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Amorpha canescens

Leadplant

Photo courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

Amorpha canescens is a small shrubby plant that is graced with long spikes of clear purple flowers from July to September. Its long bloom time and attractiveness to butterflies make Leadplant a great native substitute for Butterfly Bush (Buddleia).

Benefits

Easy to grow
Likes barren soils
Drought tolerant

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Plant Amorpha canescens in full sun and average to dry soil. Water regularly until established.

Leadplant is very drought tolerant with the help of a deep tap root that can reach many feet down for water. Because of this root it is difficult to transplant successfully.


Height
30-36 Inches

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Spread
24-30 Inches

USDA Hardiness Zone 2-9

Native Range

Amorpha canescens is found in open prairies and meadows in the middle of North America, from the Rockies to the Mississippi. USDA Distribution Map

Native Trivia
Mammalian herbivores, such as deer, rabbits, and livestock, are very fond of this plant. It is high in protein and quite palatable. This can make Leadplant difficult to establish in areas where these animals are abundant. Prairie Wildflowers of Illinois The common name Leadplant comes from the mistaken belief that Amorpha canescens indicated the presence of lead in the surrounding soil.


"Butterflies feast on the nectar of this lovely plant and caterpillars feed on the leaves."

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
Medium Perennials
Medium to Tall Perennials
Soil
Acidic
Heavy clay
Humus-rich
Saline or alkaline
Well-drained
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Dry
Attracts Wildlife
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Mammals
Bloom Time
Summer
Habitat Collection
Butterfly
Native Habitat
Grassland
Foliage Color
Blue-green
Uses
Border
Cut or dried flower
Drought tolerant
Erosion control
Mass plant
Meadow
Naturalizes
Wind tolerant
Native to
Arkansas
Colorado
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Louisiana
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Montana
Nevada
New Mexico
North Dakota
Oklahoma
South Dakota
Texas
Wisconsin
Wyoming