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Baptisia australis - Blue False Indigo (photo credit: Missouri Botanical Garden)

Perennials

Baptisia australis

Blue False Indigo

Baptisia australis, or Blue False Indigo, is an upright perennial which features violet blue, lupine-like flowers in erect spikes extending well above a foliage mound of clover-like, bluish-green leaves. The flowers are like manna to bees, particularly queen bumblebees. Hummingbirds have been known to occasionally visit the blooms of baptisia. 

Flowers give way to seed pods which turn charcoal black when ripe and have considerable ornamental interest. Seeds rattle around in the blackened pods which were once popularly used by children as rattles. Stems with seed pods are a pretty addition to dried flower arrangements.  As plants age, they develop more stems and become broader and bushier.

Additional:

Perennial Plant of the Year for 2010

MSD Stormwater BMP Native plant used in Infiltration Basins & Dry Swales applications

Baptisia is a host plant for larvae of the Wild Indigo Duskywing butterfly, Silver-Spotted Skippers and Hoary Edge Butterflies! Bumblebees love it too!

Blue False Indigo Growing and Maintenance Tips:

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Tolerates drought and poor soils. Over time, plants develop slowly expanding clumps with deep and extensive root systems, and should not be disturbed once established.

May be grown from seed, but takes several years to establish. Trimming foliage after bloom helps maintain rounded plant appearance, but eliminates the developing seed pods which are so attractive.

Height:

36-48 Inches

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Spread:

36-48 Inches

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Hardiness Zone:

3 - 9

Characteristics & Attributes for Baptisia australis

Exposure
Sun
Partial Shade
Soil Moisture Preference
Dry
Average
Attracts Wildlife
Butterflies
Critter Resistance
Rabbit Resistant
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Summer
Spring
Season of Interest (Foliage)
Spring
Summer
Attributes
Mass Planting
Border or Bed
Native
Cut Flower
Specimen
Dried Flower
Drought Tolerant
Focal Point
Great Companion Plants for Baptisia australis
Wood Sage Wood Sage (Salvia x sylvestris 'May Night')
Beard Tongue Beard Tongue (Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red')
Missouri Primrose Missouri Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa or missouriensis )
Bee Balm Bee Balm (Monarda 'Fireball')
Garden Pinks Garden Pinks (Dianthus 'Kahori')
Similar Plants to Baptisia australis
Russian Sage Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia )