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.
"This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research."
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Mixed border,
- Small shrub (3-5 feet),
- Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 2,
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6
- Dry soil,
- Sandy soil
- Dry sites,
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil,
- Clay soil
Season of Interest:
- Early summer
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Tree & Plant Care
2 to 4 feet high and 4 to 5 feet wide shrub.
Leadplant is a tallgrass prairie native, forming an upright densely compact habit.
Best in sunny, well-drained to dry soil.
Although this is a woody shrub, it often dies to the ground in winter.
May be cut to the ground in early spring.
Disease, pests and problems
No serious problems.
Native geographic location and habitat
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.