PlantsLespedeza→Bush Clover (Lespedeza thunbergii)

Botanical names:
Lespedeza thunbergii Accepted
Lespedeza formosa Synonym
Lespedeza luchuensis Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 24-36 inches (60-90 cm)
Plant Spread: 36-40 inches
Leaves: Deciduous
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on new wood
Flower Color: Purple
Flower Time: Fall
Dynamic Accumulator: Nitrogen fixer
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

full-grown in bloom

What's Blooming in OctoberWhat's Blooming in October
By LarryR on October 17, 2011

October usually spells the end of the gardening season here in Iowa. This year we've been blessed with an extended season as there has been no frost yet. Come on in and see what's still blooming at Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens! Check out the photo contest at the end of the article and take a moment to scroll down farther to the forum to show us some of the flowers blooming in your garden right now.

(Full article27 comments)
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Photo gallery:
Location: Wayne, PennsylvaniaDate: 2021-09-27full-grown in bloom
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Location: Wayne, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-10-05close-up of flowers
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Location: In my garden, Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens, South Amana, IADate: 2008-09-17
By larryr
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Location: Wayne, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-10-05shrub in bloom
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Location: At a nursery, BelgiumDate: 2015-08-18
By bonitin
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Location: At a nursery, BelgiumDate: 2015-08-18
By bonitin
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Photo courtesy of Joy Creek Nursery
By Joy
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Posted by Newyorkrita (North Shore, Long Island, NY ) on Oct 4, 2011 11:14 AM

A large, rather untidy, sprawling plant with arching branches covered in beautiful rose-pinkish blooms come summer, which really did remind me of pea blossoms, having the same shape. Bush clover actually is in the legume family, same as garden peas. Give it lots of room. In summer it looked more like a shrub to me than a perennial, although it did die down to the roots each winter and start up fresh each spring in the typical perennial habit.

I no longer have mine as I found it just too untidy in spite of the fact that I just love the summer blossoms.

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Posted by sandnsea2 (Cape Cod, MA, USA - Zone 7a) on Dec 4, 2011 2:03 PM

Lespedeza is a wonderful fall-blooming shrub.
It's a very tough plant as well. I have moved it around quite easily, even while in bloom, and it came back nicely.
It has a cascading growth habit, which makes it very graceful in appearance.
I get many favorable comments on it from visitors because its color and form are unusual in a fall bloomer. It can be challenging, however, to place properly.
It also provides an important structural and architectural element in the fall garden.
I would not want to be without it.

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Posted by DEEDEEDEE on Nov 5, 2016 4:56 AM

Have several of these. The best plant ever! We have a lot of wildlife around us, and this plant is never disturbed. One benefits from our irrigation system; others do not. All are in rocky hard clay soil with some garden soil thrown in to help them along. They don't need fertilizer or any special care. Mine are all in full sun.
I cut them down in fall after blooming is finished, and they all come back fuller than the year before. I think this is one perfect plant!

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Oct 8, 2019 7:33 PM

This species is from China and Japan. A nice little naturalistic landscape company planted two shrubs in a church landscape where I do work in a new memorial garden. They are slow to grow in the spring. Later in summer they grow fast and hang down and sprawl outward, where they can interfere with nearby plants I've cut them down close to the ground each late fall or early spring. To me they are interesting, but I'm not passionate about them.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Are all types of lespedeza host plants? by Miamiu Oct 17, 2020 6:50 PM 3
2016 Garden Chat and Photos by ssgardener Sep 28, 2020 9:48 AM 1,947
(Lespedeza thunbergii) by woofie Sep 23, 2014 8:54 AM 7
Nursery Clean Up! Lots of Perennial and Shrubs to chose from. by finerliners Jul 20, 2011 8:27 AM 1

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