List of Nitrogen-Fixing Plants

Grab these Downloads for Quick Reference!

Rhizobia bacteria are primarily responsible for pulling nitrogen out of the air and making it available to plants, which then use the nitrogen to create proteins.

The legume family (the pea & bean family) of plants are able to form a mutually beneficial relationship with rhizobia bacteria. Because of this, growing legumes in your gardens and landscapes can help improve the health of nearby plants through the nitrogen they add to the soil around them.

Click on each tab to view the nitrogen-fixing plants in that category. (You can download three PDF’s listing nitrogen-fixing plants, below.)

Rooibos bush. Photo credit

Rooibos bush. Photo credit

-Broom Shrubs
-Pea Shrubs






clover grown for a cover crop

Clovers grown as cover crops.

-Alfalfa (perennial)
-Bean, Fava/Bell
-Bean, Hyacinth
-Bean, Jack
-Bean, Velvet
-Birds Trefoil (perennial)
-Clover, Arrowleaf
-Clover, Balansa
-Clover, Berseem
-Clover, Crimson
-Clover, Mammoth Red (perennial)
-Clover, New Zealand White (perennial)
-Clover, Red (perennial)
-Clover, Subterranean
-Clover, Sweet (perennial)
-Clover, White (perennial)
-Lespedeza, Annual
-Lespedeza, Serciea (perennial)
-Pea, Field
-Pea, Winter
-Peanut, Perennial (perennial)
-Sun Hemp
-Velvet Bean
-Vetch, Bigflower
-Vetch, Chickling
-Vetch, Common
-Vetch, Hairy

Blue lupins.

Blue lupins.

-Indigo (all Indigofera genus)







bean plant-Ahipa
-Beans, Bush
-Beans, Garbanzo
-Beans, All Others (black, anasazi, lima, kidney, etc.)
-Beans, Snap
-Beans, String
-Breadroot (Prairie Turnip)
-Peanut (Groundnut)
-Peas, Green
-Peas, Snap
-Peas, Snow
-Peas, Sweet

Licorice plant.Photo credit

Licorice plant.
Photo credit

-Licorice, American
-Licorice, European








Carob tree with unripe pods.

Carob tree with unripe pods.

-Alder trees
-Black Locust
-Japanese Pagoda
-Kentucky Coffee Bean
-Laburnum trees
-Locust tree
-Mesquite trees
-Russian Olive



Tamarind tree with pods. Photo credit

Tamarind tree with pods.
Photo credit

-Inga trees
-Tamarind (tree)









Blue rain wisteria.

Blue rain wisteria.

-Bean, Scarlet Runner
-Bean, Wild
-Groundnut, Fortune’s
-Groundnut, Price’s
-Hog Peanut
-Kudzu (Japanese arrowroot)
-Pea, Beach
-Pea, Butterfly
-Pea, Earth-Nut
-Peas, Vining Garden Peas
-Vetch, American
-Vetch, Bitter
-Vetch, Tufted
-Vetch, Wood
-Wisteria, American
-Wisteria, Japanese
-Wisteria, Kentucky

PDF: List of Nitrogen-Fixing Plants & Their Zones

PDF: Cover Crops (both leguminous cover crops and grasses)

PDF: Secondary Crops (crops with more than one purpose, including those that are able to fix nitrogen)


21 Responses to List of Nitrogen-Fixing Plants

  1. linda spiker October 30, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    Great information!

  2. Andrea October 30, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    Interesting! I have never read that before. We usually have a few bean plants near our garden. I will have to locate them a little closer next year.

  3. Megan Stevens October 30, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    Oh, thanks, this is really helpful!! Pinning.

  4. Dina-Marie @ Cultured Palate October 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    Thanks for sharing – very interesting!

  5. Emily @ Recipes to Nourish October 30, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    This is so cool! I had no idea about this at all. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Victoria October 2, 2015 at 3:42 am #

    All your .pdf files are coming up as 404 errors.

    • Anni October 2, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

      Thank you for letting me know! I’ll fix it asap.

  7. Mischa October 8, 2015 at 11:29 am #

    Still returning 404 error!

    • Anni October 11, 2015 at 10:20 am #

      I’m so sorry. Thank you to my readers for being on top of it! I have now fixed them and double-checked them. They should all work now!

  8. Fawn Palmer October 29, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

    Scarlet Runner Bean is a lovely vine that not only fixes nitrogen but also produces sweet nectar in red pea blooms that attract and feed hummingbirds. A double benefit. I think that the beans are edible but I haven’t tried that yet.

  9. Elise January 1, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

    Please don’t plant invasive species like scotch broom and russian olive. Ask your local master gardeners for advice.

    • Anni January 6, 2016 at 11:32 am #

      Great comment. Thank you!

    • sharon March 13, 2017 at 8:14 am #

      No Russian Olive is so correct. Our township in Michigan sold them years ago and I assume they did not know just how invasive they are.

      Now they are everywhere! We had to hire a farmer to brush whack them off our property. You can’t hand dig them out…..Our neighbors pasture was taken over by them and now the horses cant use the pasture.

  10. rachael March 2, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

    it help me so mi=uch

  11. Sylvia June 18, 2016 at 8:24 am #

    Do sweet pea flower plants have nitrogen fixing properties?

    • Anni August 30, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

      Yes, they do. They’re in the legume family.

  12. david kiptum January 11, 2017 at 11:59 pm #

    iam david kiptum from eldoret kenya i like to know where i get this plants, i want to took for trial taste plse.

    • Anni February 12, 2017 at 10:12 am #

      Which plant, exactly, are you looking for?

  13. Brian February 21, 2017 at 9:49 am #

    Don’t forget to add Goumi to the list of nitrogen fixers. Non-invasive and produces tasty and highly nutritious berries.

  14. dennis zaba April 10, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

    Like your updates

  15. dennis zaba April 10, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

    Your information is so important

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