*Mature size needs to be under 2' to 3'
*I'd prefer a perennial that's hardy through Zone 7B so I that won't have to replant
*Clumping rather than spreading
*Needs to be heat (90+ F) and drought tolerant
*Must tolerate heavy clay soil
I'd really like a compact shrub, but I'm not finding anything suitable. I've also looked at perennial cover crops, but the only good option that I've come across is Birdsfoot Trefoil. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I'm hoping that I've overlooked something...
H Ludi Tyler wrote:I've been looking at Baptisia Blue False Indigo or Wild Blue Indigo. There is a large-growing form to 4 feet Baptisia australis and a smaller relative Baptisia minor.
I really appreciate your reply -- I'd dismissed Blue False Indigo because I thought it was too large, but I appear to have been mixing it up with Amorpha fruticosa (aka Desert False Indigo or Indigo Bush). Baptisia minor looks especially interesting. I found one nursery that suggested it as a good lupine substitute for the south, so it could be just what I'm looking for...
Toby Hemenway wrote:Baptisia was the first thing that came to mind. It's a great plant. There are small indigo varieties that you should research, and Amorpha should also be a good choice; I've kept it pretty small.
Excellent -- thanks for seconding Baptisia, Toby. I did some research last night, and Baptisia minor looks to be just about perfect. It's a shame that it takes it a few years to bloom (or so I've read) -- the flowers spikes are lovely. I'll take a closer look at Amorpha, as well.
Have you also considered lupine? There might be a variety suited to your area.
mike mclellan wrote:Have you also considered lupine? There might be a variety suited to your area.
Hi, Mike. I'm glad to hear that Baptisia was a good performer for you. The fact that it did so well in rather harsh conditions is encouraging. I considered lupine, but gardeners here in NC report mixed results -- some can grow it successfully but many can't. In fact, Baptisia is a commonly recommended lupine substitute for the southeast. Nonetheless, I have some lupine seeds that I purchased on a whim last year, so I might give it a try.
it is considered a pretty bad weed to most people though, and kill it on the spot. despite the fact it is a GREAT nitrogen fixer.
bush lupine is also good and doesnt get much bigger than 5ft in its mature stage, and it makes wonderful honey and smells absolutely amazing when in bloom.
I post here today because in looking up some info discussed by others in your thread I noticed for the first time another Amorpha - Amorpha georgiana - with the common name Georgia False Indigo. With you in NC mountains and me in SC mountains, I thought this might be a promising candidate from a bit closer to home. Has anyone grown it? Can anyone provide info and anecdotes?
~ Matthew N., Southern transplant
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