Baptisia australis – false indigo


My neighbor gave me seeds last fall from her blue false indigo plant. I planted them today in a pot. Such a beautiful clear blue flower! I hope my seeds sprout.

Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) is native to the eastern US and was an important medicinal plant to Native Americans. The seeds require some sort of abrasion to be applied to their seed coat in order to germinate. The plants are legumes, members of the bean family, and are able to fix nitrogen. Planted in full sun in even the toughest of soils, plants will grow to 2.5’-3.5’ tall.

wildflowers, weeds, invasives and natives

8 Comments. Leave new

  • I hope it grows for you. I love mine, and am enjoying the blooms.

  • How fortunate to receive seeds! That is a beautiful plant.

  • Hi Kathy- totally off subject, but would you mind taking a look at a mystery bug that I have posted on my blog? Maybe you have seen one hanging around your tomatoes too since we are both in MA.
    Can’t find an ID on this thing…..THANKS!

  • We have this same plant in our front garden – tho I don’t recall if it was tagged as False Indigo. We’ve just called it Blue Indigo. It’s amazingly hardy – has been relocated 3 times and just gets better every year! Thanks for the info about abrading the seeds – that may explain why seeds I gave to a friend never germinated.

  • Kelly, I think you have a clavate tortoise beetle. Yuck. I’ve never seen these. Hopefully you do’t have too many.

  • I didn’t abrade my indigo seeds, as I only read that you need to do this after I planted them. An advantage of writing a bog, though it would be better if I looked stuff up ahead of time I guess. I’ll have to see if I can find any of the seeds in the pot and abrade them with a file or knife or something.

  • I was in Maryland last weekend and saw the most beautiful Baptisia plant! I had never seend a large on in full bloom- stunning!

  • I didn’t grow mine from seed, but I planted a quart-sized false indigo from a local nursery two seasons ago. The first year it was just foliage – but nice foliage. Last year it was much larger and had a few bloom stalks. This year it is 4″ high and wide and has loads of flowers. So, they can get shrub-sized – just an FYI. I really love it. It is blooming at the same time as my Siberian iris, and provides a nice color echo. I like the way the flowers turn into pea-like black pods – nice contrast to the foliage. I saved a lot of seed last year – I wonder if the seed keeps well. I’m not ready to plant more of them until next year.


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