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Leadwort is hardly the becoming name this charming and hardworking perennial deserves. Prized for its tolerance of tough growing conditions, droughty soil, deer, and all sorts of pests, the clean green foliage and bright blue flowers—along with its fiery fall leaf show—all make leadwort a wonderful garden plant. Fast-growing but not invasive, leadwort is often used as a groundcover or spreading perennial.
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garden plans for Leadwort
Garden Companions for Leadwort
Leadwort is slow to emerge from winter dormancy, which makes it a wonderful companion for spring bulbs. As tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths finish blooming, leadwort emerges from the soil and unfurls new leaves. The plant's glossy green leaves cover up the withering bulb foliage. Leadwort's purple-blue flowers are pretty partners for yellow-flowered perennials such as yarrow and coreopsis.
Using Leadwort as Groundcover
Embrace leadwort's ability to spread by employing it as a groundcover in a shrub border or foundation planting. Not only will leadwort choke out weeds, but it will also provide a pop of flower color in summer and bright red foliage in fall. Space plants 8 to 12 inches apart (for fast ground cover, plant every 8 inches).
How to Grow Leadwort
Plant leadwort in full sun or part shade and well-drained soil. It will tolerate dry sites after it establishes a strong root system. Add a slow-release fertilizer if you would like to spur growth for quick groundcover. Fertilize again in early summer. If plants grow out of bounds, divide in spring, just after new growth emerges.
Leadwort is marginally hardy in Zone 5. It overwinters best when planted in well-drained soil; wet or boggy soil is particularly troublesome in winter. Spread a thick layer of insulating mulch over plants in late fall and rake it away in spring.