Baptisia - Two Questions

tbonejonesAugust 22, 2011

I have five (5) baptisia on the side of my house that are doing really, really well. Suffice it to say they're downright big, beautiful, and very healthy.

First question: Is it safe to 'split' baptisia in the spring just when they start to sprout above the surface? I'm thinking similar to splitting hostas in the spring.

Second question: Are the seed pods that are currently on the stems worth 'replanting' to see if I can spread the baptisia wealth into another sunny area?


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aachenelf z5 Mpls

If they are old plants, they are going to be very difficult to get out of the ground since Baptisia have long taproots. With that said, I originally got my plant as a division from a friend. We didn't dig up the entire plant. I simply dug out a small portion from the side of the plant. It was tough even getting that piece out of the ground.

I wouldn't do it in spring because you'll break off many of the new, emerging shoots. Do it this fall preferably after the foliage has been killed by frost, but you could probably do it anytime in Sept or Oct. Most sites recommend not dividing these, but like I said that's how I got mine.

You can scatter the seeds if you want, but take them out of the pods first.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 2:02PM
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It was a mammoth project. Couldn't even get the shovel into the rootball. Required male help and a maddox. That said, chip away and plant, can't do much harm except give you tendonitis.

Me, I'd go buy another plant this fall when they are on sale.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 2:15PM
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I got a piece of baptisia from my brother-in-law. I do not recall any big problems with digging. The roots on the one I had were gigantic and all over the place, no tap root for sure.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 3:20PM
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I've winter sowed baptisia seeds harvested from my own mature plants the past two years and had excellent germination. The plants grow to a nice size their first year but don't bulk up and bloom from seed until at least year 3. They're worth waiting for in my opinion but they aren't fast growing if you're looking for plants that will bloom the year after you plant them. It's just an easy, low-cost way to get more plants if you have the patience.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 6:06PM
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growlove(zone4 Ia.)

I have two beautiful baptisias and the seeds just fall to the ground and germinate. I dig 2 or 3 year seedlings each Spring, but wouldn't bother my full grown ones. Mary

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 8:06PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Yes you can absolutely dig and divide Baptisia. It may be difficult, but you won't kill the plant, even if you mangle the roots.

Now, if the voles nearly wipe out your big beautiful Baptisias (like mine last winter) then it makes your work a whole lot easier. I was left with just a fraction of the original root system, but at least there was something of the plants left.

Dividing Baptisia is easier than a large Miscanthus grass, or a big Joe Pye weed!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 10:11AM
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