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FutureStarrCutting Back Baptisia
I have black foliage on the Baptisia, but some of the plant is still green with only a couple of nights of frost. Calendula is still blooming and healthy foliage. The problem is that one of the Baptisia didn't get any support and it is all over the neighboring plants. I would just love to cut the stems back to the ground, but I don't want to hurt it's chances of getting through the winter. Any experience with cutting back baptisia?
Prairiemoon, I have a beautiful pink peony in front and slightly off to the side of the baptisia. I wish I could remember what the name of it is - I have the tag, but I can't get to it now because our house is all torn up to have some floors refinished...but it's bright pink with a deep yellow center and in front of the blue of the baptisia it's a stunning combination. It's hard to get something good to bloom at the same time as the baptisia, but this peony is perfect!Every year the Perennial Plant Association chooses a plant of the year. For 2010 this is Baptisia australis, or blue false indigo. This long-lived perennial legume, hardy in zones 3 to 9, has long been a favorite, although underused, garden plant. Native to eastern North American prairies, meadows, open woods and along streams, blue false indigo got its common name because it was once used as a substitute for true indigo (Indigofera tinctoria, native to southern Asia) which was used to make blue dye. Other common names include blue wild indigo, indigo weed, rattleweed, rattlebush and horse fly weed. B. australis was used medicinally by Native Americans as a purgative, to treat tooth aches and nausea, and as an eyewash.
These substantial plants are very long-lived and vigorous. Initially a bit slow to establish, Baptisias are also tough and drought tolerant, requiring little maintenance. These members of the Pea family have lupine-like flowers ideal for cutting and are very hardy to zone 3. They grow three to four feet tall and as wide, with lovely blue-green foliage that stays healthy all summer, providing a perfect backdrop for later blooming perennial companions. Plant 18 to 30 inches apart, depending on variety.Baptisias, also known as false or wild indigos (Baptisia spp.), are a group of large, long-lived perennials. They provide an extended season of interest from flowers and foliage. The botanical name Baptisia originates from the Greek word bapto, to dip or to dye. Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) and yellow wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria) were used to produce a blue dye by both Native Americans and settlers before the introduction of the better quality true indigo (Indigofera tinctoria). (Source: hgic.clemson.edu)