June 23, 2017

Rolling in Clover

Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Gibraltar’

Mark Uchneat Photo | Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Gibraltar’

Some plants achieve great things in a year, but few can boast the growing power of Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Gibraltar.’ This member of the legume family produces masses of pink-purple pea-like blooms in late summer on arching stems that can reach 6 feet in length. How is that great, you ask? It is recommended the stems be cut back to ground level in late winter because all flowering occurs on new growth that emerges in the spring; that means all that loveliness developed in a matter of weeks. This impressive plant is native to China and Japan and is hardy to Zone 4, which means it could winter over in much of Maine. Its needs are few, especially since legumes can tolerate somewhat poor soil and still do well. It likes full sun but can take some shade. No wonder its common name is bush clover, for one would like to be rolling in it every year.

Photographed by Mark Uchneat.

Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Gibraltar’

Mark Uchneat Photo | Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Gibraltar’