March 5, 2010 – Baptisia australis has been named 2010
Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association.
Photo courtesy of Steven Still/PPA
Baptisia australis has been named 2010
Perennial Plant of the Year.
Commonly called Blue False Indigo, it grows three to four feet
tall and three to four feet wide in an upright habit. This exceptional
perennial grows across a wide range of zones and is one of the most adaptable
Newly emerging shoots produce violet-blue, lupine-like flowers
in erect 10" to 12" racemes atop flower stems that extend well above
the foliage mound of clover-like, trifoliate, bluish-green leaves. The spring
flowers are present for three to four weeks. The flowers give way to inflated
seed pods that turn charcoal black when ripe and that flower arrangers consider
to be ornamental. The common name refers to the use of this perennial by early
Americans as a dye.
Baptisia australis is an excellent plant to
anchor the back of the border. It is also valuable for cottage gardens, native
plant gardens, and native area of prairies and meadows. It is best as a
specimen or planted in small groups. Blue False Indigo can be used with bulbs
and other spring flowering perennials to make interesting combinations.
It thrives in full sun. Plants grown in partial shade may
require staking. It is easily grown in well-drained soil and is drought
tolerant after establishment.