A late season bloomer, shrub bush-clover is a good addition for late summer or fall color. Arching stems on this sub-shrub give the plant a cascading effect.
Size & form:
Shrub bush-clover is an upright, branched shrub or sub-shrub reaching 3 to 10 feet high. Dies to ground in cold, northern climates, so it is considered a herbaceous perennial in these areas.
Native geographic location and habitat:
Native to China, Korea, and Japan.
Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:
Birds are attracted to the seeds.
Bark color and texture:
Thin, arching stems are whitish-tan.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:
Alternate leaf arrangement with 2 inch long, trifolate ( three-leaved), elliptical leaflets. Leaves are dark green, changing to yellow-green in fall.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size:
Erect, pea-shaped, rose-purple flowers up to 5 inches long on tips and leaf axils of current seasons growth. Flowers mid-summer in July and August.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:
Small, ovate single-seeded pods are ⅓ inch long.
Best planted in full sun in well-drained, dry soils. Prune in winter or early spring to encourage new growth. Stems die back to ground in cold winters. Do not fertilize.
List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:
Wet, clay soil can cause root rot. Tolerant of aerial salt spray.
Summer Beauty shrub bush-clover (Lespedeza bicolor ‘Summer Beauty’):
A 3 to 5 feet high, upright shrub with violet-pink flowers.
Yakushima shrub bush-clover (Lespedeza bicolor ‘Yakushima’):
A low-growing, 12 to 18 inches high, mounded shrub with small blue-green leaves and violet-purple flowers. Considered to be a non-invasive dwarf form.
Edo Shibori Thunberg’s bush-clover (Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Edo Shibori’):
A late summer flowering shrub blooms with bi-color, rosy-pink and white flowers on a 4 to 6 feet high plant.