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Prairies to Perennials

An almanac of all things that grow in Lincoln's backyard.
lead plant 1

Lead Plant

When considering native plants to add to your garden, don't overlook Lead Plant, Amorpha canescens. It is an herbaceous, multi-stemmed perennial that grows 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. If this is a little tall for your garden location, the size is easily managed by pruning. Lead Plant has a deep branching root system good for erosion control and is easy to grow in any sunny well-drained site. As with many native plants, lead plant is drought tolerant.

Lead Plant is a wonderful ornamental plant due to its showy blue-purple flowers with orange stamens extending outward. It blooms May to June, attracting many different kinds of pollinating insects. The delicate 4 to 12 inch gray-green leaves are eye-catching all season.

You can observe this attractive prairie plant currently in bloom at several University of Illinois Extension Logan-Menard-Sangamon Master Gardener project locations, including:

Native Wildflower Garden at Lincoln Memorial Garden Ostermeier Prairie, 2301 East Lake Drive, Springfield, IL; Dana-Thomas House, 301 E Lawrence Ave, Springfield, IL; and Perennial and Native Prairie Plant Demonstration Garden, in front of Building #30, Illinois State Fairgrounds, 801 N. 8th Street, Springfield, IL.

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