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Bicoloured baptisia comes out of the shadows

A new bicoloured baptisia, whose flowers change colour as they mature, arrives from Michigan

Baptisias are stylish, less well-known cousins of lupins. They've been overshadowed by their outrageously flamboyant relatives for many years, but now, plant breeders have turned their attention to them and are developing some exciting new varieties. The latest to arrive on the scene is ‘Pink Lemonade’.

Baptisia 'Pink Lemonade'Making a robust and very hardy perennial, the tall spikes of Baptisia ‘Pink Lemonade’ have charcoal grey stems lined with elegant pea-like flowers. Each flower opens in pale yellow then takes on pinkish tones as it matures, finally turning pale raspberry purple.

The individual flowers are unusually long-lasting so the 30cm spikes will carry flowers in all stages and colours at the same time.

Baptisia ‘Pink Lemonade’ has a tight and compact rootstock from which a mass of sturdy stems appear, branching as they develop. The flowering part of the plants is six or seven times as wide as the rootstock, growing up to 90cm high and wide.

This exciting new variety was developed in Michigan by Hans Hansen, head of the plant breeding team at wholesale grower Walters Gardens and a pioneer in the development of baptisias, having developed over a dozen other varieties in recent years. He selected ‘Pink Lemonade’ for its shorter and more compact habit and its unique flower colour.

This is the latest introduction in a 14 year breeding programme that began with Hans selecting and hybridising plants he collected in the wild in Oklahoma and Texas.

You can order Baptisia ‘Pink Lemonade’ from Hayloft Plants - and it will be available from RHS Plants in summer 2018.

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