Amorpha fruticosa, a multi-stemmed, open shrub is a versatile plant useful for landscapes, naturalistic plantings, and restoration projects. While considered a shrub, this plant develops a canopy with distinct trunks free of lower branches, mimicking the look of a small tree. Because of its openness, short perennials or lower shrubs can be planted at its base. The common name of False Indigo Bush refers to the deep color of its short-lived blossoms.
In early summer, the plant reveals a flush of purple flowers with orange stamens, which lead way to its legume fruits. Yes, this species is a legume, and so it fixes its own nitrogen and can thrive in poor soils with the capability of improving soil for its companion plants. The plant prefers full sun to light shade, dry to moist but well-draining soil. It can thrive in clay soils. At maturity, this fast-growing plant will reach about 10’ in height, making it the perfect “tree” for small garden spaces and even large containers.
This plant is generally free of pest and disease issues, and is rarely browsed by deer. Pruning is minimal, with little to no effort necessary for shaping. Birds will use Amorpha for cover, and pollinators such as bees and butterflies use the flowers for nectar.
Several PA butterfly species will use Amorpha has a larval host such as silver spotted skipper, hoary edge, grey hairstreak, and southern dogface.
(NOTE: Though they share a similar common name, this plant is not to be confused with Baptisia, a perennial also called false indigo). Hope to see you at the nursery soon, where you can check out our established Amorphas!