TREES & plants


Leadplant is a upright, rounded shrub, native to the Midwest, that does well in dry sandy to clay soil; the attractive gray-green foliage adds nice contrast in rock gardens.  The purplish-blue flower spikes in June and July serve as a host to caterpillars, as well as a nectar source for butterflies, and a food source for birds. 

Botanical name: 
Amorpha canescens
All Common Names: 
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Fabaceae (formerly Leguminosae)
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Perennial
  • Shrub
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 2
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Dry sites
  • Occasional drought
  • Alkaline soil
  • Clay soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Dry soil
  • Sandy soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Blue
  • Purple
Size Range: 
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Mounded
  • Round
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Foundation
  • Mixed border
Time of Year: 
  • Early summer
More Information: 


2 to 4 feet high and 4 to 5 feet wide

Tree & Plant Care

Leadplant is a tall grass prairie native, forming an upright densely compact habit. 
Although this is a woody shrub, it often dies to the ground in winter.

Disease, pests and problems

No serious problems

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 9
Native to the Midwest and Great Plains.
Commonly found in dry prairies.

Attracts birds & butterflies

Nectar source for butterflies such as the painted lady, red admiral, fritillaries, sulphurs, and blues.
Birds, including the goldfinch, sparrow, titmouse, and junco are attracted to the plant’s seeds.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, compound leaves with 15 to 45 pair of oval-shaped leaflets.
Attractive,  gray-green color adds nice contrast in rock gardens.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Lavender-blue flowers with yellow anthers occur on multiple terminal spikes.
Flowers June and July.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Flattened, 1/4 inch seed pods persist into winter; not ornamentally important.