Why plant Audubon® Native Lead Plant?
Bring beauty and wildlife to dry, barren spaces with Leadplant! This sturdy prairie native performs like a champ in difficult situations and produces copious spikes of iridescent purple flowers that attract many native bees and other pollinators. The blooms eventually become food for finches, sparrows, and juncos in the form of seed. Bird-lovers will also be happy to know that Leadplant’s handsome, finely-divided foliage supplies our backyard songbirds’ greatest need—caterpillars and grasshoppers! Rich in protein and fat, insects are essential to many birds’ healthy growth and development, and plants that host them should be included liberally in our landscapes.
On the vast plains and prairies of our country, wherever the land has not been overgrazed, is where Leadplant can be found. It flourishes in sunny, dry sites from North Dakota to Texas, and east and west to the neighboring states. Here it serves as food and cover to birds and other small animals, and as a top-notch plant for pollinators when it blooms in summer. Miner bees in particular are specialized pollinators of Leadplant. These underappreciated native bees do not live in hives, but in solitary nests in the ground. They are nonaggressive and do not sting.
How to use Audubon® Native Lead Plant in the landscape?
Leadplant hosts several butterfly species, such as the friendly silver-spotted skipper, a frequent visitor to gardens. Other butterflies supported by this useful native include gray hairstreaks and dogface sulfurs.
Hardiness Zone: 2-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Lead Plant
Give Leadplant all-day sun if you can, so that the flowers are as prolific as possible. Plants grown in too much shade bloom poorly, and they lean towards the light. You’ll need to water regularly during the establishment period; eventually, the plant will become very drought tolerant. Establishment does take some time. Leadplant spends its first few years putting down deep roots in order to survive on the dry, wind-whipped plains. In the meantime, the plant may not show much top-growth, but be patient. When it’s ready, it will shine!
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.