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Native Baptisia - Perfectly Sized For Your Home Garden

Discover cultivars of native false indigo that are perfectly sized for urban and suburban landscapes.

Contributors: Susan Martin

If you’re like many gardeners, you may struggle with clay soil, heat and drought, and deer eating your favorite garden perennials. While you’re busy creating a colorful space to enjoy outdoors, you’re looking for flowers that will attract butterflies and will make nice cuts for your fresh bouquets. Cultivars of native false indigo (Baptisia) fill all of those needs and more.

Several species of Baptisia can be found growing in the wild from the Midwest to the East Coast, as far south as Texas and as far north as Ontario, Canada. In its most primitive form, this perennial has a prairie-type look about it.  It can grow as tall as an average adult and can be quite open or leggy in habit.

The Decadence® series of Baptisias was developed by a talented Midwest hybridizer named Hans Hansen. What started as a fun botanizing trip in the lower Midwest with a fellow botanist blossomed into a complex hybridizing project for Hans. For over a decade, he made countless crosses with many native Baptisia species he had collected across Texas and Oklahoma. These crosses resulted in an array of seedlings with unique flower colors and compact plant habits.

Decadence® Baptisia are smaller cultivars which are more suitable for home gardens. Maturing to 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall, they’ll take up about the same amount of space as a small shrub or large clump of daisies in your garden. You’ll love their vividly colored flower spikes in late spring to early summer. This is one perennial you won’t want to deadhead—doing so will eliminate the decorative seed pods which appear in fall. They are all hardy in zones 4-9.

Here’s a little more detail about each member of the Decadence® series:

Decadence® 'Blueberry Sundae'-- Deep indigo blue flowers much more vibrant than B. australis and a perfect plant habit are the key features of this variety. An excellent floral display occurs in late spring to early summer, followed by decorative seed pods in fall. The deep blue-green foliage forms a more compact, upright mound at maturity.  ‘Blueberry Sundae’ is a vigorous grower and the foliage looks great all summer.

Decadence® 'Cherries Jubilee' An incredibly unique flower color and densely branched foliage set this variety apart. Deep maroon buds open to bicolor maroon and yellow flowers held on strong stems above the blue-green foliage in late spring to early summer, followed by decorative seed pods in fall. Secondary branching on the flower stems makes this variety especially floriferous.  Well-branched stems form a bushy, upright spreading mound of foliage.

Decadence®'Dutch Chocolate'-- Rich velvety chocolate purple flowers held on upright stems above an especially compact mound of foliage in late spring to early summer makes this plant ideal for smaller urban gardens. The deep blue-green foliage remains densely compact as the plant matures and the leaves start lower on the stems, covering the base of the plant better than most Baptisias. This is a vigorous selection that looks great all season.

Decadence® 'Lemon Meringue'-- You’ll be impressed with the excellent vigor of this yellow flowered selection. It forms an upright, vase-shaped mound of attractive blue-green foliage topped with long, charcoal stems which carry the lemon yellow flowers in late spring to early summer. The contrast of dark stems with light flowers really pops in the garden, delivering an excellent floral display.

Decadence® 'Sparkling Sapphires'-- Intense violet blue blossoms will stop you in your tracks! The brightest in its color class, this selection produces 8 inch long flower spikes from late spring to early summer. Its compact size makes it easy to fit into smaller gardens.

Decadence® 'Vanilla Cream'-- Growing more glorious every year, this selection forms a dense, cushion-like mound of grey-green foliage that emerges a beautiful shade of bronze in spring. 10 inch long spikes of pastel yellow buds open to creamy vanilla flowers in late spring to early summer.

Decadence® Deluxe varieties are very similar to the standard Decadence® series, but they grow a bit larger, maturing to 3 1/2 to 4 feet tall. This taller size makes them good candidates for the middle to rear of the border. All are hardy in zones 4-9. Here's a little more detail about each cultivar in that series.

Decadence® Deluxe 'Pink Lemonade'-- This unusual bicolor selection features long panicles of soft yellow flowers which age to dusty raspberry pink from late spring to early summer. Dark stems provide extra interest. Expect this plant to mature into a bushy, vase-shaped, shrub-like plant over time.

Decadence® Deluxe 'Pink Truffles'-- The first pink cultivar ever known, this extraordinary selection bears clear soft pink flowers with a pale yellow base on 12 inch long spikes from late spring to early summer. The flowers brighten to light lavender as they age. It matures into a bushy, shrub-like plant over time.


Patent Info: Decadence® 'Blueberry Sundae' Baptisia PP23891 CPBR5095; Decadence® 'Cherries Jubilee' Baptisia PP23907 CPBRAF; Decadence® 'Dutch Chocolate' Baptisia PP23872 CPBR5096; Decadence® 'Lemon Meringue' Baptisia PP24280 CPBR5097; Decadence® Deluxe 'Pink Lemonade' Baptisia PPAF CPBRAF; Decadence® Deluxe 'Pink Truffles' Baptisia PP26588 CPBRAF; Decadence® 'Sparkling Sapphires' Baptisia PP27904 CPBRAF; Decadence® 'Vanilla Cream' Baptisia PP25663 CPBRAF   


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