baptisia australisFalse indigo is a tall, drought resistant herbaceous perennial native to central and Eastern North America, especially Midwest US. It is a member of the legume family, Fabeaceae, that also includes peas, lupines, and black locust. False indigo is one of the first perennials to send up its foliage in spring and quickly develops into a substantial, vase shaped bush. The gray-green leaves are three lobed and are borne on slender, branched, gray stems. The soft blue flowers are carried on 12” long spikes in spring and resemble those of sweet pea. Black pods 2”-2 1/2” long follow and remain until fall when the stems and leaves die down. Bumblebees find the flowers particularly attractive and the caterpillars of wild indigo duskywing butterfly feed on the foliage. The plant is very long lived but resents being moved.Type: Herbaceous perennial

Size: 3-4’ H x 4’ W

Light: Full sun for best growth; in shade it will need staking

Soil: Prefers average, moist, deep, humusy, acid soil but tolerates poor soil

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Beneficial Insects Attracted: Bumblebees, solitary bees, wild indigo duskywing butterfly

By Karen