Content Detail

Yellow wild indigo is a stunning perennial with a long season of interest, and the plant is often used in gardens and landscapes. The pea-type flowers of yellow wild indigo are a resplendent yellow that grow above the bluish-green leaves, creating interest in cottage gardens, prairies, meadows, or native plant gardens from midspring to early summer. Attracting birds, butterflies, and other insect pollinators, yellow wild indigo is a superb addition to any landscape.

  • 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 Moist, Sandy soil, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest mid spring, late spring, early summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Mounded, Round, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Wildlife Birds, Butterflies, Insect pollinators

Size and method of spreading:

Yellow wild indigo is between 2 to 3 feet in height and width. Yellow wild indigo seeds germinate well but may need scarification or stratification if sown in the springtime. Stem cuttings can be taken for propagation when the stems are soft in the spring. Occasionally, yellow wild indigo may spread by rhizome, but this is unlikely in a cultivated setting. 

Native geographic location and habitat:

Yellow wild indigo is native to the central Southern states. 

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

Yellow wild indigo attracts native bees, carpenter bees, and bumblebees. The seeds may also attract songbirds. 

Leaf description:

Yellow wild indigo has leaves that attach at a common point (palmately compound leaves) that are alternately arranged. The leaves are bluish-green in color.

Flower description:

Yellow wild indigo flowers are yellow pea flowers with a banner, two wings, and two keels. Flowers occur on individual stalks along an unbranched inflorescence that bloom from the bottom to the top (racemes). Flowers are approximately 1 inch in length and grow along the upper portions of the stems. 

Fruit description:

Round seed pods develop from the yellow wild indigo flowers, and they contain seeds that are kidney shaped. When mature, the seed pods are brown in color.



Plant care:

In some areas, yellow wild indigo can become somewhat weedy. Yellow wild indigo prefers well-drained soils and can be difficult to transplant due to its deep taproot. 

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Yellow wild indigo can develop fungal issues if too crowded in moist conditions. The wild indigo weevil will eat the seeds of yellow wild indigo. There are no major diseases or pests of note for yellow wild indigo, however. The plant can tolerate poor soils and some shade, but it may become spindly and not bloom as profusely. The deep root system helps yellow wild indigo tolerate drought conditions



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