Audubon® Purple Prairie Clover
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Cute and charismatic! Purple Prairie Clover (say that five times fast) is a perky native Spirit that will win you over with its offbeat good looks. It turns on the charm in early summer, when the purple-pink flowers rise up from the finely dissected foliage. The bloom buds are held in long gray cones, and the tiny florets open in a ring, progressing from the bottom to the top. Native bees of all types come to gather Purple Prairie Clover’s golden-orange pollen, and small butterflies come to sip its nectar. Later, songbirds arrive for the seed. A fun plant for meadows and mixed borders.
May Benefit & Attract: cardinals & grosbeaks, wrens, sparrows, thrushes, orioles, finches, mockingbirds & thrashers, vireos
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.
- Hardiness Zone: 3-8
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Recommended by Our Growers
Purple Prairie Clover is a denizen of the Great Plains and prairie states, where the land has not been developed or overgrazed. It’s a sun-loving species that’s well adapted to fire. When fire strikes, it clears away trees and shrubs that would otherwise begin to shade out Purple Prairie Clover, and the plant survives the onslaught by virtue of its deep (to six feet) taproot. In the wild, its high-protein foliage is choice fodder for pronghorn antelope, and its flowers are vital to a few species of specialist bees that rely on its pollen.
One interesting insect that uses Purple Prairie Clover as a host plant is the Southern Dogface butterfly. This sweet yellow and black butterfly gets it name from the pattern on the upper side of its wings, which looks like a dog’s head in profile.
How to Grow
Purple Prairie Clover likes deep, well-drained soil in full sun. The site doesn’t have to be particularly fertile, because this plant is a nitrogen-fixer. That means it can nourish itself with nitrogen it pulls from the air. You’ll want to water it regularly during the first summer it’s in the ground; eventually, it will be very drought tolerant. Due to its long taproot, Purple Prairie Clover may take a long time to bulk up and flower profusely. It puts its energy into below-ground growth before the top takes off. Have patience!
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