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Lespedeza virginica is often confused with:
Lespedeza thunbergii Lespedeza thunbergii
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Lespedeza capitata Form
Viola pedata Viola pedata
Viola pubescens Form

Lespedeza virginica

Phonetic Spelling
less-pe-DEEZ-a vir-JIN-ih-kuh
Description

Virgina bush clover is a native perennial wildflower in the Fabaceae (bean) family which is native to much of the United states.  Hybridizing has resulted in a great variation in the 18 or more species.  In the wild, it can be found growing in dry woods, clearings, thickets, sandy prairies, hill prairies, rocky upland forests, savannas, scrubby barrens, limestone glades bluffs, and along lakes.  Typically, oak trees dominate the wooded areas where this plant is found.  

This plant prefers well-drained moist to dry sandy, loamy or rocky soils and sites in full sun to partial shade. Being a member of the Fabaceae family, its roots fix nitrogen so it adds fertility to poor soils, and once established it is very drought tolerant. This plant grows 2 to 3 feet tall with a spread of 1 to 2 feet.  It naturalizes easily in the landscape through self seeding but can also propagate through rooting of its prostrate stems.  

Flowers are visited by many pollinators, the leaves are a larval food source for butterflies and the seeds from this plant are a food source for the bobwhite quail and other songbirds. The leaves are browsed by deer and rabbits.  They are capable of forming fertile seeds without insect pollination.  It will naturalize by reseeding and prostrate stems rooting at the nodes.

As it blooms on new wood, cut this herbaceous plant to the ground in the winter.  It will come back next spring with a vengeance.  

Plant in a meadow, woodland, or cottage garden, or let it naturalize in an informal area of the landscape.  This pollinatator plant makes an excellent addition to a butterfly or wildlife garden or planted in the middle of a wildflower border. 

Recipient of the Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#pink flowers#low maintenance#cottage garden#specialized bees#NC native#deer browsing plant#quail#thickets#native wildflower#wildflower garden#naturalized area#larval host plant#food source fall#flowers late summer#food source herbage#border middle#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#nectar plant late summer#nectar plant early fall#flowers early fall#pollinator garden#bee friendly#Audubon#meadows#rabbit browsing plant#woodland garden#eastern tailed-blue butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#pink flowers#low maintenance#cottage garden#specialized bees#NC native#deer browsing plant#quail#thickets#native wildflower#wildflower garden#naturalized area#larval host plant#food source fall#flowers late summer#food source herbage#border middle#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#nectar plant late summer#nectar plant early fall#flowers early fall#pollinator garden#bee friendly#Audubon#meadows#rabbit browsing plant#woodland garden#eastern tailed-blue butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Lespedeza
    Species:
    virginica
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and central U.S.A. and Mexico
    Wildlife Value:
    Nectar from the flowers is enjoyed by bees, flies, and adult butterflies. Fruits attract birds including quail and small mammals. This plant supports Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas) larvae which has many broods from February-November. The adult butterflies feed on low-lying, open or short-tubed flowers such as white sweet clover, shepherd's needle, wild strawberry, winter cress, cinquefoils, and asters.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Cascading
    Mounding
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • 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:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Description:
    Bean pod displays from August to November, food source birds and small mammals.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Pink pea-like flowers with a large sploched with purple-red upper petal, two side petals and a lower lip on slender stalks found in the axils of leaves bloom for around 3 weeks from July to September.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Small blue green alternate oblong or linear to some trifolate leaves 1 1/2" x 1/2" with entire margins a tiny point at the tip on long stalks
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Long stalks, upright stems with white hairs and many branches.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil