Monday, January 11, 2016

Class of 2016 -- Indigofera kirilowii, Chinese indigo

Chinese indigo, Indigofera kirilowii, photo by peganum
Chinese indigo, Indigofera kirilowii, photo by peganum

Why I'm growing Indigofera kirilowii in my garden...

1) Cornell highly recommends it as a deciduous woody groundcover that spreads by root suckers and (as a member of the pea family) can fix nitrogen in the soil.

2) This suckering habit makes it a good choice for protecting slopes and embankments from soil erosion, per the Arnold Arboretum.

3) Scott Beuerlein at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden calls Kirilow indigo an 'amazingly tough shrub' that blooms for a long time and attracts a fair amount of bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

4) Based on the photos I've seen, the flowers seem beautiful and I like the smooth foliage, which reminds me a little of a Baptisia australis that I grow.

Do you grow Chinese indigo? If so, what has been your experience with this plant?