Friday, December 18, 2009

Baptisia - 2010 Perennial Plant of the Year

Baptisia (Baptisia spp.) is a long lived, low maintenance perennial. This American native thrives in rich well-drained soil under plenty of sunlight. Treat the roots as fragile and permit baptisia one year to establish itself. It will reward you for many years ahead.

Modern day cultivars are usually hybrids. Lovely spikes of purple (B. australis), lavender blue (B. minor), white (B. alba), bright yellow (B. sphaerocarpa) and bicolors appear in May or June and each species blooms for 4-5 weeks. Its blue-gray foliage and sturdy upright shrubby form are assets in the summer garden.

Baptisia is heat and drought tolerant and almost invincible to diseases and insects. Plants grown in partial shade may appear stretched or leggy, requiring some staking. Few flower spikes are produced in shady areas.

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