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Baptisia australis

Baptisia australis
false indigo
Balloony pods in early June

Common name false indigo
Family fabaceae
Life cycle perennial (Z3-9)
Flowers blue
Size 3-4'
Light sun
Cultural notes drought-tolerant
Seed ripensmid-July

Most gardeners who grow just one species of baptisia grow this one. True enough, this was the first one we purchased, too - except that our plant turned out to have white flowers, and be B. alba var. alba instead. Our efforts to produce the masses of blue flowers of the more common species were quite long in waiting: we grew several plants from seed a good number of years ago, but they stayed small year after year. Finally, a couple years ago they decided to grow bigger and actually bloom. Of course I had to follow their progress from buds to flowers. With a bit of luck, they'll be as big and billowing as specimens I've seen in other gardens sometime in the future. Thus far, they haven't attained the stature of 3-4 ft that a mature well-grown specimen will reach.

Baptisia australis
false indigo
This seed-grown plant started blooming when it was still small, making me wonder if it is var. minor. I'll be watching how it develops
Baptisia australis

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

Seed for this plant is included on my seed trade list

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Seed-starting details for this plant

  1. Seed from '01 trade. Baggy 70F-75F (3-6w; 33%G overall; swelling is followed by germination; warmth helps)
  2. Seed from '09 garden. Sandpapered, baggy 75F (58%G, 35-61d)
  3. Seed from '09 garden. Sandpapered, baggy 75F (11w; 10%G, 6-10w) - 80F (52%G, 1-3w)
  4. Seed from 'Purple Smoke' hybrid. Immersed in boiling water, soaked 1d. Baggy 75F (31%G, 13-40d). More would probably have germinated with scarification.
    Seed for plain species from '12 garden. Immersed in boiling water, soaked 1d, baggy 75F (50%G, 14-50d). Much of the germination occurred after moving the baggy to a slightly warmer location.
  5. Seed from '13 garden. Sandpapered, baggy 75F (18%G, 15-35d). Did not apply enough heat to get the majority of the seeds to germinate.
  6. Seed from '14 garden (DB mid). Sandpapered, baggy 75F (64%G, 4-14d)

Nice and warm temperature really helps germination.

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