Indigofera cylindrica Indigo1

Edward F. Gilman 2

Introduction

Indigo has pinnately compound leaves borne on slender, green stems typical of many plants in the legume family. Its upright growth habit eventually forms a rounded vase shape canopy about 6 feet tall.

General Information

Scientific name: Indigofera cylindrica
Pronunciation: in-dig-GOFF-fur-uh sil-LIN-drick-uh
Common name(s): indigo
Family: Leguminaceae
Plant type: shrub
USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Fig. 1)
Planting month for zone 7: year round
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: specimen; border
Availability: grown in small quantities by a small number of nurseries

Figure 1. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 1.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.

Description

Height: 4 to 8 feet
Spread: 5 to 7 feet
Plant habit: round
Plant density: dense
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: fine

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: odd-pinnately compound
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: elliptic (oval)
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: pink
Flower characteristic: showy

Fruit

Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: unknown
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems; not particularly showy
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; alkaline; sand; loam; clay;
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches

Other

Roots: sprouts from roots or lower trunk
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Fine-textured foliage and a neat habit makes this a good candidate for specimen planting in the garden. Young plants may be sparsely branched, but a little heading on the main stems in the spring or summer increases canopy density and branchiness. It also makes a nice candidate for planting in a container for display on the deck or patio, or by an entrance to your home or business. The unusual texture gives it a means to stand out in a shrub border or other mass planting.

Full sun to part shade give the best growth. The plant appears to adapt to a wide range of soil pH.

Footnotes

1. This document is FPS-282, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #FPS-282

Date: 2015-08-18
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Contacts

  • Gail Hansen de Chapman