Candelabra Plant

“Candelabra Plant”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Here is another plant that I remember from childhood, the candelabra plant or cassia alata.  It gets its name from the bright yellow flowers that resemble candles.   I remember this plant blooming in my mother’s garden as well as the public landscape areas of New Orleans.  I particularly remember going to the orthodontist’s office in the late fall, and these plants were in bloom all over the city.  Few people grow these any more, and I don’t know why they fell out of favor.



I was able to get a plant from my sister.  It is not very large, but I really wanted it this year for the seeds.  I am hoping to have seeds to plant in the spring so that I will be able to have this fall bloomer in several areas of the garden. 



Mine is three to four feet tall but I have seen some that are much bigger.  It should be covered with upright flower buds soon.  The leaves are very attractive, too, and will close up at night.  While this is hardy only to zone 9 or 8, it grows quickly so even when treated as an annual it will grow large enough to bloom in one season.


As I try to have a longer blooming period in my garden, cassia alata helps achieve this.


  1. Jamie said,

    October 2, 2008 at 10:23 pm


    I must say that bloom is rather impressive for I had not seen a cassia plant in bloom. Randy and I have one in the side of the backyard garden, but it has yet to bloom for us. Now I’ll have to wait in anticipation for it to make its debut! Great post!

  2. Jan said,

    October 3, 2008 at 4:34 am

    Thanks, Randy. Mine has just started blooming. When I was a kid, I remember them blooming when it was pretty chilly, so I am hoping this one will bloom into late fall.

  3. Phillip said,

    October 3, 2008 at 7:32 am

    I wasn’t familiar with plant until I saw it in Randy and Jamie’s garden. It wasn’t blooming there. It is very pretty. I think the leaves are interesting even if it is not flowering.

  4. nancybond said,

    October 3, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Another plant I was unfamiliar with — but it’s a beauty! I love plants that give a splash of late summer/early fall colour.

  5. October 3, 2008 at 8:05 am

    I’ll have to check and see if it will grow here. I like to extend the seasons.

  6. Randy said,

    October 3, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Hey Jan! That was actually my other half, Jamie. LOL I’m glad to see your Cassia blooming. We’ve been running about two weeks behind you on our blooms so hopefully ours will blooms soon.

  7. Racquel said,

    October 3, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    A very interesting flower. I hope it continues to bloom for you & you have plenty of seed to spread throughout your garden.

  8. Jan said,

    October 4, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Phillip, it is a great fall blooming plant. It has the right shade of yellow for autumn.

    Nancy, I agree it is nice to have flowers in late summer or early fall when most of the annuals have given up and few perennials are blooming.

    MN, candelabra plant will grow as an annual and bloom before cold weather sets in, so I think it will grow just about anywhere.

    Oh, Randy/Jamie, sorry about that. I guess that early in the morning I just noticed the blog address and didn’t see it was Jamie leaving the comment. It is funny how some of your plants bloomed before mine and vice versa. You really will enjoy the blooms when they start.

    Racquel, I am pretty hopeful that I will get seeds because the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds really like these flowers.

  9. Mary Beth said,

    October 4, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Jan, I had some candelabra plants but they re-seed so freely that they became a pest in one area of my garden – Yours are really beautiful though! I may have to re-think my decison to keep them out of my garden.

  10. Anne Payne said,

    October 5, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Thank you for sharing your stories of your candleabra plants, mine has just died……….where can I get another one from, I am just crazy about these plants.


  11. Jan said,

    October 5, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Mary Beth, I sure hope I can harvest seeds or mine reseeds. I do think just a few in one area will be enough, though, since they can get rather large, but I do like the blooms for the fall and as a remembrance of gardeners from my childhood.

  12. Jan said,

    October 5, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Anne, I think it is a little too late to plant another one now. If I get some seeds, I’ll let you know and can send you some. Another way is to google for seeds of this plant for a source. I know I have seen them somewhere online, but, now, I can’t remember where.

  13. Patricia Vitley said,

    July 8, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I know a lady in Saint Bernard, La . that has this kind of plants and hers is blooming. I have one about 4′ and growing but it has not bloomed yet.

    • Jan said,

      July 8, 2009 at 8:02 pm

      Patricia, my plant died back to the ground over the winter, but has returned slowly. It is only about twelve inches high right now, so it probably won’t bloom until fall. I am hoping to get some seeds this year, so that I can have more plants. I really do like the candelabra plant in a garden.

      • Patricia Vitley said,

        July 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm

        My plant died back during the winter also and I cut it about 2” short and it grew back just about 4′. I live in La. so that might make a difference. It is hot here with very little rain , so I must water ofter.

      • Jan said,

        July 11, 2009 at 2:05 pm

        Up until the last few days. we have had to water a lot. Now that the afternoon rains have started, it is not as necessary. this is the first time that I have had a candelabra plant return from the winter.

  14. Arlene Conque said,

    July 24, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I took a cutting of this wonderful plant and put it in a pot to get started. Well, every morning I have more leaves to start up. This plant has now reached approx 1ft. in that pot. I really need to know when I can plant it in the ground. I live in south louisiana and with the rains starting up now; the ground is not so depleted. Please advise me on this for I am so looking forward to watching this plant tower at will and prepare to bloom.
    Thank you, arlene

    • Jan said,

      July 24, 2009 at 3:55 pm

      Arlene, I would plant this now. Good luck with your plant.

  15. Helen J said,

    August 15, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I have this plant ive had it a year and a half it is now 8 feet tall can i top it

    • Jan said,

      August 16, 2009 at 5:00 am

      Yes, Helen, you could top it, but it may not bloom this year. It should be just about ready to bloom, and by topping it now the flowers could be lost.

  16. Cindy Pullis said,

    September 21, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Oh yes, the leaves are interesting! Medicinal too: alcohol extract of the leaf is clinically proven effective against tinea versicolor, a recurring fungal skin problem common in wet climates like mine (Pacific Northwest). AND NO ONE SELLS IT! Please, I am only looking for enough for personal use. I will attempt to grow it if it works for me. Will someone dry some leaves out and sell them to me? Thank you, Cindy

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