Japanese Indigo (Polygonum tinctorium) 100 seeds
Indigo is among the oldest dyes to be used for textile dyeing and printing. Many Asian countries, such as India & Japan have used indigo as a dye for centuries, however they used differing plant species to produce the dye. Dyer's Knotweed, as this variety is known, is a tropical heat loving plant which is why we gave it a try at our urban farm, which is in Plant Hardiness Zone 10b.
Our experimental indigo patch flourished this fall, producing two flushes of harvestable green growth and then proliferated an abundance of viable seed, which we are sharing with you all now. Once established in your garden your Japanese Indigo plants can also be propagated easily from cuttings. We suggest gardeners growing Indigo in the tropics plant seeds in Fall or winter, and those outside of the tropics plant seeds in spring for summer harvest. Soaking seeds for a day before planting increases germination rates however the key to good germination is fresh seed, which our plants have generously provided us with.
While using fresh indigo leaves for its famous dark blue hues does involve some advanced technique and processing fresh leaves can be used to create subtle tons of aqua, teal and green, depending on the fabric, mordant & water used.
Planting and growing tips: Check out this really thorough guide to germinating, growing out and harvesting fresh indigo for more helpful tips. And this guide to using the fresh leaves to dye fabric by natural dyer Rebecca Desnos. We recommend soaking your indigo seeds for a day before planting. Germination should occur in 10-14 days. We have grown indigo in a number of conditions and garden this season and they easily thrive in our tropical climate during fall, winter and spring. Summer tends to be too hot for good leaf production (they make seeds very young) however in all other climates in the US summer is the optimal growing season. Plants should be spaced 8 inches to a foot in your garden and can be harvested multiple times before being allowed to produce seed.
All seeds were harvested from our urban farm and plant nursery in 2022. Seed packages are hand silkscreened by Gold Teeth Brooklyn, a handmade stationery company based in Los Angeles. Seeds have been tested for reliable germination in our nursery at 80 degree daytime temperatures. We recommend using them within 1 year of date of purchase.