The Perennial Plant Association has chosen Baptisia australis or False Indigo as this year perennial plant of the year. This is a very hardy plant that tolerates a wide range of climates. Native to river banks from Vermont south to the Shenandoah Valley.
Its blue to purple upright flowers stand out in the garden, Although it only blooms 3 to 4 weeks in late spring to early summer the brilliant colors makes it totally worth it. False Indigo will grow to 3 to 4 feet and spread just as wide, it will grow in full sun or part shade, it can tolerate dry to medium soils and is very drought tolerant. Large black seed pods set in after flowering giving this plant another interesting element. This plant attracts butterflies and is also great for cut flowers and dried flower arrangements. Because it is a self seeder this perennial is best used in border gardens, meadow gardens, woodland gardens, or cottage gardens as it does naturalize very nicely in native soils. We are all looking for plants that are low maintenance and this one certainly fits that. It really is border line between perennial and shrub and has a tendency to flop open in the center, the only real maintenance needed is cutting back in fall or early spring. So take a look at the beauty and features of this outstanding perennial.