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False Indigo

False Indigo

False indigo is a beautiful ornamental plant and is a substitute to the original dye plant. It can survive in excess heat and drought conditions, hence it requires less maintenance. Read this article to know more about its characteristic features and uses.
Gardenerdy Staff
When it comes to gardens, people go for the best ornamental trees available. The false indigo plant is among the most preferred plants with beautiful indigo flowers. This plant is a native of North America. But now it can be found in many parts of the world. It is used as the substitute of the original dye plant Indigofera Tinctoria, and hence it is called False indigo. Apart from being used as a substitute for dye, it is commonly used as an ornamental plant. So, let's find out the classification, description, and uses of this plant.

Classification and Description

Scientific Name: Baptisia Australis

Family: Papilionaceae

Common Name: False Indigo, Blue False Indigo, Blue Wild Indigo, Indigo Weed, Rattleweed, Rattlebush and Horse Fly Weed

Distribution: The plant is a native of North America and is commonly found in the Midwest. But due to its beautiful flowers and other uses it is being cultivated across the world.

Description: False Indigo is famous for its lavender blue flowers. This plant belongs to the Papilionaceae family. It is a herbaceous perennial plant and is found in many varieties. As it belongs to the pea family, its blossoms are quite similar to pea. But unlike the pea plant, this plant stands with an upright stalk. The height of this plant may vary from 36 to 48 inch or 90 to 120 cm. It can be found in the spring season and remains fresh and green throughout the season. It requires full sun to grow. The plant does not requires much maintenance as it can survive in dry conditions and even drought weather. It can reproduce both sexually and asexually. The fruits look like dry brown capsules. False indigo pruning can be done in the summer and seeds can be set in the fall or early spring. Some varieties of this plant are Baptisia Australis, Baptisia 'Solar Flare Prairie Blues', Baptisia 'Starlite Prairie Blues', Baptisia 'Twilite Prairie Blues', etc.

How to Grow

The process of planting false indigo is quite easy. The plant does not requires much maintenance. It can be grown in dry soil. So, follow the steps given below to get a beautiful plant in your garden.
  • Get a small false indigo perennial from the plant nursery. You will get the plant with the pot, so take care of it till you go ahead with the planting.
  • Now select a place which is exposed to full sun. The land can be dry or medium wet.
  • Once the place is decided, you need to take the plant out of the pot. Tap the pot gently on the ground so that the roots get loosened up from the pot. Now, gently take the plant out of the pot with the mud.
  • Now it's time to dig the place which you have selected for the plant. Dig a hole 2 to 3 inches deeper than the root ball of the plant, so that it can get space to spread its roots properly.
  • Now it's time to place the plant. Put the plant in the hole and put the soil from the pot.
  • Put water and minerals inside the hole and then cover it with soil again. Now mulching the planting area would provide maximum absorption.
Uses

Following are some of the uses of false indigo.
  • It is commonly used as an ornamental plant. False indigo bush with its blue colored flower enhances the beauty of the garden.
  • Many people use it as a substitute for the Indigofera Tinctoria which is the original dye plant.
  • This flowering plant has many medicinal uses. It can be used as antiseptic, anti-catarrhal, etc. It can also be used to stimulate the immune system which helps in fighting against many diseases. It can also be used for fever, tonsils, ulcer pain, vomiting, etc.
Although false indigo has many uses, it is said to be mildly toxic. Any medications which includes this plant should not be taken without consulting the doctor. Pregnant women should be more careful while using such medication.