How to Grow Baptisia Plants

Here are some easy tips for how to grow Baptisia plants: In average, dry to medium well-drained soil, dig a hole 12 in. deep. The hole should be twice the diameter of the pot. Mix in 2-4 in. of compost. The top of the root ball should be level with the soil. Fill in the hole and tamp down to eliminate air pockets. Water well. If planting multiple plants, space them 3-4 ft. apart.

Pronunciation: bap-TIZ-ee-uh

Common Name(s): False Wild Indigo; Rattle bush

Description: These easy-to-grow perennial plants have blue-green foliage and tall spires of showy blue blooms that look like pea plant flowers. Some plants have bi-colored flowers. Baptisia plants grow 2-4 ft. tall and just as wide. They bloom in early summer. Grown from seed, Baptisia plants take several years to establish. They like growing in woods, thickets, and along stream banks. Useful in erosion control.

Origin: Native American prairie plant

Propagation: By seed

Sun/Light Needs: Full sun is best; they will tolerate partial shade.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Fertilizer Needs: Generally none. Apply well-rotted compost annually.

Maintenance: Low. These perennial plants do not need dividing. Trim after blooming to keep rounded shape, but only if no seedpods are wanted. May need support if grown in partial shade.

Companion Plants: Coneflower, Geranium, or Black-eyed Susan

Display: Meadows, containers, beds and borders, dried arrangements

Pests/Diseases: False Indigo plants have no serious pests or diseases

Wildlife Value: Rabbit and deer resistant; attracts butterflies; drought tolerant

Herbal/Medicinal Uses: Native Americans used False Indigo plants for dye. Other uses: for toothache, as eyewash, or as a laxative. The seedpods were used as rattles for babies and toys for children.

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