The Complete Guide for Blue False Indigo (Baptisia Australis) Care


The Blue False Indigo, otherwise known as the Baptisia Australis or False Indigo, Bastard Lupine, Blue False Indigo, False Lupine, Golden Indigo, Indigo Weed, Tall False Indigo, is a well known perennial plant native to the Southeast, Northeast, and the Southwest of the United States.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this perennial will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its blue-green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Blue False Indigo Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Blue False Indigo can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Blue False Indigo needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.
  • Light: Keep your Baptisia Australis in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Blue False Indigo in soil with well-draining properties; so ideally, one that is made of sand and loam.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Blue False Indigo will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Blue False Indigo belongs to the Fabaceae family, the genus Baptisia and the species Australis, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Baptisia Australis (bap-TIS-ee-uh aw-STRAL-iss).

As with other Baptisia’s, the Blue False Indigo is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year. 

Growing Region

The Blue False Indigo is a plant native to the Central & Eastern U.S.A. This is why the Baptisia Australis is used to growing in specific regions such as the states in Southeast, Northeast, and the Southwest of the United States.

Knowing your plants’ native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Blue False Indigo. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Baptisia Australis will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 9 region, and in climate zones that range between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Blue False Indigo is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But what exactly does this mean for your Blue False Indigo? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Baptisia Australis can grow up to 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) in 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) and 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) in 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm)

Which is why this plant is considered a relatively medium size for a perennial, so it’s best to keep that in mind since it will likely impact where you want it to be placed. 

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 36″ – 48″ (90cm – 120cm) free so the Blue False Indigo can spread to its best extent.

Watering

In terms of watering, the Blue False Indigo is a fairly complicated plant to take care of. This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat irregular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Baptisia Australis needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively low to average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Blue False Indigo in soil with well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has frequent standing water, good drainage, and occasionally wet properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Blue False Indigo then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in the soil of your plant and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Blue False Indigo needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Blue False Indigo prefers to have soil with frequent standing water, good drainage, and occasionally wet properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand and loam.

This is why most experts agree that the Blue False Indigo requires soil with clay, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to acid soil.

Light and Placement

In terms of light & exposure, the Blue False Indigo, requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this perennial will do well as long as you keep it in full sun and it will be able to grow properly. 

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Baptisia Australis in from little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy).

Season

Being a herbaceous plant, the Blue False Indigo will die back to the ground every year. But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (late), and during the summer (early).

Flowers

You can expect your Blue False Indigo to flower around the winter months from January to March (winter). In particular, this perennial is well known for its flowers for cutting and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Blue False Indigo produces some beautiful blue, or purple/lavender, bluegold/yellow, and white flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the Blue False Indigo have a beautiful blue-green color during most of the year.

You can expect the leaves from your Baptisia Australis to be around (< 1 inch) in size.

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Blue False Indigo is well known for being able to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for drought, rocky soil, dry soil, clay soil, and animals like rabbit, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Baptisia Australis will be fine.

Garden

How should you then organize your garden to include your new Blue False Indigo? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Baptisia Australis owners agree that this perennial will look great in most rustic gardens of all types. Other owners consider that they compliment well most gardens of informal and cottage, and in prairie and meadow styles. 

In particular, the Blue False Indigo’s best location within your garden is in banks and slopes, and in beds and borders, others use it for landscaping in a firescaping/fire wise, border, cutting garden, or a water garden.

Companion Plants

Blue False Indigo’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Forsythia, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Monarda will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!

Conclusion

So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Blue False Indigo in your garden or home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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