Baptisia × variicolor 'Twilite' TWILITE PRAIRIEBLUES
Common Name: false indigo 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Fabaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Violet-purple with yellow keel
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought


Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Tolerates drought and poor soils. Over time, plants form slowly expanding clumps with deep and extensive root systems, and should not be disturbed once established. Plants take on more of a shrubby appearance and tend to open up after bloom. Trimming or shearing foliage after bloom helps maintain rounded plant appearance and obviates any need for staking, but eliminates some of the developing seed pods which are so attractive.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Baptisia × variicolor resulted from a controlled F1 cross performed in 1998 in Glencoe, Illinois between blue-flowered Baptisia australis (female parent) and yellow-flowered Baptisia sphaerocarpa (male parent).

The genus name Baptisia comes from the Greek word bapto meaning "to dye".

Hybrid name means variously colored.

'Twilite' is a false indigo hybrid that features a profuse mid-spring bloom of pea-like, violet-purple flowers with yellow keels. It is commonly sold in commerce under the trade name of TWILIGHT PRAIRIEBLUES. 'Twilite' is an upright, mounded perennial that typically grows to 3-5' tall with a mature spread to 5' wide. It is noted for its bicolor flowers, trifoliate blue green leaves, abundant flowering stems, ornamental seed pods and vigorous upright growth. Violet-purple flowers with showy yellow keels bloom in erect racemes (to 12-20" long) from late April to early June atop stiff flower stems that rise well above a foliage mound of clover-like trifoliate green leaves (leaflets to 3" long). Flowers give way to inflated globose-oblong seed pods that emerge green but mature to black by August. Seed pods have considerable ornamental interest. Stems with seed pods are valued additions to dried flower arrangements. U.S. Plant Patent PP19,011 was issued on July 8, 2008.


No serious insect or disease problems. Sensitive to juglone. Tends to perform poorly when planted close to black walnut trees.


Borders, cottage gardens, prairies, meadows and native plant gardens. Effective in naturalized settings. Best as a specimen or in small groups.