ABaptisia Varieties

ABaptisia Varieties

Baptisia Varieties

Baptisias are some of the most fragrant flowers in the summer garden. They often get mixed up with verbena, another plant that has a wonderfully sweet smell. But to different gardeners, the two plants often look clearly different. And as if that’s not confusing enough, they both have different names. Here’s the quick and dirty guide to figuring out which plant you’re seeing in garden centers.The genus Baptisia is comprised of more than 20 species of perennials from dry woodland and grassland in the eastern and southern United States. Leaves are fully divided and palmate. Pea-like flowers bloom on tall, branched stems and are followed by large seedpods that are often inflated and rattle in a breeze. Some species can be sheared into neat shapes for a more formal look. Baptisia works well in borders, wild gardens, or on hills and banks.


series of Baptisias was developed by a talented Midwest hybridizer named Hans Hansen. What started as a fun botanizing trip in the lower Midwest with a fellow botanist blossomed into a complex hybridizing project for Hans. For over a decade, he made countless crosses with many native Baptisia species he had collected across Texas and Oklahoma. These crosses resulted in an array of seedlings with unique flower colors and compact plant habits.Baptisia are smaller cultivars which are more suitable for home gardens. Maturing to 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall, they’ll take up about the same amount of space as a small shrub or large clump of daisies in your garden. You’ll love their vividly colored flower spikes in late spring to early summer. This is one perennial you won’t want to deadhead—doing so will eliminate the decorative seed pods which appear in fall. They are all hardy in zones 4-9.

Despite these accolades, false indigo and its cultivars are still not widely popular. This undeserved obscurity, along with a multitude of new cultivar releases, prompted Mt. Cuba Center to take a close look at false indigo. From 2012-2015, 46 selections, including representatives from 11 different species, were evaluated in order to determine which Baptisia selections perform best in the mid-Atlantic region. Overall, the group performed exceptionally well and ten cultivars were selected as top performers: B. sphaerocarpa ‘Screamin’ Yellow’, B. ‘Lemon Meringue’, B. ‘Ivory Towers’, B. ‘Blue Towers’, B. ‘Purple Smoke’, B. ‘Cherries Jubilee’, B. ‘Sunny Morning’, B. ‘Blueberry Sundae’, B. ‘Dutch Chocolate’, and B. ‘Creme de Menthe’. These are selections with gorgeous, bountiful floral displays, attractive and sturdy foliage, and moderately sized habits that make them well-suited for the average home garden. (Source: mtcubacenter.org)



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