Meet. . .Baptisia!

Baptisia australias, commonly known as blue false indigo, is the Perennial Plant Association’s 2010 perennial Plant of the Year™. Native to the Eastern US, this plant is a tough, adaptable, and reliable ornamental for the mixed perennial border or xeric garden. It performs best in full sun and can go quite dry once established. Mature specimens will have a compact, rounded form. Their fairly large size, 3 to 4 feet tall and wide, make them great for use as a single specimen or in small groupings.

The bright green, trifoliate leaves always look lively and fresh. The lovely flowers really are BLUE and are showiest in my USDA Zone 5b garden in late May-early June. Plant them with Iris germanica, Saponaria ocymoides and Papaver oriental for a beautiful, water thrifty combination.

One of my favorite features of false blue indigo is the seed pods. They are charcoal grey, 1 ½”-2” long, and rattle in the autumn wind. They may be used in floral arrangements or left on the plant for textural interest through the winter (mine have now faded to a pale, mottled brown).

I hope you will add Baptisia australis to your garden wish - list for 2010.

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