About Utah Sweetvetch: This native legume has a number of practical uses including erosion control, soil improvement, and forage. English botanist Thomas Nuttall published his records of this species in 1818, stating that he found it in “arid and denudated soils around Fort Mandan, on the banks of the Missouri.” The genus name Hedysarum, given by Linnaeus in his great work Species Plantarum, comes from the Greek and means “sweet aroma.” The species name “boreale” means “northern,” referring to the plant’s presence in far northern climates.
Utah Sweetvetch Germination: This seed can be planted either in late fall or spring. The day before planting, pour 180 degrees F water over the seeds and soak them overnight to soften the seed coat and speed germination. Sow ¼” deep and keep the soil consistently moist until germination. To start the seeds indoors, sow them in a flat 8 weeks before the last frost of spring; keep the soil lightly moist and at a temperature of 60-65 degrees F until germination. Transplant seedlings outdoors as soon as they can safely be handled. This plant adapts well to clay and sand soils.
Growing Utah Sweetvetch Seeds: Water the seedlings occasionally until they become established. Mature plants tolerate drought well, though they will appreciate water in extended periods of dry weather. Because of its extensive root system, this plant develops rather slowly and may not bloom until its third or fourth year of growth. Keep weeds down for the healthiest plants. Do not attempt to divide or transplant, since mature plants do not tolerate root disturbance well. This flower attracts butterflies and bees.
Harvesting Utah Sweetvetch: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.
Saving Utah Sweetvetch Seeds: This plant produces distinctive flat seed-pods connected in a chain-like formation. As soon as the pods turn brown, gather them and spread them out to dry completely. The dry, papery pods can either be removed or planted with the seeds they contain; they will not affect germination if the seed is properly scarified. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Utah Sweetvetch Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Northern Sweetvetch, Northern Sweet Broom, Chain-Pod, Boreal Sweetvetch Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Spring-Summer Height: 12-24 inches Spacing: - Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Dry to Medium USDA Zone: 3a- 9a Seeds Per Oz: 30,600 Produces a plant with silvery green compound leaflets and elongated clusters of bright pink flowers.