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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 SapphiresBaptisia PP27904 CPBRAF; Decadence® 'Vanilla Cream' Baptisia PP25663 CPBRAF   


527 Readers Rated This: 12345 (3.3)
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 06/03/2019 - 9:32pm

How much soil moisture do they tolerate? My soil is very saturated in winter and spring but does dry out during the summer and fall. Thanks!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Thu, 09/06/2018 - 1:30pm

I purchased two of your lemon meringue baptisia this year in gallon pots. They are currently about 12 inches tall. How big can I expect them to be next year in Zone 4?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Tue, 10/02/2018 - 2:35pm

We have a saying about the growth rate of most perennials. The first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap. Eventually your Lemon Meringue Baptisia should reach 3ft tall and 3ft wide. you can read all about them on the following link:
Thank you for your inquiry and enjoy!
Best regards,
Barbara Balgoyen
Walters Gardens, Inc.
Proud Supplier of Proven Winners® Perennials

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 08/20/2018 - 8:37am

The Blue Sundae Decadence has a large number of what appear to be seed pods. Are there seeds? If so, can these be planted. Does the plant propagate via seeds or spreading of roots?


Sarah Geoghegan's picture
Sarah Geoghegan Wed, 08/22/2018 - 1:49pm

The Decadence have decorative seed pods in the fall, but these seed pods very rarely propagate.

Maggiesmom's picture
Maggiesmom Mon, 04/30/2018 - 1:15pm

Hello I'm intetested in the lemonade version and i was hoping you could tell me who carries this plant near me? My zip is 95252 and within 50 miles would be great

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Tue, 03/13/2018 - 2:57pm

Do you have any experience with Baptisia and rodents, like sage rats, pocket gophers or voles? I live in South Eastern Oregon, high desert country, east of Laura of Garden Answer. Much different country than hers.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Fri, 03/16/2018 - 9:05am

Sorry we have no expertise with these rodents as these plants will originate from Michigan. Our advice would be to ask your local Garden Center.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Barbara Balgoyen
Walters Gardens, Inc.
Proud Supplier of Proven Winners® Perennials

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 02/26/2018 - 2:33pm

Question, I have a several Baptisia hybrid plants. Should I be cutting them back to the ground for winter or before they bloom in spring?

Barb Balgoyen's picture
Barb Balgoyen Tue, 02/27/2018 - 7:32am

Good morning,
You should cut them back anytime now. The stems from last year are done and should be removed if they didn't break off on their own. The plant will regenerate from the roots to begin again this spring.
Thank you for your inquiry!
Happy Gardening!
Barbara Balgoyen
Walters Gardens, Inc.
Proud Supplier of Proven Winners® Perennials

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 06/29/2016 - 2:21pm

I bought two "Lemon Meringue" in the spring and both have been bitten off or broken off by something. Any thoughts about what could have happened and how to protect them in the future, if I buy replacements? Do you think it might return? I have not removed the broken remains.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Thu, 06/30/2016 - 2:39pm

Good afternoon,

With out knowing or seeing the location it is very difficult to determine how the Baptisia were broken off.

Don't give up on them however. These are perennials and their root systems are probably still in tact and still viable. They may send up another stalk or two yet this season. If they do not, they will probably come back next year.

I hope this give you hope!

Best regards,

Barb Balgoyen
Walters Gardens, Inc.
Proud supplier of Proven Winners Perennials

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