Dalea Purpurea

Dalea Purpurea – Purple Prairie Clover (Su,D,S,N)

24-36″ Tall x 12″ Spread, Purple flowers from late June to early August.

  • deep tap root
  • forage for bees
  • Blooms:  Summer  (Su)
  • Moisture: Dry  (D)
  • Soil Type: Sand (S)
  • Range: Native (N)
  • Started as: Seed 14 – 30 days

Propagation via seed

Best planted is soils with excellent drainage. For my western clay, intend have a 6″ layer above made from the 40 years of blue grass. Once established, this bed will not receive additional irrigation.  Spread seed,  then very lightly cover with soil (about 1/16 inch).  Keep moist until germination.
One thing to watch for is rust, produced when leaves are not allowed to dry before sun hits them.  If irrigated, do just after sunset.  Once established, watering is only occasional.   In the first year the deep tap root is the primary growth, so you will not see a larger established.
Read more at Gardening Know How: Prairie Clover Information: Growing Purple Prairie Clover In Gardens
Purchased 8 plants from Prairie Nursery 3/2020.

Role in Ecosystem

In the new evolution of gardening its important for plants to serve a role in the creation of habitat for our neighbors of habitat.  To that end, my plant choices will not only promote prairie beauty, a key element in gardening, but also serve a key element of habitat.

  •  POLLINATOR “SUPERFOOD”—This plant gets the gold start exceptional forage for a wide variety of bees and other pollinators.
  • FOOD FOR SPECIALIST BEES –  I plant this for Plasterer Bees (Colletes) who get their breakfast from this food!


Dalea Purpurea


Habitat Types and Plant communities

The following is a direct quote from the US Forest Service Information on habitat.

“Purple prairie clover is an important component of Great Plains grassland communities. It is considered “common” in most grassland habitat types of the midwestern United States and southern Canada. Graminoids dominate these regions, comprising 80% to 90% to the total plant population. Purple prairie clover and other forbs generally make up 10% or less of total plant population in the Midwest [119]. Purple prairie clover is found in tallgrass, shortgrass, or mixed-grass prairies.

Common associates in tallgrass prairies include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), prairie Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), lead plant (Amorpha canescens), and silky aster (Aster sericeus). Associates in mid-grass prairie include silver bluestem (Bothriochloa saccharoides), purple threeawn (Aristida purpurea), sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), and sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus).

Grass associates in shortgrass prairie include blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), hairy grama (B. hirsuta), and buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides). Forb associates include wavyleaf thistle (Cirsium undulatum), gayfeather (Liatris punctata), and scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea).

Forbs may be interspersed with several shrubs including American hazelnut (Corylus americana), smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) and/or trees including green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides), eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), white oak (Quercus alba), bur oak (Q. macrocarpa), and shagbark hickory”


An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.