Baptisia: recommendations for planting and care in open ground

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Baptisia: recommendations for planting and care in open ground
Baptisia: recommendations for planting and care in open ground

Description of the baptisia plant, the rules of planting and care in the garden plot, the rules of reproduction, possible difficulties in growing, interesting notes, types.

Baptisia (Baptisia) belongs to the rather extensive family of Legumes (Fabaceae), or as it is also called Moths, which unite dicotyledonous representatives of the flora. The native area of ​​natural distribution is in the eastern regions of the North American continent. There are about three dozen species in the genus.

Family name Legumes or Butterflies
Growing period Perennial
Vegetation form Herbaceous
Breeds Using seeds, jigging root shoots or dividing the plant
Open ground transplant terms Late May or early summer
Landing rules Seedlings should be placed at a distance of 50-60 cm from each other and other plants or buildings
Priming Light, loose, well-drained, as nutritious as possible
Soil acidity values, pH 6, 5-7 (neutral)
Illumination level Well lit by the sun
Humidity level Drought tolerant
Special care rules Undemanding
Height options Up to 2 m
Flowering period In June or July, the duration of flowering depends on the climatic conditions.
Type of inflorescences or flowers Racemose or spike inflorescences
Color of flowers Snow to off-white, yellow or blue, but tones range from pastel to richer
Fruit type Polyspermous bob
The timing of fruit ripening August-October
Decorative period Spring-autumn
Application in landscape design For landscaping rockeries and rock gardens, next to fences, for decorating hedges
USDA zone 4–9

The genus got its name in Latin thanks to the word in the ancient Greek language "bapto", which has the following translations "paint", "soak with paint" or "dip in liquid", which, in fact, is the same thing and indicates the ability of some types of baptisia give the fabric color. People can hear how this plant is called "indigo weed", "rattlesnake bush" or simply "rattlesnake". The common phrase is "false indigo blue", since it was possible to use this representative of the flora as a substitute for such a natural dye as Indigofera tinctoria.

All types of baptisia are perennials with a herbaceous form of growth, and are characterized by rhizomes deeply submerged in the soil. The stems of the plant grow straight and branch well. Shoots can stretch in height from 60 cm to a two-meter mark, while the height parameters directly depend on the soil in which the plant grows. The color of the shoots is greenish or gray. On the stems, in the next sequence, leaf plates are unfolded, painted in a bluish-gray or greenish-blue hue. The length of the leaf can reach 8 cm. The leaves are composed of three leaves (resembling the shape of clover leaves), which, when dried, acquire a black color. The shape of the leaf lobes is obovate or wider towards the apex. While the foliage is green, it looks like an openwork veil. It is such a deciduous crown that allows the plant to remain decorative even without flowers.

When flowering in baptisia (then it can be compared with willow-tea or loosestrife), rather large flowers are formed, from which racemose inflorescences are collected, or they can resemble candles. The length of the inflorescences ranges from 30-50 cm.The structure of the flower corresponds to the representatives of the moth family, that is, the sail (upper petal of the flower) and wings (side petals or oars) are included in the corolla. The length of the sail does not exceed the size of the wings. The calyx has a two-lipped structure, its bell-shaped shape, it has five lobes, occasionally the upper ones can be spliced ​​into one. Ovary in the colors of "indigo weed" upper. The diameter of flowers reaches 3 cm and a little more.

The color of flowers can vary from snowy to off-white, while in natural conditions such baptisia inflorescences are yellow or blue in color, but tones vary from pastel to more saturated. Flowers begin to bloom with the arrival of summer, and this process stretches for 14–20 days. If the weather is favorable, then the duration of flowering can be stretched. This phase of the growing season and its beginning in climates with cold winters is delayed, and the buds will bloom only in the middle of summer by only 1–2 weeks.

After the flowers have undergone pollination, the time comes for the ripening of fruits in baptisia, which also do not take away from the characteristics of the legume family - that is, a bean (pod) with a curved top is the fruit. Beans usually begin to appear in late summer. A large number of seeds are formed in the fruits.

Despite the fact that baptisia is a "relative" of such representatives of the family as acacia or mimosa, which have long been known to our gardeners, the plant is clearly underestimated. But since this representative of the flora is also characterized by persistence during cultivation and endurance, it can increasingly be found in household plots, attracting the eye with mundane cushion-shaped crowns of greenery and colorful lace inflorescences that resemble candles.

Rules for planting and caring for baptis in the open field

Baptisia blooms
  1. Landing place "weed indigo”, it is necessary to choose an open one so that the plant is illuminated from all sides by the sun's rays. At the same time, it is noted that the more direct streams of ultraviolet radiation the baptisia receives, the more colorful and long its flowering will be. The inflorescence will consist of more flowers, and the foliage will unfold in a more delicate and rich color scheme. However, it is noticed that the plant will develop well in shading.
  2. Baptisia primer it will not be difficult to pick up, since dry and well-drained compositions are suitable for a plant, the structure of which will not only be loose, but even free-flowing. Although the soil for the "rattlesnake" and should be nutritious, the plant does not depend too much on this factor. Such planting can be carried out even in a clay substrate, but on the condition that high-quality drainage was used (which will exclude moisture stagnation). Therefore, when planting in rock gardens and rockeries, as well as loose sandy loam or even sandy soil «indigo weed "feels comfortable.
  3. Planting baptisia held in the spring. Before placing the plant on the site, it is recommended to fertilize the soil by introducing compost and manure into it, which will be the key to future successful growth and flowering. Before planting, the substrate should be dug up so that its water permeability increases. The pit for planting a baptisia seedling should be slightly larger in size than the earthen lump surrounding the root system. Planting holes in group arrangement are recommended to be placed at a distance of 50-60 cm from each other, other plants and garden buildings. All due to the fact that gradually the bush will begin to grow. A sufficient layer of drainage material (about 4–5 cm) should be laid on the bottom with a wet soil mixture in the area. It can be medium-sized pieces of brick, pebbles, crushed stone or expanded clay. Such a layer is sprinkled with a substrate, so that it completely covers the drainage and a baptisia seedling is placed on top. Do not plant too deeply, the root collar of the plant should remain flush with the soil in the area.The soil around is neatly squeezed out and abundant watering is performed.
  4. Watering when growing baptisia in open ground, they are practically not carried out, since the plant is distinguished by drought resistance. True, if in the summer months the temperature becomes extremely high, then at least one soil moistening should be performed.
  5. Fertilizers when caring for «indigo weed "are also unnecessary. Top dressing will have to be applied only when the soil was very depleted during planting. Then, when grown on such a substrate, after a few years, the growth and flowering of baptisia deteriorates. To do this, with the arrival of spring, the entire tree trunk circle should be mulched using organic fertilizers, which can be, for example, peat or compost. The components are embedded in the soil, this will help it stay hydrated longer and inhibit the growth of weeds.
  6. Pruning when growing, baptisia should be carried out only at a young age in order to carry out the shaping of the bush. With the arrival of early spring, regulatory pruning is performed, which will subsequently set the shape of the plant and its characteristic features. When the specimen becomes an adult, it does not need pruning, because as it grows, such "rattling shrubs" acquire dense and dense outlines, forming squat curtains through the stems, reminiscent of decorative green pillows.
  7. Wintering baptisia. Since some species of this representative of the flora are able to tolerate a decrease in the thermometer column to a mark of -27 units, they winter well without any shelter (even additional mulching of the trunk circle) in the middle lane.
  8. The use of baptisia in landscape design. Since the plant feels great on a dry and loose substrate, it is customary to plant in rockeries and rock gardens. The bluish shade of the stems and the grayish or bluish-green deciduous mass is in perfect harmony with large and small stones. Also, some species that differ in the height of the shoots are used to form curbs or hedges. Baptisia will look good as a background plant in flower beds and mixborders, but such bushes can be planted not only in the background, but also in the middle ground. Plants of "indigo weed" in classic ridges will come in handy, they will serve as decoration along fences or walls. But if you plant baptisia as a solo culture, then here too it will not lose its decorative effect thanks to the graceful deciduous mass and decorative inflorescences-candles. The best neighbors will be the planting of bells and manard, coreopsis and anaphalis.

See also Strongylodone Care Tips.

Baptisia breeding tips

Baptisia in soil

To grow the bushes of the "indigo" plant on the site, it is recommended to use seed or vegetative methods. If we talk about the latter, then the overgrown bush is divided and the root shoots are deposited.

Propagation of baptisia using seeds

This method, although it is possible, but until the grown seedlings reach their decorative effect, it should take several years after sowing. Sowing seeds is carried out immediately after collection to a permanent place or to a flower bed for growing seedlings, that is, before winter. Then the seed will naturally stratify. However, due to the dense surface of the seeds, it is also recommended to perform scarification - to damage the surface in order to facilitate future germination of the sprouts. To do this, you can rub the seed material of the "rattlesnake" with sandpaper, so that the surface becomes slightly rough.

Baptisia seeds are buried in the ground by about 3 cm. It is recommended to mulch the crops over the winter months with fallen dry leaves or peat chips. With the arrival of spring, it is recommended to rake out such a shelter so that young baptisia seedlings do not come out.As the plants grow, it is necessary to thin them out.

Reproduction of baptisia by dividing the bush

This operation should be done immediately with the arrival of spring, or immediately after the end of the flowering process. Part of the bush is separated with a sharpened shovel, and after that it is recommended to sprinkle all the sections with activated or charcoal crushed into powder, you can use ash. This will protect the healing of the "wounds" and so that infection does not penetrate them. The strips should not be made too small, as they will be more difficult to root. In order for the adaptation to pass faster, a part of the "false indigo" bush must be regularly moistened at intervals of 2-3 days for several weeks, until signs of successful rooting are visible.

Potential Difficulties When Growing Baptisia In The Garden

Baptisia is growing

Despite the general resistance of the "explosive bush" plant, it can be affected by some diseases, especially fungal infections, which are provoked by waterlogging of the soil due to abundant irrigation or prolonged rainfall. Powdery mildew acts as such a disease in Baptisia, when a whitish bloom forms on the foliage or stems, resembling a frozen solution of lime. This dense cover begins to block the access of oxygen to parts of the plant, and foliage will begin to wilt as photosynthesis stops. For treatment, it is recommended to treat the bushes with fungicidal preparations, such as Fundazol, Topaz, Fitosporin-M or Bordeaux liquid. Before spraying, all affected parts of the flower should be removed. Also, as a preventive measure, it is necessary to spray once with colloidal sulfur or similar fungicidal agents.

If the weather is hot and dry, then the ends of the leaf plates of the baptisia begin to dry out and there is a general yellowing of the deciduous mass. Often, the leaves curl up and look like flabby rags. This is a sign that the plant lacks moisture and the humidity in the surrounding air is too low. Then it is recommended to carry out abundant watering, after which the "indigo weed" will quickly restore its former decorative effect.

When growing baptisia in the garden, harmful insects can annoy, such as:

  • Aphids - small greenish bugs feeding on plant juices, moreover, infections and often viral infections, for which there is no cure for today, can penetrate through the wounds left by insects.
  • Spider mite, which also sucks out cellular juices from parts of the "rattlesnake", but also braids all parts of the plant with a thin cobweb, the leaves begin to turn yellow and fly around.

If “uninvited guests” are found on the baptisia bushes, it is recommended to immediately carry out the treatment with insecticidal preparations, such as Aktara, Karbofos or Actellik.

Read also about the difficulties in caring for mimosa

Interesting notes about the baptisia flower

Baptisia Leaves

This plant has long been familiar to man for its properties to give fabrics a blue color scheme. All due to the fact that when exposed to air, the juice turns blue. Especially on the territory of the North American continent, the indigenous people used this, using such a species as Baptisia tinctoria. Then the natives shared this knowledge and skills with the European settlers who came to their lands. Therefore, the "indigo weed" was successfully introduced to other continents of the planet, like a plant like Indigofera.

It is important to note that care should be taken when growing baptisia, as many species of the genus have toxic constituents such as alkaloids derived from quinolizidine. For example, a species such as white baptisia (Baptisia alba) is credited with poisoning, before the death of livestock. Young shoots, which are mistaken by humans for asparagus, also cause serious poisoning.When growing in garden, the bushes of this representative of the flora should be placed out of the reach of small children, since the seeds in the beans are also poisonous.

At the same time, it is noted that the plant is an excellent honey plant and has been used by folk healers for a long time due to its antiseptic effect. Baptisia tincture was recommended as a laxative, and if the leaves and stems of the plant were dried, they helped to get rid of a toothache.

Types of baptisia

In the photo Baptisia southern

Southern Baptisia (Baptisia australis)

has a branched root system deeply embedded in the soil, which helps it to get food and moisture in dry periods. When the rhizomes are excavated, they are woody and black in color and have bumps on their surface, similar to the wart protrusions on the roots. With the help of the stems, a spherical bush is formed, the height of which reaches a meter mark. Shoots have a bluish tint. The stems are thick and bare. When broken, sap is released from them, which turns dark blue upon contact with air. The height of the stems is from 1 to 1.5 m with a width of 0.6–1 m.

In southern baptisia, the leaves are divided into three lobes. Their surface is dense, the foliage is painted in a bluish-green or gray-green hue. The size of the leaves varies from 2 to 8 cm in length. The leaf lobes are obovate or wider towards the apex. During summer flowering, racemose inflorescences about 20-30 cm long are formed. Flowering lasts about 3 weeks. The inflorescences are composed of flowers in diameter reaching 2–3, 5 cm. The color of the petals in them varies from light blue to bluish or dark purple hue.

After flowering in southern baptisia, fruits are formed in the form of pods, measuring up to 6 cm in length. The surface of the beans is woody. Inside, 3-4 pairs of seeds are formed. Seeds are yellowish-brown, kidney-shaped, about 2 mm in size. The ripening time is in August-September. The leaves appear about a month before flowering and fall off about a month after the pods form. Once the seeds are fully ripe, the stems turn silvery gray and break off from the roots. The pods remain attached and are carried with the stems to another location.

The plant is able to withstand temperatures as low as -29 degrees. The species is native to much of central and eastern North America and is especially common in the Midwest, but it has also been introduced far beyond its natural range. Naturally, such southern baptisia bushes can be found in the wild near the forest, along streams or in open meadows. He often has difficulty sowing in his native areas due to parasitic weevils that end up in the seed pods, making the number of viable seeds very low. The seeds can be toxic.

In the photo Baptisia white

White Baptisia (Baptisia alba)

or Baptisia alba, popularly called white wild indigo or white false indigo. Originally from central and eastern North America. It is an upright perennial plant that usually grows to a height of 60–120 cm and is found in dry forests from Tennessee and North Carolina to Florida. It has small, white, pea-like flowers (1–1, 3 m across) in vertical racemes (up to 30–30, 5 cm long) on ​​dark flower stems that grow well above the bush of clover-like, three-leafed, bluish-green leaves (leaflets up to 5 cm.)

White baptisia blooms in spring. Flowers are replaced by inflated seed pods (up to 4–4, 44 cm in length), which become mature and their color changes from brown to black, which is of considerable decorative interest. Boll stems are a valuable addition to dry flower arrangements.

There are two varieties, Baptisia alba var. alba and baptisia alba var. large-leaved.

In the photo Baptisia dyeing

Baptisia tinctoria

common names include yellow false indigo, wild indigo or wild indigo, and horsetail. It is a herbaceous perennial plant native to eastern North America. Prefers dry meadow and open forest environment. Numerous bushy stems of the plant reach a height of 0.6–1.2 m, while the width of the bush is equal to 0.9 m. The leaves are silvery-green; each is divided into three leaves about 1.3 cm long. The leaves are eaten by some lepidoptera caterpillars, such as the Io moth (Automeris io).

The flowers of the baptisia dye are yellow or creamy pink, of which spike-shaped inflorescences are composed, varying in length 3, 8-7, 6 cm. The diameter of the flowers themselves is 2, 5-3 cm. in Massachusetts), this species is a reed plant: it grows in the form of a spherical shoot, breaks off at the root in the fall and falls about.

In the photo Baptisia leucantha

Baptisia leucantha (Baptisia leucantha)

is the largest species of the entire genus, since the stems are capable of reaching 1.8 m in height. The size of the flowers, of which the spike-shaped or panicle inflorescences are composed, does not exceed 3 cm in diameter. The shape of the flowers is ovoid. The petals are painted white with a crimson tint. When blooming, an attractive aroma spreads around in the evening hours, in which vanilla and orange notes are present. The deciduous mass has a bluish-yellow tint, while the surface of the leaves is shiny. It is recommended to decorate places along fences with such bushes.

In the photo Bartisia Bractiata

Bartisia bracteata

found under the names wild indigo long-toothed, wild indigo long-bellied, or creamy indigo. It is a perennial herb that is native to the central and eastern United States. It is one of the earliest flowering species and begins to bloom in March in parts of the United States. The color of the petals in flowers ranges from white to creamy yellow. From the flowers, the formation of racemose inflorescences occurs. On their flower-bearing stems, they grow laterally or stretch along the ground, unlike most other Baptisia species, which have vertical racemes. Flowers are pollinated by bumblebees. Caterpillars of several Lepidoptera eat leaves, including the wild swarthy indigo. The plant is poisonous to herbivorous mammals.

In the photo Bartisia arachnifera

Bartisia arachnifera (Baptisia arachnifera)

commonly known as hairy rattlesnake, spider wild indigo, hairy wild indigo, and hairy false indigo. The plant is an endangered flowering plant in the legume family. Its natural habitat is limited to sandy soils in a pine forest along the coastal plain of the USA, Georgia. The first description was given in 1944 by Wilbur H. Duncan, who collected samples in 1942 at a site in Wayne County, Georgia.

Bartizia arachnifera

is a perennial plant that reaches a height of 40–80 cm and its stems are covered with grayish-white, cobweb hairs. Therefore, the specific name "spider baptisia" appeared. Blue-green, simple leaves alternate on the shoots and are heart-shaped. Their size varies from 2-6 cm in length to 1.5-5 cm in width. Flowers form in terminal clusters with five bright yellow petals and bloom from late June or early August. Fruits are woody pods 8–15 mm long and 6–9 mm wide with stems and beaks that form from August to October.

In the photo Baptisia nattalin

Baptisia nuttalliana

is a type of flowering herb with a perennial vegetative form. Known collectively as Nuttall's wild indigo. Found in the south-central United States. The height of the stems is 90–91.5 cm. It differs from other species of its family in the arrangement of inflorescences: instead of vertical brushes, flowers are interspersed with foliage, and oil-yellow flowers give a softer, more sophisticated feeling. This decorativeness of the plant lies in the fact that its long-awaited spring shoots rise three weeks earlier than everyone else. Very drought resistant and tough. Rarely available in nurseries. The flowering period is late spring. Cultivation area 7-9.

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Video about growing baptisia in open field conditions:

Photos of baptisia:

Photo Baptisia 1 Photo Baptisia 2 Photo Baptisia 3 Photo Baptisia 4 Baptisia Photo 5

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