Distinguished by their stately postures, these long-lived Legume family members grow wild in the eastern and southern regions of this country. A handsome mass of leaflets grouped in threes and erect, branching stems produce showy spires adorned with small, sweet-pea-like blooms. Easily cultivated in well-drained sites, Baptisias tolerate poor, sandy soil and some drought, but resent having their roots disturbed.
An elite member of Mt. Cuba Center’s top-10 Baptisia line-up, this high-performing 1996 introduction originated at N.C. Botanical Garden as a chance seedling between Baptisia minor var. aberrans and Baptisia alba. Dapper clover-style gray-green leaves clothe the ultravigorous inky-green stems that hoist a slew of enormous upright 15 in. racemes loaded with Lupine-like smoky-violet flowers. A butterfly’s destination and a floral designer’s delight, ‘Purple Smoke’s easygoing, water-thrifty habit can be planted alone or in small swaths, furnishing decorative cylindrical seed pods plus a striking vertical element amid Amsonia hubrichtii and Sorghastrum ‘Indian Steel’.
Blooms late May–June
Size: 3' 0" – 4-1/3' high x 3' 0" – 4' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 4.
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