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BAPTISIA alba

Image of Baptisia alba

James H. Schutte

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

BAPTISIA alba

Plant Common Name

White False Indigo

General Description

Beautifully clumping with upright purple-gray stems clothed in bluish green leaves, white false indigo has pretty spikes of white, lupine-like flowers in mid-spring to early summer. An herbaceous perennial from the dry woods in the southeastern United States, it is slow growing with a deep taproot.

The blue-green to light green leaves have three oval leaflets. Depending on severity of the winter, the emergent stems and leaves will produce an upright flower spike as early as mid-spring, or later into early summer. White to ivory in color, the individual blossoms are pea-shaped, sometimes flushed with purple marks, and will be visited by bees and butterflies. The puffy seedpods that ensure are attractive and become chocolate to black in tone.

Grow white false indigo in full sun in an average to poor, gritty or gravelly soil that has good drainage. Tolerant of dry soil, heat and drought, it looks its best with moisture while sprouting and in bloom. Although the seeds of this cultivar are the best way for propagation, some will still cut off spent flowers or shear the foliage to keep it looking tidy. Plant white false indigo where it is to grow. It resents root disturbance. Use this pretty yellow bloomer alongside other blue or purple blooming false indigos in a sunny hillside mixed border, in a large rockery in a cottage garden or mixed meadow.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 2

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    United States, Southeastern United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Chocolate, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Dried Flower/Everlasting, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes