False blue indigo Interesting Notes
This the most cold hardy species and performs well over a wider range of environments than others. In the early spring, it is one of the first plants to emerge, and the gray-green leaves quickly fill out into a substantial sized bush. The 10-12″ long, flowering stalks arise in the spring, carrying 1″ long, indigo-blue, pea-like flowers which last for about 4 weeks. Although the flowers are violet-blue, there is much variation when plants are raised from seed. Flowers will vary from light to deep indigo blue, the latter much preferable to the former. The flowers were once used indigo but are now simply viewed as good garden plants. Two to 2 ½ long brown to black pods appear in early summer and remain until the plant dies back in the fall. The pods become dry by midsummer, and the seeds inside rattle around and should be collected at this time. Arrangers find these pods attractive and use them as dried ornaments in the house. In my partially shaded garden, I must support my plants; if grown in full sun, however, no staking is required. The plant spreads by rhizomes (slowly) and consumes considerable garden space. It does not require dividing from the plant’s point of view, but division every 4-5 years may be beneficial to ease overcrowding. Allan Armitage
The genus name comes from the Greek word “bapto” which means “to dye” because some of the darker flowered species were used as dyes.
Available for shipping mid May