A bold and very ornamental eastern North American native that produces beautiful clusters of lupine-like blue flowers from May through June. A bumblebee favourite! This drought tolerant plant was once used to make blue dye. After the flowers, swollen charcoal black seed pods about 5 cm (2″) long form on stems that are in demand for dried flower arrangements. Loose seeds in the pods rattle when shaken. Grows in full sun or partial shade in a rich, well-drained soil. Height 60-90 cm (2-3′) or more with an equal width. Absolutely underused in gardens and landscapes. Requires at least three years in the garden to show its full potential. If your intention is to commercially produce transplants, experiment for a few years to determine the best technique for your growing conditions. Perennial hardy to Zone 3. Packet $1.99. 2 g $7.50. 5 g $11.50.
How to Grow
48 seeds/gram. Due to seed dormancy caused by a hard, impermeable seed coat, when direct sowing outdoors, it is best to sow seed in late fall. This allows the seed to be naturally stratified over the winter. Indoors, sow seed March 1st in a soil-less mix but first nick or file the hard seed coat to improve germination. Maintain the growing medium at a temperature of 20 C (70 F) for the 5-10 day germination period. After germination, grow on under lights at a slightly cooler temperature then harden off and transplant outside to a sunny to partially shaded site with rich well drained soil.