Dyers Woodruff
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Michele Lamb
Posted on: May 23, 1999

I bought some dyers woodruff seeds from you this spring. I can’t find any information about how to care for it. Can you give me some advice?

The plant grows naturally in damp, shady places and likes moist, well-drained to swampy soil in wet meadows to full shade.

In our seed trials the seed germinated at 25% in 21 days. The seed flats had been kept in the greenhouse at fairly warm day temperatures and cooler nights. However in the literature Dr Deno reported that the seeds took 56 to 77 days at room temperature to germinate.

The plants will grow to a height of 30 to 60 centimeters and spread to form a loose mat. The narrow leaves are arranged in whorls of four leaves on the stiffly branched stems. They produce small clusters of tiny white flowers at the end of branches from May to July. They are hardy in zone 4 to 9.

To use the plant for producing a red dye, harvest the roots in the fall and chop them up for use in the dye bath. Try not to disturb the plants you won’t harvest, as disturbance could cause winterkill. You could dry the harvested roots for later use.

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