Lespedeza bicolor

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Rather than flowering in one stem-flattening autumn explosion like Lespedeza thunbergii, bicolor bush-clover produces its purple pea-flowers over several weeks in late summer, on stems that are archint to upright instead of prostrated.  The leaves are bolder and less crowded than those of Lespedeza thunbergii, giving it a relatively airy and elegant look.  Give Lespedeza bicolor a pass if you garden in the Southeast, where it's become something of a weed via self-sowing.  It's well-behaved in colder climes. Cut plants back to a few inches in early spring.

Full sun to light shade; average to dry soil (drought tolerant); 5'x5'; summer; Zone 4

Propagated from seed; deep 3.5-inch pots

Photo: F. D. Richards