Blue false indigo is a large, showy, shrub-like plant with gray-green leaves and 10 to 12 inch medium blue flowers in May. The pea-like flowers are followed by black seed pods which are interesting enough to leave up over the winter. Reliable, drought-resistant and long-lived, blue false indigo provides a strong structural presence in a garden.
This plant has a cultivated variety. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- North America
- Mixed border,
- Large plant (more than 24 inches)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Dry soil
- Dry sites,
- Occasional drought,
- Clay soil
Season of Interest:
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter,
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Three to four feet tall and four feet wide. Spreads slowly by rhizome.
Best grown in full sun.
Plants are slow growing and do not require frequent division.
Prune back in early spring to preserve the black seed pods for winter interest in the garden.
Somewhat difficult to transplant due to a deep taproot.
Disease, pests, and problems
No serious pest problems. Plants may require staking in part-shade.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Deer and rabbit resistant. Drought-tolerant once established.
Native geographic location and habitat
Eastern United States
Attracts birds or pollinators
Butterflies and other pollinators
Leaves are formed by three leaflets 1.5 to 3 inches long. Foliage is blue-green.
Indigo blue flowers bloom in May on long, vertical stalks (racemes). Individual flowers are about one inch long.
The fruit is a two to three inch pod that turns black as it matures. It will hang on the plant all winter if the plant is not cut back.
Dwarf blue false indigo (Baptisia australis var. minor): Simply a smaller version of Baptisia australis, growing 18 to 24 inches tall and wide.