before planting, place the empty tub on a base with castors so that the candle bush can be quickly moved later as needed, for example for winter storage.

watering & fertilizing

In order for the Senna corymbosa to achieve a variety of flowers, it also needs regular fertilizers immediately after planting. And the water consumption of the spice bark is also very high during the flowering period. Therefore, when watering and fertilizing, the following should be observed:

  • should be fertilized every two weeks
  • depending on location and flowering time
  • usually from April and August
  • if the spice bark blooms all year round, it is also fertilized all year round
  • Use commercially available liquid fertilizer for flowering plants to fertilize
  • Since fertilizer is regularly applied every 14 days, long-term fertilizer is not recommended
  • the many small flowers consume a lot of water
  • give plenty of water in summer
  • several times a day on very hot days
  • preferably use the morning and evening hours for this
  • do not water in direct sunlight
  • there is a risk of evaporation here
  • Water requirements depend on the location
  • if it is darker in the winter months, less water is required
  • always make sure that there is no waterlogging
  • However, do not let the root ball dry out
  • then the plant loses its leaves
  • flowers are also no longer formed
Note: If the spice bark is cultivated in a temperate conservatory, the temperature here remains the same throughout the year. The plant also develops flowers in the winter months and therefore requires sufficient water and fertilizer at all times.


It is important that the spice bark be repotted every one to two years when young, older plants only need to be repotted every three years. Even if the pot is big enough for the plant, it needs a complete replacement of the soil to be able to continue to develop its full bloom. Therefore, when repotting, a new, larger bucket does not have to be used every time, the candle bush can also be put back into the old bucket. To do this, proceed as follows:

  • when using a new bucket, prepare it as for planting
  • carefully remove the Senna corymbosa from the old bucket
  • plant in the new pot with completely new soil
  • how to proceed with the new planting
  • if the existing bucket is used, carefully remove the plant
  • place in a bucket or tub of room-warm water
  • so the root ball can soak up water
  • completely remove the old soil from the bucket
  • fill with new substrate
  • proceed as described for planting
Note: It is important that the spice bark receives completely new soil. If the previous tub has become too small or if the plant is to be larger, only then is a larger tub required.

To cut

The spice bark does not need to be cut. But without regular pruning, it can grow up to three meters high and also expand greatly in width. It is therefore up to every hobby gardener to decide to what extent he wants his candle bush to grow. There are several options for a cut:

  • the spice bark is left as a bush or shrub
  • then only the long shoots are cut back all around
  • the candle bush is cultivated as a standard
  • for this purpose, the lower shoots must also be removed regularly
  • if the Senna corymbosa is not to grow large, it is cut back to a third
  • this radical pruning can be done in autumn before hibernation
  • so it can sprout again in the spring
  • in young plants, the shoot tips should be cut regularly


Hobby gardeners who already have a spice bark can also propagate it by cuttings. Sowing is usually not an option, because the seeds are difficult to obtain and are only available from selected seed senders on the Internet. But this is easy to do with the propagation of half-ripe cuttings. Young shoots that were removed during a topiary can be used for this. It is important that these cuttings receive an ideal environment to root, which should look like this:

  • The ground should have a temperature of 15° to 20° degrees
  • use potting soil
  • The soil and air must not be too moist for the cuttings
  • it is ideal if you can pull the cuttings in a conservatory
  • but a dry, bright room is also ideal
  • this allows the humidity to be better regulated
  • if the first shoots appear, you should cut off the tips


Since the spice bark does not tolerate frost due to its origin in South America, it must be brought to a sheltered room before the first night frost in autumn and may only be returned to its location on the balcony or terrace in spring after the last frosty nights. Ideally, the ice saints in May should be awaited before the spice bark is allowed to go outside again. Overwintering the Senna corymbosa can happen in two ways, which are as follows:

  • Plant has location outdoors in summer
  • spend the winter in a dry, frost-free place
  • choose a basement room or the garage for this
  • if the plant is dark in winter, it loses its leaves
  • only a little is poured
  • fertilization is discontinued
  • before moving into the winter quarters, the spice bark can be cut back
  • move to a brighter spot from early spring
  • this must continue to be frost-free
  • this is how the plant begins to develop new leaves and flowers
  • now slowly start fertilizing and watering
  • possibly repotting
  • Spice Bark was cultivated in the Conservatory
  • then make no provisions for the winter
  • since the plant continues to flower here, water and fertilize regularly

Care mistakes, diseases or pests

If the spice bark does not bloom in April, this is because it has received too little or no fertilizer. However, if attention is then paid to regularity again, the numerous flowers can also form again. Another care mistake that often occurs is not giving enough water. Also in this case no new flowers form during the summer time or the flowers wither. Here, too, action should be taken immediately and the spice bark should be watered sufficiently. The candle bush is susceptible to aphids and spider mites. In the event of an infestation, the following should be dealt with immediately:

  • Spray the plant with water as soon as you see it
  • in the event of a severe infestation, use suitable commercially available means
  • Aphid infestation can be recognized by stunted new shoot tips
  • Spider mites cause silvery speckled leaves
  • if bumps appear on the leaves, the humidity changes frequently
  • in such a case choose a different location
Note: If the hobby gardener ignores the aphids and does not fight them, this can result in a dark sooty mold infestation, which can damage the plant in the long term.

Anyone who likes it with a strong, spicy scent and wants a plant that unfolds its flowering splendor on the balcony or terrace from spring to summer or even longer should opt for the spice bark as a container plant. Because the easy-care shrub only needs enough water and fertilizer to be in full yellow splendor. But it must always be considered that the candle bush needs a winter quarters and that this must be large enough, since Senna corymbosa can reach a size of up to three meters.

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