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Baptisia australis

Blue False Indigo

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Item #: 1182

Zones: 4a to 9b

Dormancy: Winter

Height: 36" tall

Culture: Sun to Part Sun

Origin: United States

Pot Size: 3.5" pot (24 fl. oz/0.7 L)


Regular price $20.00
Regular price Sale price $20.00
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Baptisia australis, aka: blue false indigo, is an easy-to-grow, drought-tolerant, deer-resistant North American native that is always a perennial favorite (pardon the pun) for the border or the wild garden. Blue false indigo is composed of upright stems clothed with peanut-like, trifoliate (three-lobed), blue-green, waxy foliage on a clump that can easily cover an area 4' wide. In early spring before the clump bulks up, the awesome blue lupine-like flower racemes are held atop the foliage. Baptisia australis was selected by the Royal Horticultural Society as one of their top 200 plants of the last 200 years...quite an honor.

Maintenance:

Baptisia australis requires almost nothing in terms of garden maintenance. When they go dormant in fall, the old stalks can be cut to the ground or simply wait until the stalks break off naturally. Baptisia australis can become a maintenance problem if you don't allow enough space when you plant it. A well-grown plant can easily have a girth of 4' wide, and because of its density will smother other nearby plants.

If you need to relocate your baptisia, the best time to do so is mid-summer. Despite most of what you read on-line baptisas, like Baptisia australis can indeed be moved successfully. You will need a sturdy shovel and a sturdy back, since baptisias have a massive root system. Once moved, they will need daily water for a couple of weeks, after which time they should be well re-established.

The only significant pest of baptisia is the Genista broom moth. This native North American pest moved from Mexico into the US probably around the 1930s.These larvae can completely defoliate a baptisis within a couple of days, so keep your eyes peeled. Infections are usually first noticed in late spring, but subsequent generations can appear throughout the summer. Although baptisias will resprout, the moth certainly ruin the garden appearance.

Growing Conditions:

Baptisia australis is native to praires and woodland edges, usually in fairly dry soils. Despite being one of the most drought tolerant perennials in the garden, Baptisia australis can also be grown as a marginal aquatic.

Nomenclature:

Some taxonomist consider Baptisia australis and Baptisia minor to be the same species.We strongly disagree. For the garden, Baptisia minor is a far superior species. The same is true for most of the hybrid cultivars, which are dramatically better garden plants that straight Baptisia australis. Improvements include better habitat, more flowers, taller flower spikes, and better flower color.

Natural Impacts;

Baptisias, both Baptisia australis and all of the hybrids are equally attractive to bees. Despite the bizarre claims on-line that hybrids are less attractive to native pollinators, this has no relation to reality, but if something is repeated enough times, some folks assume it to be true.