The Perennial Plant Association recently announced their choice of Baptisia australis as the next Perennial of the Year, and garden writers are asking: Had any experience with this? You bet I have. I've killed two of them and given up on the third.
To learn more about the plant and figure out why mine have performed so poorly, let's turn to the PPA press release:
- "Showy native species" – yes, indeed, and I've blogged about that. Seen at full size and in flower, it's irresistible, as you can imagine from this photo taken from a public garden.
- "Very easy to grow," and "very long-lived". But read on.
- "Best left undisturbed and tends to resent transplanting."
Which gets to the reason that mine have failed, I think. Like all perennials in my garden, the Baptisias have been subjected to several moves. So my Top Tip for Growing this PPA winner is: Know where you want it to be at its full size, plant it there and never, ever move it.
But here's what the PPA says about its landscape uses: "Because of its commanding size, this
shrub-like perennial makes a beautiful specimen on its own or in small
groupings. It is commonly used as a backdrop in perennial borders, but
also works well in native or meadow plantings."
See the dilemma for a gardener who cares about design? Stick a bunch of tiny, slow-growing perennials at the rear of the border and wait years for them to look like background plants? Or put a starter plant in a spot that's perfect for a big specimen and wait years for the desired effect? Not bloody likely in my garden.
I see that gardeners at Dave's Garden had better luck with it than I, though. Good for them.