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Desmodium - Growing Guide
Growing Desmodium elegans
These plants have many similarities with lespedeza or indigofera. D. elegans (tiliifolium) is a semi woody plant which sends up erect stems of 2-4ft in height each year from a woody rootstock. The leaves are trifoliate with the main stalk 2-3in long. They are grey and hairy on their undersides.
The flowers appear in 8in long terminal panicles. As with indigofera, the flowers are pea like and lilac to deep pink. They appear in July or August and carry on into September; sometimes even later. As such this plant is a welcome addition to a late summer flowering shrub border or to brighten up a herbaceous border late in the season.
Although the plants will die down to ground level and need to be pruned back over winter they are perfectly hardy. The seed pods are 2-3in long and pea like but they are jointed into six or eight separate sections in the pod.
D. elegans grows best in full sun in a well drained or dry position. They grow well alongside a warm wall.
Seeds, when the pods are ripe, can be sown straight away in containers in a cold frame. Early season softwood cuttings are best.
Our stockplant probably achieves a height of 4-5ft most seasons and, after a few years, it has a similar spread. They grow well beside lespedeza and indigofera and perform at the same time.