Baptisia australis - Blue False Indigo
PPA 2010 'Plant of the Year'
Each year members of the Perennial Plant Association choose an outstanding perennial to be their 'Perennial Plant of the Year'. In 2010, they chose the beautiful native prairie perennial, Baptisia australis (Blue False Indigo or Wild Indigo).
Beautiful 10"-12" spikes of indigo-blue flowers rise above attractive foliage and grace this tough native perennial from May through June. These long-lasting blooms make a wonderful, airy addition to fresh flower arrangements. The lovely pea-shaped flowers are followed by intriguing ornamental seedpods which mature to a deep charcoal gray. The dried seeds in the pods produce a pleasant rattling sound in the autumn breezes.
Baptisia australis grows three to four feet tall and spreads three to four feet wide in an upright habit. The attractive blue-green foliage will form a beautiful shrubby profile but sometimes requires two or three seasons to become fully established. Once established in the garden though, Baptisia is a very tough, long-lived, drought tolerant, and deer resistant perennial.
A Good Companion
These tall, bushy perennials are a great addition to the back of the sunny border garden or as a focal point for the center of an island bed. They can also create a dramatic effect when planted in small groups in a meadow or wildflower garden. They are wonderful in combination with spring blooming iris and peonies, Gaura, and the colorful Heuchera cultivars. The showy indigo-blue flowers even attract a wide range of early season butterflies to your garden.
Baptisia is a very low maintenance perennial. It grows best in full sun but can tolerate some shade, although it can become leggy and require staking if grown in too much shade. Plant them in average, well-drained soil for best performance.