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Baptisia Not Blooming

Question: I planted Baptisia australis last spring (2010) because I saw it recommended everywhere as the "Plant of the Year." It never bloomed last spring or this past spring though one down the block has already bloomed and gone over. What am I doing wrong? It's in full sun. I'm disappointed!

Baptisia australis

Answer: Don't give up hope on your Baptisia australis, also known as false indigo. It really is a great plant that deserves the recognition it won in 2010 as Perennial Plant of the Year.

The thing with baptisias is that they're a little slow to grow. They have a long taproot to develop (which also makes transplanting them difficult—their other drawback). On the "plus" side for this taproot, it makes them fairly drought tolerant.

It can take a young, newly planted baptisia two or three years to be settled in enough to bloom. 2012 just may be the year for yours!

Happily, false indigo is an extremely long-lived perennial . . . those couple seasons of no bloom will be just a tiny fragment of your plant's history.

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