Different Types of False Indigo (Baptisia)


If you are looking for a plant that demands very little from you, consider baptisia, which is often called false indigo.

This plant will grow in almost any type of soil. It will tolerate times that you and nature forget to water it. Its colorful stalks are a beautiful sight in spring when they blow in a gentle breeze. False indigo will also attract butterflies to your landscaping.

They do very well on slopes and other areas where many plants are hard to grow.  In this guide, we cover some of the popular varieties of False indigo.

Baptisia False indigo Australis


The Australis grows to be about 3-feet tall in zones 3 to 9. This plant puts on a clump of bluish-green leaves that can be up to 3-inches long. Out of the middle of them grows a flower stalk. The flower stalk will have a purple, lupine-like flower that blooms from May to June. After the flower fades, this option produces a black seed pod that can be up to 2.5-inches long.

Baptisia Tinctoria


The Tinctoria grows in zones 3 to 9, where it often grows to be up to 3-feet tall. Small, yellow-to-cream-colored flowers appear in May and last about six weeks. The flowers grow in sparsely populated clusters. The clover-like leaves on this option grow in a clump to be about 1-inch long. This option is often called rattlewood because when the flowers fade, it will put on seedpods that turn black when ripe. When the wind blows, you can hear the seeds moving around inside the pods.

Baptisia Sphaerocarpa ‘Screamin’ Yellow’

Baptisia-Sphaerocarpa 'Screamin' Yellow'

The Screamin’ Yellow choice may be the right one for gardeners in zones 5 to 8. Like other options, this one will grow to be about 3-feet tall. Trifoliate, blue-green leaves that are about 2-inches long form in a clump. From the clump grows a yellowish-green flower stem. In April and May, small yellow flowers shaped like a pea appear in April and last through May. Inflated spherical seed pods that eventually turn brown appear after the flowers fade.

Baptisia ‘Solar Flare’

Baptisia-'Solar Flare'

You will fall in love with the multicolored solar flare choice if you are a gardener who lives in zones 4 to 9. The solar flare puts on many small, pea-shaped flowers that are golden-yellow in late spring. As the flowers mature, they turn a variety of colors ranging from orange to violet. Each plant also produces a clump of broad leaves in a beautiful clump shape. After the flowers fade, baptisia solar flare produces a seed pod that turns charcoal black when mature.

There are many baptisias that you can easily grow. They take minimal care to put on a beautiful show for you. They do well in poor soil and will not care if you forget to water them occasionally. Consider planting one or more options in your landscaping.