Germinating Indigo
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Sarah
Posted: Before April 1998

I recently purchased some Indigo seeds and am not quite sure if I should start them indoors, what type of soil to use, etc., keeping in mind I live in humid southern Indiana. I would appreciate any info about growing indigo - I will use it to dye wool.

You should start the plants indoors about 8 weeks before last frost in your area. In warmer areas, the seeds can be sown directly in the garden or fields, but in our northern latitudes, our summer is not long or warm enough for direct sowing. Rita Buchanan, in her book, "A Dyer’s Garden" (available from Richters), says not to plant too soon in the garden because the plants will be stunted by cool weather and will not recover. In your area, wait until the last week in May or the first week in June to transplant out – when the warm weather has arrived to stay.

Buchanan’s book is highly recommended. She has great practical information on growing and dyeing with herbs. For instance, she says that the leaves of two to four indigo plants will dye four ounces of wool.

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