Silvery, delicate foliage and mid-summer spikes of violet-blue flowers make leadplant a desirable addition to local gardens. Upright, slightly arching stems grow two to four feet high and three feet wide, with an open, spreading habit. They become woody with age, dropping their leaves in winter. The flowers turn yellow in fall. They’re followed by small, attractive seed pods.
Leadplant is hardy in zones 4 to 8, and prefers full sun. The deep-rooted shrubs are moderately xeric. Once established, they’ll appreciate a deep soaking every two weeks. They tolerate most well-drained soils; avoid wet clay. Like other members of the legume family, leadplant adds nitrogen to the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer. While the plants are easy to grow, you may not see flowers for the first several years. Pruning stems back to one foot in late fall will encourage more prolific bloom.
A Great Plains native, leadplant combines well with grasses and other prairie plants. Unfortunately, it’s very attractive to rabbits and deer.
Contributed by Leslie Holzmann, Colorado Master Gardener. For answers to your horticultural questions, contact the Master Gardener Help Desk at 719.636.8921 or CSUmg2@elpasoco.com.
Photo courtesy of Leslie Holzmann