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Wild Indigo

Baptisia tinctoria

Wild Indigo has a long history of being used as medicinal plant to treat a wide variety of ailments. It's a durable and long lived plant with masses of small, yellow pea-like flowers that bloom for several weeks in late spring. Hardy in zones 6 through 9.

 

Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctoria) beautiful finely textured foliage covered in masses of yellow flowers in early May

 

Pot size: 4.5 in. wide x 5 in. deep (32 fl. oz)

 

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Habit

  • Rounded and shrub-like
  • 18 to 24 in. tall
  • Spreads to form 4 ft. wide colonies over a 4 to 5 year period
  • How to Grow

  • Sun to part shade – at least 6 hours of direct sun for best flowering
  • Well drained to moist soil.
  • Once established, plants are drought tolerant and care free. Old stems can be cut back to ground level anytime during the winter.

    Where to plant

  • Flower beds
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Meadows
  • Wildlife

    The flowers are pollinated by:

  • Hummingbirds
  • Bumble bees and other long-tongued bees
  • Larval host plant for:

  • Wild Indigo Dusky Wing
  • Frosted elfin
  • In our trials Wild Indigo has proven to be very resistant to deer browsing. However, if deer pressure is high or food is scarce, damage may occur.

    Native habitat and range

  • Grows in sandhills, seasonally moist pine flatwoods and along the edges of woodlands
  • New York to Florida
  • Source and origin

    Plants are grown from cuttings collected from a wild population in Pender County, North Carolina.

    Comments

    Wild Indigo was used as source of a blue dye by Native Americans. European settlers grew them in plantations and tried to form an industry around it. However, their efforts were in vain as the dye was inferior to true Indigo, a tropical plant in the genus Indigofera.

    Propagation

    Pouring boiling water over the seed before sowing softens the hard seed coat, allowing seeds to germinate in one to two weeks at temperatures above 75°F (24°C). False Indigo's hybridize very easily and plants grown from seed will not come true (they may not have white flowers) if different colored Baptisia's were flowering close by. Cuttings taken after plants have flowered can root in 6 to 8 weeks.