False indigo is a deciduous shrub that typically grows to 4-12' (less frequently to 20') tall with a spread often in excess of its height. It is native to moist open woodland areas, floodplains, stream banks and swamp margins from central to eastern Canada south throughout much of the U. S. into northern Mexico. It features compound, odd-pinnate leaves (each to 12" long). Each leaf contains 11 to 35 oval to elliptic, dull gray-green leaflets (to 2" long) with glandular dots and toothless margins. Tubular scented flowers (each to 3/8" long) bloom in May-June in dense, spike-shaped clusters (racemes) to 8" long. Each flower has a single-petaled purple corolla and 10 protruding stamens with showy orange-yellow anthers. Flowers are followed by fruits in small, resinous-dotted, 1-2 seeded pods (to 1/2" long) which mature in July and August. Plants contain indigo pigment, but in quantities too small for commercial use (hence the common name of false indigo). False indigo has attractive flowers. It is often used for erosion control, windbreaks and screens. Good shrub for moist naturalized areas or areas with poor soils.
The false indigo is not sold or shipped to Washington State.
1. Soak the seed in water for several hours.
2. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite.
3. Put the mixture in a pot with drainage holes in the base.
4. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
5. Put the seeds on the soil.
6. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
7. Water the seeds and keep the soil moist but not wet.
8. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
9. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.