A genus of about 35 species of North American perennials. Prominent among them is B. australis, which is properly revered as one of the great backbone plants available to American gardeners. It is a tall (3-4ft), rugged character whose intense blue flowers appear in June above handsome, gray-green leaves that remain an attractive feature of the garden all summer. Bloom is followed by prominent dark seedpods that complement the foliage. Plants look well on their own against walls and fences, or combined with Peonies, Bearded Iris, Poppies, and other June bloomers in a border. In full sun (required even in the South) and well-drained soil, plants are extremely long lived. They can hardly be pried out of the garden once established.
Video: Planting Baptisia australis (1:16 minutes)
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To account for the differences between the climates of the Southeast and West, we have split the "warm" end of our hardiness ratings. In the example Hardiness Zone: 4-7 S / 4-9 W, the first number of each range (4) indicates cold hardiness. The second numbers (7 and 9) indicate the limits of a plant's range in the Southeast (S) and West (W).