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Zones 1-24, 28-43
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Baptisia

False Indigo, Wild Indigo
Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Perennials, Flowers

These natives of the eastern and southern U.S., also called false lupine, have deep taproots that enable them to survive difficult conditions, including drought and poor, sandy soils. Their bluish green leaves are divided into three leaflets. Small, sweet pea–shaped blooms appear on tall, tapering spikes in late spring or early summer. Inflated seedpods follow.

Clumps gradually increase but don’t need division; they also resent transplanting once established. Remove spent flowers to encourage repeat bloom.

The plant’s spiky architectural shape makes it perfect for perennial borders; cluster several as a focal point behind Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (silvery gray foliage) and Veronica repens ‘Sunshine’ (golden yellow foliage). Also pretty with pink or yellow roses, or—for a meadow look—with ornamental grasses.

Baptisia alba ‘Wayne’s World’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Baptisia alba ‘Wayne’s World’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Baptisia alba

Upright and bushy, to 3 ft. tall and wide, with white or creamy white flowers on attractive, smoky gray stems.

Baptisia australis (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Baptisia australis (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Baptisia australis

A slightly spreading plant to 3–5 ft. tall and 4 ft. wide, with deep blue flowers.

 

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