Blue False Indigo Plantor

Blue False Indigo Plantor

Blue False Indigo Plant

False indigo is a large, upright perennial with leaves that are grey-green and beautiful long racemes of indigo-blue flowers that appear in April through June. The pea-like flowers are followed by black seed pods that can be left on the plant for winter interest. With its stately shape, false indigo makes a good architectural statement in the garden even after the flowers have faded. When started from nursery plants, false Indigo takes only about a year to reach its full height, but plants started from seed can take three to four years to flower. False indigo is generally planted in spring after the danger of frost has passed.


Maintenance is minimal. Plants can sometimes flop over from the center of the clump outward, especially if grown in shady conditions that cause the plant to get leggy. In some situations, a large hoop support can help keep the plant uprights. If you do not deadhead the flowers, you will get attractive seed pods similar to pea pods, which turn dark and rattle in the breeze. You can prevent this by giving your false indigo a modest shearing after flowering. Stalks will need to be trimmed off near ground level as winter sets in—or immediately in the spring before new growth begins, if you prefer to leave the seed heads in place through winter.Getting false indigo to bloom is usually just a matter of patience, as it can take three or four years, or even more, before the clump is mature enough to make a meaningful display. A plant growing in shady conditions may experience reduced blooming; prune out nearby trees and shrubs that shade the plant to increase its blooming. Finally, flowering can be compromised if you prune too early, before the flower buds have developed. If you need to prune the plant for shape, make sure you wait until summer, when the flowering is done.

Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis) is a large bush-like perennial, with dense clusters of deep blue flowers on long upright spikes. In its first few years this long-lived plant develops mostly below ground. After the first two seasons the blooms are increasingly showy as the plant matures. Attractive bluish-green foliage provides a good backdrop to other flowering plants. An excellent specimen plant for formal designs, Baptisia australis is beautiful in naturalized settings, as well. Because of its wide, branching form, generous spacing is advisable. The tough rootstock can be divided in fall or spring when the plant is dormant. Because of its large shrub-like size, blue false indigo works well as a backdrop for other perennials. It can also make an arresting specimen individually or in small groups. It is at home in cottage gardens, meadow plantings and among native restorations. The blooms add vertical interest, while the attractive foliage is a good foil for other flowers throughout the summer and fall and the seed pods can provide winter interest (if not too heavy and flopped onto the ground). It makes a reasonable substitute for lupines in areas where they are difficult to grow. (Source: hort.extension.wisc.edu)


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