Baptisia australis & Perovskia atriplicifolia

samnsarahJanuary 22, 2014

I am in zone 6b in South-central Kansas. I had some large (7' wide) lantana planted along the southern wall of my garage but want someting more cold hardy. This part of my lawn has very sandy soil and receives full, blazing sun from sunrise to sunset as well as reflected heat from the side of the garage. (Now you know why lantana do so well there.)
I am considering planting Baptisia australis and Perovskia atriplicifolia together. Does anyone know if these two plants would grow well together under these conditions or would one tend to smother the other one if one grew faster than the other? Any comments or opions would be welcomed.

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Hi there,
Not sure whether Perovskia is frost hardy enough in your zone.
Apart from that it should thrive on a poor sandy soil in full sun.
It should grow reliably upright on poor soil (I pulled mine because it always flopps over on my rich clay soil),

They should do fine if you space them wide enough,

Perhaps you could add some bulbs for early flowers like botanical Tulips.

Bye, Lin

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Baptisia australis wants full sun as does Perovskia atriplicifolia. I have half a dozen Baptisias growing in my garden beds that get full sun. I don't have as many Russian sage plants but those I do have also do well in my sandy loam soil that leans toward acid pH. None of my perennials & shrubs get supplemental water (other than hydrangeas when it gets dry)--only whatever Mother Nature provides. My parents practiced organic gardening here for 50 years so my soil is incredibly healthy & wherever I dig there are fat worms.

Baptisia tends to grow to the same height & dimensions each season. I do support it with a peony ring so the stems don't flop. It's slow-growing compared to some other perennials. It will produce plump seedpods towards the end of the growing season. Russian sage just does its thing every year with this much ( ) help from me. It isn't fast-growing but achieves maturity in my garden within a few years. Neither B. australis or P. atriplicifolia has ever encroached on any nearby perennials.

Would I hesitate to plant them together in your scenario? Nope! Both are well-behaved, easy to grow + zero-maintenance. They don't bloom at the same time--Baptisia is a May bloomer where I am whereas Russian sage blooms later in the season.

Just a suggestion--I planted Russian sage with Gaura lindheimeri/wandflower. The lavender & white blooms made a stunning combination.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 9:42PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Other plants that would do very well in that "hell strip' are western agastaches (check out the High Country Garden offerings) and most salvias, including their salvias with greggii parentage. The only thing you need to know is that you don't want to cut back the western agastaches and salvias until spring.

Quite frankly, I would save Baptisia for slightly richer soil and less demanding conditions. Baptisia australis is native here, though rare and grows along rivers.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:31AM
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The more I read about Baptisia, the more I am thinking about saving it for a different part of my yard.
As far as the "hell strip" as one person called it, I am still considering salvias and agastaches as well as well as Achillea millefolium, Asclepias tuberosa, Coreopsis, Echinacea, and Gaillardia grandiflora.
I like the suggestion of Russian Sage and Wand Flower. That would be a great combination. I will keep that in mind.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 7:17AM
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I agree on the Baptisia...i was thinking what laceyvail said as I read through. You probably know quite well there are many color cvs of Achillea millefolium. Also consider the verticillata coreopsis, grandiflora, and lanceolata types. They have different timing of blooms as well as different foliage. Err, I love coreopsis (lol).

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:48AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I've grown both Baptisia and Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Blue Spires'. Have enjoyed both plants. Unfortunately, the Perovskia I've had has flopped and since I am redoing that bed, I'm removing it all together. If I wanted to keep it, I might consider looking for another variety that didn't flop as much. Otherwise, they've been a care free plant in full sun from sunrise to sunset in zone 6a, for over 10years. Requiring only to be cut back above new growth in early spring.

Baptisia is a great plant. Another care free plant. I planted mine in 1/2 a day sun and it also flopped and needed support all the time it has been in that location. Still gorgeous for the brief time it is in bloom. Very reliable. Just this past fall I attempted to dig it out of there for the second time and gave up, and so did my husband. If we tried a pick ax, it probably would work. I opted to smother it with cardboard and a 12 inch layer of mulch on the top of it and see if that will take care of it next season. I am still planning to use Baptisia in my full sun location. I think you just need to be sure where you want it or else move it in the first year or two, to avoid that difficulty.

One other thought, if I had such a location, with full sun from sunrise to sunset, I would use it for growing tomatoes. Just what they need and conditions I don't have enough of. Or many other sun loving vegetables and fruit, would love it there.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 1:33PM
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Thanks for the information, prairiemoon2. I love fresh vegetables and have had vegetable gardens in the past. Tomatoes normally need full sun and heat to grow best, but my experience is that tomatoes grown in the afore mentioned conditions in my area usually burn. Tomatoe plants around here do best if they get a little bit of shade in the hottest part of the afternoon.
All this talk about tomatoes is making me hungry. :-)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 2:39PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I guess that is something I have not experienced, planting man, 'TOO' much heat and sun on a tomato patch. (g) I have surrounding shade from trees and six hours of direct sun is as much as I can provide. I really only have success with cherries and production for large tomatoes is very low in that little sun. I guess even a tomato needs 'just the right' amount of sun and heat. I wonder if that applies to peppers as well? I thought they could really stand the heat.

I knowâ¦it's a long way off before we can get a real tomato to eat. :-)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 4:52PM
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Campanula UK Z8

In similar conditions: have been having a purple moment with the ubiquitous verbena bonariensis, common toadflax, L.purpurea and verbascums. On the misty blue spectrum, caryopteris has been rewarding (and yep, I too have done the gaura and sage combo with one of the brighter eryngoes. I also had a bit of a silvery passion, with convolvulous cneorum, artemisias, anthemis, dianthus, buddleja lindleyana.....with a plummy contrast - heucheras, berberis, ajuga, rosa glauca,
I would probably not have baptisia and perovskia together without some buffer companion - some of the grasses have been pretty good - festucas, a couple of stipas, calamagrostis.....

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:37PM
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Yes, my green peppers scorched too, but not my jalapeno peppers surprisingly enough.
Thanks for the suggestions campanula. I do have buddleja lindleyana next to Spirea x bumalda 'Froebelli' in a different part of my yard. Its a nice combination.
Yes, the more I thought about it, the more I am steering away from the baptisia-perovskia combination for the reason you mentioned among others, but I still like baptisia in a different part of my yard...where I will never move it. lol

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 7:29AM
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