Indigofera decora – Chinese Indigo
Racemes of pink, pea-like flowers in late spring / early summer.
This is a small spreading bush to about 60cm tall. It will sucker steadily once established. The flowers are long axilliary racemes that are reminiscent of Wisteria, hence its other English name of Summer Wisteria.
I. decora is a native of the hills in southern China. It colonises open areas with poor soil, such as besides streams and tracks, as well as in hillside clearings. Natural Indigo dye comes from another species, Indigofera tinctoria.
Soil / Aspect:
This plant requires full sun to flower properly and is easily overwhelmed if surrounded by vigorous herbaceous plants. It has nitrogen fixing bacteria in its roots allowing it to flourish on poor soils. It can stand a wide range of soil types and pH, but does need good drainage and is drought tolerant; so it will grow well on a bank.
I. decora is hardy in coastal Tasman conditions, but there will be some die-back overwinter, especially of any growth that has not hardened off. This can be tidied up when it is apparent at bud-burst. However, do not prune heavily at this time as it is going to flower on the new growth. This is also a good time to remove any suckers if you wish to constrain the plant to a particular space.