Baptisia, also known as false indigo, is a genus in the legume family, Fabaceae.
This herbaceous flowering perennial offers pea-like flowers that once pollinated, produce pea-like seed pods.
The bees love these flowers, which means food for them, and in turn, allows me to collect the seeds and sow them all around the garden.
Native to woodlands in eastern North America, the species most commonly cultivated is called Baptisia australis, which is the one shown in my photo.
Baptisia species are food plants for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the lovely Jaguar Flower moth, Schinia jaguarina.
Baptisia grows to 3 feet tall and form wide clumps that might need some support when they’re heavily laden with seed heads.
They’ll really thrive in full sun, but do well with some shade, too. Once established, they’re quite drought tolerant, and, it’s best to leave them alone. The deep roots of this plant do not appreciate being moved.
I love Baptisia, not just because its flowers are a bee magnet, but because deer won’t eat them, and because they offer a real true blue flower in the garden.
In the garden, they look great combined with any other colour nature offers, but I love them paired with purple coneflower, clumps of lavender, tall white phlox, purple liatris, and big Rudbeckias.
Along with blue, Baptisia also offers gardeners white or yellow flowers. I’ll be on the lookout for those this coming year!
Just a note on toxicity, apparently the leaves are somewhat toxic, (hence the deer not eating them), and I think the seeds are too, so though they’re related to the Pea family, they’re definitely not edible. Don’t eat them!
Thanks for visiting, and Happy Gardening!