Baptisia australis

Blue False Indigo

1 Review
| 8 answered questions

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 $23.00
Regular price Sale price $23.00
Sale Sold out
PDN Guarantee Logo

Baptisia australis 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. A clump 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. Another claim to fame is that it was selected by the Royal Horticultural Society as one of their top 200 plants of the last 200 years...quite an honor.


False blue indigo 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. False indigo 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 plant, the best time to do so is mid-summer. Despite most of what you read on-line, they can indeed be moved successfully. You will need a sturdy shovel and a sturdy back, since they 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 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 plant 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 the foliage will resprout, the moth certainly ruin the garden appearance.

Growing Conditions:

False blue indigo is native to prairies and woodland edges, usually in fairly dry soils. Despite being one of the most drought tolerant perennials in the garden, it can also be grown as a marginal aquatic.


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

Natural Impacts:

All Baptisias, both species and 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.