• Amorpha canescens

    Lead Plant

Amorpha canescens

Lead Plant Description:

Amorpha canescens, commonly known as leadplant, is a beautiful and hardy shrub that is native to North America. This perennial plant has a distinctive appearance, with its unique gray-green leaves that give off a metallic sheen. It is a slow-growing shrub that typically reaches a height of one to two meters, and its branches spread out to form a bushy shape. In midsummer, the plant produces small, attractive flowers that bloom in shades of purple-blue, adding to its aesthetic appeal.

One of the reasons for Amorpha canescens' popularity is its ability to tolerate drought and thrive in various soil types. This feature makes it a common choice for use in xeriscaping and prairie restoration. The plant's roots have been used in traditional medicine to treat various health conditions such as diarrhea, toothache, and sore throat. Additionally, it serves as a vital food source for many species of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and bees. With its unique appearance, hardiness, and ecological benefits, Amorpha canescens is a valuable addition to any garden or natural habitat.

Native Range:

Lead plant can be found natively across central United States, from Minnesota south to Texas, from Montana to Michigan. 

Standard Plant Information:

Plant Height: 1' - 3' 

Bloom Time: June - August

Preferred Habitat: Does well in sunny dry prairies as well as sandy open woodland.

Host Plant: Host plant for the Gray Hairstreak


For most homeowners, the best option is to scatter seed on the ground by hand broadcasting at a minimum of 16-64 pls ounces per acre.  For even coverage, we recommend that you broadcast seed in perpendicular rows across the site to ensure even coverage.

You’ll want to broadcast any grass seed first, which will get raked into the soil lightly. Next, it is ideal to mulch the area lightly with either a clean (no seed) straw or preferably with our native Little Bluestem straw, sold at our retail garden centers. After a light mulching is complete, now it’s time to broadcast your native wildflower seeds, which should not be raked into the soil. A good rain or watering is sufficient to cover the seed.


Simply dig a hole in the soil slightly larger than the plant’s roots. Ensure that the soil line of the plant is maintained during the transfer (i.e. the plant should be at the same level with the ground as it was in the pot). Pack any loose dirt back around the plant and make sure you water it well the same day to ensure it has the best chance of survival.

maps used with permission from MN Wildflowers

Amorpha Canescens Gallery

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