Indigo - French Indigo (Indigofera Tinctoria) True Indigo - Non GMO - Flower
Indigofera tinctoria is a deciduous, leguminous shrub known for its historical significance in the world of natural dyes. This plant is native to tropical and subtropical regions, and its leaves are the source of the prized indigo pigment used for dyeing textiles. The plant typically reaches a height of 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 meters) and is characterized by pinnate, green leaves and small, pink to purple pea-like flowers. The true indigo plant plays a crucial role in traditional textile dyeing processes, especially in countries like India and other parts of Asia.
1. **Climate:** True indigo thrives in warm, tropical, and subtropical climates. It requires full sun to grow well.
2. **Soil:** Plant in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level. Ensure good drainage to prevent waterlogging.
3. **Propagation:** True indigo can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. Soak the seeds for a day before sowing to aid germination.
4. **Planting:** Plant the seeds or cuttings in the desired location after the last frost has passed. Space them about 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) apart.
5. **Watering:** Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering. Once established, true indigo is somewhat drought-tolerant.
6. **Pruning:** Prune the plant to promote bushier growth and encourage more leaf production.
7. **Harvesting:** Leaves are typically harvested when the plant is about a year old. To extract the indigo pigment, the leaves are fermented and processed.
8. **Pest and Disease Management:** True indigo is relatively pest and disease-resistant. However, watch out for aphids and other common garden pests.
9. **Winter Care:** In regions with cold winters, protect the plant from freezing temperatures by moving it indoors or providing adequate insulation.
Cultivating Indigofera tinctoria can be a rewarding endeavor for those interested in natural dye production or simply as an attractive addition to a garden. It connects you to the rich history of indigo dyeing, which has been an integral part of textile traditions around the world.
- Full sun exposure for optimal growth and vibrant leaf coloration.
- Well-draining soil with good organic content. A slightly acidic to neutral pH level is ideal for this plant.
- Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date.
- Plant seeds approximately 1/4 inch deep in warm soil.
- Transplant seedlings into 1 in cells or 2 in pots when they reach the 1 to 2 leaf stage.
- Note: if the seedlings become leggy due to insufficient light, burying more of the stem during transplantation is permissible, as it will develop roots along the buried portion without hampering growth.
- Germination: typically within 7 to 14 days, depending on conditions.
- Hardening Off: Before transplanting outdoors, harden off the plants for 4 to 5 days after the risk of frost has passed to acclimate them to outdoor conditions.
- Spacing: 24 to 36 in apart.
- Matures: 50 to 55 days, at which point you can begin harvesting the leaves for dye extraction.
- Harvesting Seeds: when the flowers go brown they can be cut and hung up or laid out to dry - some of the seed will fall out - the remainder can then be rubbed out. Separating the seeds from the chaff: once you have removed the seeds and dried flower material from the stalks, place the whole lot in a tray and shake from side to side and all of the heavy seeds will settle to the bottom - if you are careful you can blow lightly on the pile of chaff from the top and remove more chaff. Some of the seed will retain an outer layer of brown chaff bound to the seed; this does not impair germination. Store in a cool dry place until use.
- Seed Count: 10