Chinese Indigo, a truly carefree plant


Chinese Indigo (Indigofera amblyantha) is one of my favorite plants. It is truly a low maintenance plant and it grows in one of the most difficult areas of the garden. A large grove of huge hackberry trees sits behind the garage and this area has proven to be a challenge. The soil is very dry and the addition of raised beds hasn't exactly been successful. 

The Indigo bush, however, sits happily on a raised berm where it endures drought, heavy shade and neglect. The pale lilac to rose pink blooms appear in May and stay on the bush for a long time (months it seems). I had read that indigofera is a spreading plant but that is not the case here. It forms a 3-4 ft. tall plant with equal width and doesn't wander. 

You will find different types of indigofera on the market. There are lower, spreading types (Indigofera kirilowii and Indigofera decora) that I have not tried growing. All of these types are commonly referred to as "Chinese Indigo" and grow in similar conditions. 

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Very nice, Phillip. Carefree-I love and the blooms and pretty. Hope you have a great weekend!

  2. I love Indigofera kirilowii, it is one of my most reliable and carefree bloomers. I would love to give other species of Indigofera a try if I ever come across them in nurseries here.

  3. Hi Phillip, This plant is a new one for me and it sounds lovely. Your garden is such an inspiration!

  4. I have a teensy ground cover indigofera that I love but this bigger one sounds like a beautiful problem solver. I'm going to recommend it to a friend with a dry shade problem. Yours is a real beauty. :o) I'm so glad I saw this post!

  5. Looks beautiful. I have no room to add one, but I like it in your garden.

  6. Just planted one this afternoon (decora) in our garden in Ballarat.......we'll see how it handles the forthcoming winter although I note that people in England seem to have good results, where their winters are colder still.


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