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Lespedeza thunbergii

Phonetic Spelling
less-pe-DEEZ-a thun-BER-jee-eye
Description

Thunberg bush clover is a deciduous shrub in the Fabaceae (bean) family that grows as a fountain-like mound of arching stems.  It gives much needed interest and color to the late summer early fall garden.  The genus Lespedeza is a nod to the Spanish governor of West Florida (1784-1790)  Vincente Manuel de Cespedes and the species thunbergii is named abter  Swedish naturalist Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828).

Grow in full sun or part shade with a location in full sun producing the best flowering.  I will grow in a variety of soils as long as good drainage is provided.  Once established this plant is quite drought tolerant.  

Pruning should be done in late winter to early spring before new growth begins as this plant will bloom on new growth only. In areas with cold winters the top of the plant will die back.  Arching stems that reach ground level and continue to grow horizontally along the ground can set out roots where the nodes come in contact with the ground.  It will also reseed itself easily in the landscape.. 

Plant in small groups or mass plant in shrub or perennial borders.  Dot them along slopes or let the attractive flowers bring hummingbirds and butterflies into a cottage garden.  The graceful arching stems look great spilling over a garden wall or raised bed.  

Deemed a Plant of Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious issues.  It can be weedy in some areas.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
  • 'Gibraltar'
    Blooms late summer-early fall. Fountain-like arching stems.
  • 'Samidare'
    Fuchsia pink blooms - 4-5' tall
'Alba', 'Gibraltar', 'Samidare'
Tags:
#arching#showy flowers#deciduous#drought tolerant#purple flowers#pink flowers#weedy#deciduous shrub#slopes#fall interest#cottage garden#erosion control#deer resistant#self-seeding#small group plantings#garden walls#flowers early fall#pea-shaped flowers#shrub borders
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
  • 'Gibraltar'
    Blooms late summer-early fall. Fountain-like arching stems.
  • 'Samidare'
    Fuchsia pink blooms - 4-5' tall
'Alba', 'Gibraltar', 'Samidare'
Tags:
#arching#showy flowers#deciduous#drought tolerant#purple flowers#pink flowers#weedy#deciduous shrub#slopes#fall interest#cottage garden#erosion control#deer resistant#self-seeding#small group plantings#garden walls#flowers early fall#pea-shaped flowers#shrub borders
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Lespedeza
    Species:
    thunbergii
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    E. Himalaya to Central & S. China and Temp. E. Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Colorful
    Screening
    Textural
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Petals:
    fused petals
    Flower Description:
    Pea shaped pink purple flowers on 6" racemes appear from August to September
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Trifoliate, bluish-green leaves
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Multi-stemmed
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Problems:
    Weedy