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Audubon® Lead Plant
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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.
May Benefit & Attract: Finches, sparrows, and juncos.
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
Size AAA (8-10" tall) container grown
Size AA (18-24" tall) container grown
- Hardiness Zone: 2-9
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Recommended by Our Growers
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.
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.
How to Grow
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!
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