Nitrogen Fixing Plants (10 Plants That Restore Nitrogen To Soil)


Nitrogen fixing plants help to increase fertility by adding nitrogen to the soil.  Some nitrogen fixing plants can survive and thrive in shady spots in your garden.

So, what are some nitrogen fixing plants?  Nitrogen fixing plants include: Blue Wild Indigo, Cherokee Bean, Fennel, Mimosa Tree, Purple Hyacinth Bean, Red Clover, Russell Lupine, Sago Palm, Sensitive Plant, and Yarrow. Some of these plants have attractive foliage or flowers to add style to your garden.

Of course, some of these plants like full sun, while others can tolerate at least some shade.

In this article, we’ll talk about 10 nitrogen fixing plants.  We’ll also take a look at what to provide for each one as far as light, water, and other important growth factors.

Let’s begin.

10 Nitrogen Fixing Plants

There are plenty of nitrogen fixing plants, but here is a list of 10 to start with:

  • Blue Wild Indigo
  • Cherokee Bean
  • Fennel
  • Mimosa Tree
  • Purple Hyacinth Bean
  • Red Clover
  • Russell Lupine
  • Sago Palm
  • Sensitive Plant
  • Yarrow

Let’s start off with Blue Wild Indigo.

Blue Wild Indigo

Blue Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis) is a nitrogen fixing perennial plant that produces showy tiny (less than 1 inch) blue flowers in spring or early summer.

Blue Wild Indigo
Blue Wild Indigo is a nitrogen fixing perennial with showy blue flowers.

Blue Wild Indigo needs moderate to dry moisture levels and resists both salt and humidity.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Blue Wild Indigo likes full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.5).

Blue Wild Indigo can tolerate extreme cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 3a (as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or –40 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 36 to 48 inches, with a width of 36 to 48 inches.  It also resists deer and rabbits.

You can propagate Blue Wild Indigo by stem cuttings or seeds.

You can learn more about Blue Wild Indigo from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Blue Wild Indigo from High Country Gardens.

Cherokee Bean

Cherokee Bean (Erythrina herbacea) is a nitrogen fixing perennial plant that produces showy orange or red flowers, possibly year round.

Cherokee Bean
Cherokee Bean is a nitrogen fixing plant with orange or red flowers.

Cherokee Bean needs moderate to dry moisture levels and resists humidity.  It can also be used for xeriscaping.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Cherokee Bean likes full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 5.6 to 7.5).

Cherokee Bean can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 8a (as cold as 10 degrees Fahrenheit or -12 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 3 to 5 feet, with a width of 3 to 4 feet.

You can propagate Cherokee Bean by division, tip cuttings, or seeds.

You can learn more about Cherokee Bean from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Cherokee Bean from Plant Delights.

Fennel

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a nitrogen fixing perennial plant that produces yellow flowers in summer or fall.

Fennel
Fennel is a nitrogen fixing plant with yellow flowers.

Fennel needs moderate to dry moisture levels and tolerates drought.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Fennel needs full sun.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.5 to 7.5).

Fennel can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 4a (as cold as -30 degrees Fahrenheit or -34 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 3 to 6 feet.

You can propagate Fennel by seeds (the plant is self-fertile).

You can learn more about Fennel from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Fennel from Wilson Bros Gardens.

Mimosa Tree

Mimosa Tree (Albizia julibrissin) is a nitrogen fixing deciduous perennial plant that produces showy fragrant pink flowers in summer or early fall.

Mimosa Tree
Mimosa Tree is a nitrogen fixing tree with fragrant pink flowers.

Mimosa Tree needs moderate to dry moisture levels, and it tolerates both drought and salt.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Mimosa Tree prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 8.4).

Mimosa Tree can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 6a (as cold as -10 degrees Fahrenheit or -23 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 15 to 40 feet, with a width of 20 to 40 feet.

You can propagate Mimosa Tree by seeds.

You can learn more about Mimosa Tree from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Mimosa Tree from Nature Hills.

Purple Hyacinth Bean

Purple Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus) is a nitrogen fixing perennial plant that produces showy fragrant purple or bicolor (pink and white) flowers in summer or early fall.

Purple Hyacinth Bean
Purple Hyacinth Bean is a nitrogen fixing plant with showy fragrant purple flowers.

Purple Hyacinth Bean needs moderate moisture levels, and it tolerates drought.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Purple Hyacinth Bean prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.8).

Purple Hyacinth Bean cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9b (as cold as 25 degrees Fahrenheit or -4 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 6 to 8 feet.

You can propagate Purple Hyacinth Bean by seeds.

You can learn more about Purple Hyacinth Bean from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Purple Hyacinth Bean from Seed Corner.

Red Clover

Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense) is a nitrogen fixing perennial plant that produces showy red, purple or pink flowers in late spring or summer.

Red Clover
Red Clover is a nitrogen fixing plant with red, purple, or pink flowers.

Red Clover needs moderate moisture levels, and it tolerates poor soil.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Red Clover prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.6 to 7.5).

Red Clover can tolerate severe cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 3a (as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or -40 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 6 to 24 inches, with a width of 6 to 12 inches.

You can propagate Red Clover by division or seeds.

You can learn more about Red Clover from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Red Clover from American Meadows.

Russell Lupine

Russell Lupine (Lupinus regalis) is a nitrogen fixing perennial plant that produces flowers in various colors (red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, or bicolor) in spring or summer.

Lupine
Russell Lupine is a nitrogen fixing plant with flowers in various colors.

Russell Lupine needs moderate moisture levels, and it tolerates drought.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Russell Lupine prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 5.5 to 7.0).

Russell Lupine can tolerate severe cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 4a (as cold as -30 degrees Fahrenheit or -34 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 2 to 3 feet, with a width of 2 feet.

You can propagate Russell Lupine by division or seeds.

You can learn more about Russell Lupine from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Russell Lupine from Plants 4 Home.

Sago Palm

Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) is a nitrogen fixing perennial evergreen plant that produces false flowers (cones for males, modified leaves for females) in spring or early summer.

Sago Palm
Sago Palm is a nitrogen fixing evergreen plant with false flowers.

Sago Palm needs moderate to dry moisture levels, and it tolerates humidity.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Sago Palm prefers full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic soil (pH of 6.1 to 6.5).

Sago Palm can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 8b (as cold as 15 degrees Fahrenheit or -9 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 4 to 10 feet.

You can propagate Sago Palm by offsets or seeds (the plant is self-fertile).

You can learn more about Sago Palm from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Sago Palm from Real Palm Trees.

Sensitive Plant

Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica) is a nitrogen fixing deciduous perennial plant that produces showy tiny (less than 1 inch) lavender, pink, or purple flowers in summer.

Sensitive Plant
Sensitive Plant is a nitrogen fixing plant with tiny lavender, pink, or purple flowers.

Sensitive Plant needs moderate moisture levels, and it tolerates poor soil.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Sensitive Plant needs full sun.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.6 to 7.5).

Sensitive Plant can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9a (as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit or -7 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 12 inches.

You can propagate Sensitive Plant by seeds.

You can learn more about Sensitive Plant from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Sensitive Plant from the Monticello Shop.

Yarrow

Yarrow (Achilliea millefolium) is a nitrogen fixing perennial ground cover herb that produces fragrant white or pink flowers in spring or summer.

Yarrow
Yarrow is a nitrogen fixing plant with fragrant white or pink flowers.

Yarrow needs moderate to dry moisture levels, and it tolerates drought.  Too much water will cause root rot and damage the plant.

Yarrow prefers full sun, but can survive in partial shade.  It can tolerate a range of acidic or alkaline soil (pH of 4.0 to 8.0).

Yarrow can tolerate extreme cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 3 (as cold as -35 degrees Fahrenheit or -37 degrees Celsius).

This plant can grow to a height of 24 to 36 inches and a width of 24 to 36 inches.

You can propagate Yarrow by division, offsets, or stolons and runners.

You can learn more about Yarrow from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Yarrow from Wilson Bros Gardens.

Conclusion

Now you know about 10 nitrogen fixing plants and how to take care of them.  They might also provide inspiration to help you to fill in the landscape for your indoor or outdoor garden.

Poor soil can lead to erosion – you can learn how to prevent it in my article here.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here.  Enjoy!

~Jonathon

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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