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Native alternative(s) for Baptisia australis:
Lupinus Lupinus spp.

False Indigo Baptisia australis

Other plants called False Indigo:

Phonetic Spelling
bap-TEE-sha aw-STRAL-iss
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Growing from 3 to 5 feet tall, this herbaceous perennial is a spring highlight.

leaves have a smooth margin and are alternate and divided into three leaflets. Showy, blue to violet racemes mature in late spring and continue into early summer. The herb produces a thick, erect pod with a long curved beak.

Where to Plant: It grows best in full sun to part shade but tends to get a little floppy when it doesn’t get a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight. It forms tall clumps which are especially attractive planted next to wooden fences. The bright, indigo blue flowers are attractive when combined with yellow or white flowering perennials. 

Found in: Forest or natural areas in woodland borders and open woods; landscape in flower gardens as native, herbaceous perennials

Another plant option: B. tinctoria, a yellow-flowered species of Baptisia, is also native to the eastern USA and grows well in warm, sunny gardens.

Fire Risk: This plant has a medium flammability rating. 

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms: Spring             Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer

Pruning Tips: If you desire the plant to have a round appearance, would prefer to not add support to the plant, and do not mind not having the seed pods develop, then after the flowers bloom (but before the seed pods come), you could prune the leaves.

Propagation Tips: Seed sown when fresh in mid-summer: seeds may not grow into a flowering plant until years later though. The best way to propagate this plant is to collect seeds in late summer as soon as they mature and sow them directly where you want them to grow. Cuttings taken in April or May will also root fairly easily if they are taken while the growth is still soft.  

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  As far as major diseases and insects’ problems are concerned, this plant does not have those issues.

At times, if plants get tall in partial shade, a support may be helpful for the plant.

More information on Baptisia.

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Baptisia australis var. minor
    dwarf
  • 'Screeming Yellow'
Tags:
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Baptisia australis var. minor
    dwarf
  • 'Screeming Yellow'
Tags:
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Baptisia
    Species:
    australis
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Uses in the past included rattles (from the ripened seed pods) for children and blue dye. The beautiful blue flowers have been used to make a blue dye nearly comparable to dye made from the flowers of indigo.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Distribution:
    PA south to NC and TN
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a host plant for the Wild Indigo Duskywing butterfly.  Its flowers are attractive to butterflies, bees, and other insects. This plant is also a larval host plant for a variety of butterflies including: Orange sulphur, Clouded sulphur, Frosted elfin, Eastern tailed blue, Hoary edge, and Wild indigo duskywing.
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought, salt, poor soil, rabbit, erosion, dry soil, clay soil, shallow-rocky soil, highly resistant to deer damage
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    After flooms bloom, seed pods that look inflated arrive. You know they are ripe when they are very black and up to 2.5 inches long: this is around late summer. Inside this pod is many seeds. People enjoy the seed pods' appearance for ornamental interest or even dried flower arrangments (when the seed pod is with the stem).
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Insignificant
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Winter
    Flower Description:
    On spikes and arranged on 16-inches-tall racemes, flowers are generally purple/blue (about .75-in.). Flowers are either on long-stalked clusters above the leaves or axillary. They bloom in late spring (sometimes around early summer) in white, blue, purple/blue, or yellow and are irregular and pea-shaped.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Slippery
    Smooth
    Leaf Shape:
    Subulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Trifoliate leaves look similar to clovers but are blue/green: these leaflets can be as long as 2 inches. The alternate leaves have a smooth margin (entire). This perennial herb has 3-parted leaves, turning black upon drying.
  • Stem:
    Stem Buds:
    Smooth/Hairless
    Stem Description:
    Stems with seed pods are valued additions to dried flower arrangements.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Houseplants
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Fairy Garden
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Fire
    Problems:
    Allelopathic
    Frequent Disease Problems
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Children
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    THIS PLANT CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN. Poisonous through ingestion. All parts are poisonous. Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Baptisin and cytisine
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems