Baptisia australis is a herbaceous perennial from the Fabaceae family of plants and a relative to the pea. It is native to the Eastern United States. Baptisia australis is also known as False Indigo. In fact, this flower has been used to make dye, since it is an easy growing plant it was a less expensive alternative to indigo, Cherokee Indians used to make a blue dye from this plant. Actually the name baptisia is derived from Greek “bapto” which means “to dye”.
It grows in a shrubby form with beautiful blue spikes of flowers. The actual flowers are very similar to pea flowers. After flowering, Baptisia australis produces black seed pods. The flowering season is late spring, in these photographs, you see them in Potters Field Park near London City Hall.
Baptisia australis grows in full sun as well as partial shade. Plant it in moist well-drained soil though it does tolerate drought and it can tolerate poor soils as well. Baptisia australis usually takes a year or two to establish and then it flourishes. You can divide them from clumps but since this is a plant that establishes itself slowly you should not disturb the plants too much.
You can also grow Baptisia australis from seed but it takes longer to establish. They look nice in borders but best are wildlife gardens where it resembles its habitat. In borders, you might prune them slightly to keep their shape as well as use stakes or ties, as they tend to open up. They are pest resistant. It grows to about 3 to 4ft.