Crotalaria pallida (Smooth Rattlebox) is an attractive small native plant of Tropical Africa, ranging from a 2-5 ft compact shrub to a 5-10 ft large one, depending on the climate where it is grown. It is highly desirable for its bright yellow and orange flowers, making it a popular choice for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.
This hardy plant is easy to grow and will tolerate harsh sites, poor soils, drought, and even a short freeze of temperatures at least down to 30s F. It is suitable for growing in USDA Zones 8-11, and can even take some cold temperatures in its mature form.
Sunshine is one of the most important things for the Smooth Rattlebox, as it has a preference for full sun, and too much shade can reduce flowering and lead to a smaller shrub. For optimum growth and full flower production, regular watering is recommended. It is easy to care for your Smooth Rattlebox in a pot - especially if temperatures in your area drop below freezing. Make sure to bring your pot indoors or otherwise cover it for winter.
The Smooth Rattlebox requires only minimal pruning and maintenance, with regular fertilizing and deadheading of flowers to prevent too much of the plant's energy from being taken up by seed production. With the ability to survive in the toughest of climates, this hardy shrub is a recommended choice for gardeners all over the world.