Content Detail

White wild indigo are showy plants with upright spikes of white flowers above the foliage in May. After blooming, it forms brown seed pods that are quite ornamental and hang on the plant through part of the winter. It grows two to five feet tall and two to three feet wide and is best in full sun, although the white flowered type does better in part shade.

  • Family (English) Pea
  • Family (botanic) Fabaceae (formerly Leguminosae)
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Dry soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early fall, early summer, early winter, late fall, late spring, late summer, mid fall, mid spring, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Upright
  • Growth rate Slow


White wild indigo grows two to three feet tall and two to three feet wide.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

This perennial is native to the Eastern United States.

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

White wild indigo attracts butterflies.

Leaf description: 

The leaves are formed by three leaflets and are 1.5 to three inches long. The foliage is blue-green.

Flower description: 

The one inch white flowers bloom in May on foot long racemes.

Fruit description: 

The fruit is a two to three inch pod that turns dark brown as it matures. It will hang on the plant most of the winter if the plant is not cut back.

Plant care: 

White wild indigo is best grown in full sun. The plants are slow growing and do not require frequent division. Prune them back in early spring to preserve the black seed pods for winter interest in the garden. It is somewhat difficult to transplant due to a deep taproot.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

This plant has no serious pests. It may require staking in part-shade. It is deer and rabbit resistant and drought tolerant, once established.


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