KC Gardens

Blue False Indigo with black pods


I had planted one Baptisia Aurealis (Blue False Indigo) in April last year, and I already had one that had returned and bloomed from the previous year. However instead of staying green they ended up turning black and the seed pods almost looked like they had something eating them as there were what seemed to be insect holes in them. Were they just another casualty of the drought or something eating them? I had a yellow baptisia and it never seemed to be affected. (And it appears the yellow baptisia has returned this year but the two baptisia aurealis there is nothing in its place.)

Also, I’m seeing a lot of boxelder bugs in my flower gardens. What are they killing and how do I remove them?! Thanks - Christine -


  1. 1 year ago

    The box elder bug nymphs and adults usually feed on sap from seeds, flowers, and leaves, but cause little damage to trees. Their main “damage” is their appearance in nuisance numbers on windows in cooler months of the year. When the weather warms up more, you are not likely to see too much of them, as they are mainly noted on sunny days in spring and fall.
    If they really bother you, there are sprays that you can use. If you check the packages at the store, they will say whether they control box elders or not. Of course, since they do little damage, you might want to let the ecosystem take care of itself.

    As for the baptisia, you did indeed have a little worm that was attacking it. If you get a new plant, keep an eye out for damage starting and then treat with an insecticide. Bob, Extension Master Gardener

  2. Kansas City

    1 year ago

    From Christine:

    So I can presume that the plant is dead and I need to purchase a new one correct? And with that new one I need to ensure I’m spraying it with an insecticide once I plant it. Any guess on what that worm might be? After discovering the baptisia I am really wanting them to be successful in my gardens. Thanks for the help!


  3. 1 year ago

    Baptisia is a Kansas native and slow to emerge in the spring so don’t give up hope yet. This is a pretty tuff plant. The worm was probably the Genista worm as it hit the plant hard last year. One of those freaky things that normally does not happen. It should have not killed the plant, just made it ugly. I would wait a few weeks until I decided if it is dead or alive. Dennis - Johnson County Extension

  4. Kansas City

    1 year ago

    From Christine: Thanks! You’re the only person that has been able to give me the name of the insect and I’ve talked to two different area nurseries about the problem and everyone acts like there wasn’t an issue last year! Such expert advice, I really appreciate it!

    Thank you so much, Christine

  5. 1 year ago

    No problem, I must admit the Genista worm took everyone by surprise last year. It is not a common problem but for some reason it was out in full-force arcoss the state. It eat every leaf off my own plants in the garden. Glad to help.


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