Indigo Growing Instructions

I've ordered indigo seeds from many different internet sites. Rather than recommend one, you probably ought to find your own. However, know that you may NOT get Indigofera tinctoria, the king of the dyestuffs. You might get Indigofera suffruticosa. Both were and are used in plant-based dyestuff market. And, both provide a good amount of dye. More to come about identification of differences later….

Depending on where you live, you might well be able to sow the seeds in January and February (with well-prepared, loose, fertile soil), cover with a small amount of soil and hay (to remind you where you've planted) and keep watered (not soaked). I can get away with this is the Upstate of South Carolina, but probably wouldn't attempt it if I were in the mountains. The plants will emerge in late March or April and start getting bigger in May. Whatever you do, don't weed or cull the plants until they're at least a foot tall. They hate to have to their roots disturbed! I have planted in pots for years and then transplated to my garden and this works marginally well, because of the transplant issue. If you live in the lowcountry areas of SC and the south, you may well have to plant indigo only once. If given good ground to grow, it will exceed six feet in height and reseed itself year to year, if not occasionally coming back from the rootstock.

© Karen C. Hall, 2010