Lespedeza

Lespedeza is one of the best flowering shrubs for late summer and early fall. It has long arching stems weighed down by large sprays of purple pea flowers.

blooming lespedeza

Photo: akicQ (flickr)

It looks like a fountain of airy flowers when it blooms.

Lespedeza is one of the best flowering shrubs for late summer and early fall. It has long arching stems weighed down by large sprays of purple pea flowers. It looks like a fountain of airy flowers when it blooms. It should be cut back to the ground in late fall, and to contain its dense spread, a third of the stems can be cut out in early summer each year.

The shrub is “Lespedeza Thunbergie” and although there are highly invasive Lespedezas, sometimes called bush clovers, the thunbergia shrub is not an aggressive member of the family.

You may like to grow it as a specimen or as part of a large planting as it will need plenty of room to show off its charms. I have three interspersed in a very large bed where it has good drainage which it prefers.

Focal Points

In August, they become focal points, drawing attention away from perennials that have exhausted their energy. I saw my first “Lespedeza” bushes in a mixed planting at Burnham Woods.

I took note of the companion plantings so that I could find the right neighbours for them in my own garden. Having good neighbours is as important for plants as it is for people.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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