The Q&A Archives: Baptisia Screaming Yellow

Question: I started early this Spring (April) and planted three beautifully blooming Yellow Indigo - after a frost the flowers shriveled and turned brown but the foliage is still just fine. Will we see flowers again this year? Should I prune it in the fall? How shall I care for the plant during the winter? How long will it take for the plant to reach its mature height of 4 feet?

Answer: Baptisia, or wild indigo, blooms only once per year. I'm afraid the late frost shortened the life of the flowers. Next spring they should produce flowers and you can once again enjoy them. The tops of your plants will die down with first frost and you can clip the dead leaves off at ground level. After cleaning up the debris, mound a few inches of mulch over the soil. In the spring you'll see new shoots emerge. As soon as they pop up, gently push the mulch away from the crown of the plant. As the roots enlarge, your plant will enlarge in both height an width because of the additional stored energy in the roots. I expect they'll reach full size by their third year in your garden. Enjoy!

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