Thursday, May 31, 2012

Baptisia

Baptisia, or False Indigo, is a native legume that spreads gently through rhizomes. The extremely large and deep root system makes this plant very drought tolerant and very difficult to move.  Baptisia is a host for quite a few butterfly species and attractive to bees.

White False Indigo, Baptisia lactea, is going strong out in the display beds. (Other Baptisia species finished blooming several weeks ago) This white beauty holds its head high above grasses and other perennials.  This is a great 'see-through' plant for the garden.  As fall approaches the seed pods turn black adding late season and winter interest.

More and more cultivars of False Indigo are being introduced into the trade.

Tips for growing:
1. Be patient. It takes time to take off. 
2. Plant it in a spot that you will not have to move it. B. australis can get 3' high and wide.
3. Give it a sunny spot with a well-drained soil. B. laceta is more tolerant of heavy clay.
4. If using one of the larger Baptisia (B. australis, B. lactea, B. hybrids) use low growing grasses and other perennials around the base.

Baptisia lactea, White False Indigo, in the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum display beds.

Baptisia australis, grows 3-4 feet tall.  Has a  tight, rounded form to it.


Baptisia bracteata, difficult to find. 
Baptisia minor, a perennial of the year in the Great Plant for the Great Plains, of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. Much smaller than Baptisia australis.


Seeds forming

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