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Botanical Interests Leadplant Seeds

Perennial in USDA zones 2-6. Blooms early to midsummer. This stunning 3'-4' tall native is a combination of beautiful silvery fronds topped with long candles of violet-blue flowers with striking orange stamens. Looking almost tropical, this vigorous but slow-growing shrub-like plant is very adaptable to moist or dry sites and a variety of soil types. Its deep root system adds nitrogen to the soil and prevents soil erosion. Plants may be cut back 2-4" from the ground in late winter to maintain desired size and shape. Called 'Leadplant' because it was once thought to detect the presence of lead in the soil. Also called Prairie Shoestring, it is a fantastic plant for luring butterflies.

When to plant outside: RECOMMENDED. Sow in fall for germination the following spring or in spring as soon as the soil can be worked.

When to start inside: Germination improves if seed is scarified or receives a cold treatment. (See below.)

Special Germination Instructions: When started indoors, seeds may not germinate all at once. Germination may occur over several months. There are two methods used to promote germination. The first is to soak seeds in water overnight or at least 12 hours and place in moistened seed-starting mix. Grow in a location with temperatures around 68-70 degrees F. The second method requires a cold treatment. Place seed in moistened seed starting mix in a cool location with temperatures around 40 degrees F (refrigerator, unheated garage or basement may work) for 8-12 weeks then move into a warmer location. Natural stratification occurs when seed is planted outdoors in fall.


Native North American plants are indigenous plants that evolved naturally in their ecosystem without introduction. They often tolerate greater swings in water availability, have deep root systems that prevent water runoff and soil erosion and require little or no fertilizer or pest control. They also provide food for butterflies, insects, birds, and other valuable pollinators.


Plant species are constantly being lost throughout the world as a result of habitat loss, climate change, pollution, insect and disease problems, and even over-collection. Botanical Interests is very pleased to be working with botanic gardens throughout the U.S. to protect species that are rare and endangered or may become so if not maintained. As gardeners we can feel good about adding these attractive, adaptable treasures to our gardens. By planting them, we become responsible stewards of the environment and give a gift back to nature. "

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