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White False Indigo

Baptisia alba

White False Indigo is a tough and very long lived native perennial with an age measured in decades rather than years. In spring, asparagus like shoots break through the surface of the soil and flower several weeks later. Hardy in zones 5 through 9.

 

White False Indigo (Baptisia alba) flowering at the edge of a meadow in early May

 

 

Pot size: 4.5 in. wide x 5 in. deep (32 fl. oz)

 

 

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Habit

  • Clump forming
  • 3 to 4 ft. tall and wide
  • How to Grow

  • Sun to part shade – at least 6 hours of direct sun for best flowering
  • Well drained to moist soil
  • Once established, White False Indigo is drought tolerant and care free. Old stems can be cut down to the ground anytime during the winter.

     

    White False Indigo as it emerges in spring through to full flower in an 17 second time lapse video

    Where to plant

  • Flower beds
  • Meadows
  • Wildlife

    The flowers are pollinated by:

  • Bumble bees and other long-tongued bees
  • Larval host plant for:

  • Wild Indigo duskywing
  • Frosted elfin
  • Silver-spotted skipper
  • In our garden White False Indigo has proven to be very resistant to deer browsing. However, if deer pressure is high or food is scarce, damage may occur.

    Native habitat and range

  • At the edge of dry sandy woods
  • North Carolina to Florida
  • Source and origin

    Plants are grown from cuttings at the nursery. The original plants were grown from seeds collected from a population growing close to the Neuse River in Wayne County, North Carolina.

    Propagation

    Pouring boiling water over the seed before sowing softens the hard seed coat, allowing seeds to germinate in one to two weeks at temperatures above 75°F (24°C). False Indigo's hybridize very easily and plants grown from seed will not come true (they may not have white flowers) if different colored Baptisia's were flowering close by. Cuttings taken after plants have flowered can root in 6 to 8 weeks.