We’ve been on the subject of perennials lately and now we can’t help but show off these Baptisia australis (False Indigo). It’s one of those plants that gets forgotten after they bloom, but hold their place in any garden the whole growing season.
They’re a long-lived shrub-like perennial that grow 3-4′ tall and as wide over time, each spring leafing out with blue-green clover-like foliage and sending up beautiful blue, pea-like flower spikes in May. Black seed pods develop later in the season that rattle in the wind and give some late fall interest and are useful in dry flower arrangements. If you aren’t concerned with the seedpods, trim and shape the plant after it flowers to keep them compact and tidy.
They are plants that don’t like to be moved so site them well in full sun – part shade in average, well-drained garden soil. They are drought tolerant once established. Use them as a fresh green backdrop to other perennials in cottage gardens, in meadow plantings, mixed borders and foundations. Older plants can each have hundreds of blooms!
Interesting to know: Native Americans used this originally for the blue dye before Indigofera tinctoria was introduced. They are a native plant that is deer resistant and is a host to many species of Butterflies.