Why plant Audubon® Native White Wild Indigo?
Not well known, but worthy of a place in your garden, White Wild Indigo will win you over with its charms. In spring, this stately Spirit rockets out of the ground, hoisting slim spikes of bright white, pea-blossom-shaped flowers. The pretty blooms are reason enough to grow it, but the benefits go beyond beauty. Several butterfly species raise their young on White Wild Indigo, including frosted elfins, eastern tailed blues, wild indigo duskywings, and sulfur butterflies. In addition, ground-feeding birds will use the bushy plants as cover and will feed on the insects they find there. A neat native you need to know!
Why is it called “Indigo” when the flowers are white? White Wild Indigo is a close relative to Blue Wild Indigo, another American native. In the 1700s, Blue Wild Indigo was grown as a replacement crop for True Indigo—a tropical plant that yields a blue dye. Colonists exported over a million pounds of it annually in its heyday! White Wild Indigo does not share the celebrated history of its cousin, but we love it just the same. It is found from Minnesota to Michigan and south to Texas and South Carolina.
How to use Audubon® Native White Wild Indigo in the landscape?
White Wild Indigo forms interesting black seedpods in late summer. These make nice additions to dried arrangements, and they last a long time.
Hardiness Zone: 5-8
How To Plant Audubon® Native White Wild Indigo
Give White Wild Indigo a site in full sun. While it will tolerate part shade, growth may be floppy there. If your plant does get floppy, shearing it after the blooms have faded will keep it more compact, though doing so will sacrifice the fun seedpods. Any kind of soil is suitable, provided it drains well. White Wild Indigo develops thick, deep roots, which allow it to survive periods of drought. Because of its taproot, however, it’s extremely difficult to transplant, so leave it in place once it’s in the ground. This big, bold Spirit takes a few seasons to bulk up and really strut its stuff—be patient!
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.