Growing Guide
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Indigo, Blue Wild

Herbaceous Perennial Flower, Wildflower

Also known as Blue False Indigo, Plains False Indigo
Baptisia australis
Fabaceae Family

Showy spikes of indigo-blue blooms rise up to 6 feet tall in spring. The medium- to deep-green foliage is attractive and resembles clover. Tolerates drought and low fertility, but requires well-drained soil.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
  • part shade
Prefers full sun. Usually requires staking when grown in shade.

Soil conditions:

  • tolerates droughty soil
  • requires well-drained soil
  • tolerates low fertility
Prefers sandy, slightly acidic soil.

Hardiness zones:

  • 3 to 9

Special locations:

  • rock gardens
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 3 to 6 feet

Spread: 2 to 4 feet

Bloom time:

  • late spring
  • early summer

Flower color:

  • blue
  • indigo

Often mottled or marked with cream.

Foliage color:

  • medium green
  • dark green

Foliage texture: medium

Trifoliate leaflets resemble clover.


  • cushion, mound or clump
  • upright

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

Blooms borne along erect spikes.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • native to North America - Eastern U.S.
  • bears ornamental fruit - Shiny black seedpods often used in dried arrangments.
Special uses:
  • cut flowers - Cut when in full blooms, as buds usually do not open once cut.
  • dried flowers - The blacks seed pods are used in arrangements.
  • wildflowers
  • naturalistic garden
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, division or separation - Divide carefully in spring, choosing roots with numerous new shoots. Can be slow to reestablish.
To grow plants from seed, collect seeds when the pods are dry and rattle when shaken. Ripe seed is brown to black in color. Sow in a cold frame and plant out in the spring. Germination can be erratic. Scarify seed to improve germination.

Maintenance and care:
Cut plants back by 1/3 after blooming to prevent legginess and sprawling growth. Regrowth will keep plants attractive the rest of the season, but you lose the ornamental seed pods.

In more formal gardens, plants may require staking.

You can remove faded foliage in the fall after frost has killed it back, or you can leave plants intact to overwinter. They usually fall over by midwinter.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Fungal leaf spot
Powdery mildew