The Q&A Archives: Propagating Baptisia Australis

Question: I've tried twice unsuccessfully to transplant some Baptisia australis from my mother's garden. Both times, the plant wilted almost immediately after digging and never recovered. I'd like to make one more attempt. The plant will have to be subjected to a five-hour car trip before it can be planted. It also is moving one zone north (from 6 to 5). How can I increase my chances of success? Frances Whited Hiram, OH

Answer: Baptisia australis should grow fine in your Ohio garden, and are usually easy to grow from transplants. So long as they are placed in fertile soil and fertilized each spring, they should thrive. The best time to divide the plants is early fall or spring. Water the plants the day before, and divide them in the morning before the sun falls on them. Be sure to take plenty of soil with the roots, and keep them shaded and cool during the long drive home. Transplant them in the cool of the evening, and keep them slightly shaded until they take hold. Alternately, they can be started from seed. If your mom is willing to allow some of the blooms to set seed, collect them, and plant them in a sheltered location or in a cold frame next spring. Hope this helps!

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