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Fiber Color Range
Most people know indigo as the classic blue jeans blue. The depth of shade you can acheive is determined by the number of times your fiber is dipped in your dye vat. A lovely turquoise can be obtained on wool or silk using a fresh ice extraction method.

 

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Japanese Indigo

Persicaria tinctoria

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We are fortunate to have a moderate-climate, indigo-bearing plant to grow here in Vermont. Its shiny green leaves contain indican, a colorless, organic compound that once extracted, becomes the botanic blue used for centuries as a fiber dye. 2-3 harvests of leaves are possible before the plant starts to flower. Extracting the indigo is very different from how other plant dyes are extracted but it’s a straightforward and even exciting process, and may be done in small batches by a home gardener using one of a few methods. If this is your first time growing indigo, consider growing 10-12 plants for a yield large enough for several stovetop dyeing sessions.

Interested in growing your indigo plants indoors? It can be done with a good grow light system and large containers. The challenge will be size - these plants get big! - and with harvesting and extraction, specifically having enough leaves to process at once to create a dye vat. We’ll be experimenting with dried and freeze-dried small-batch processing methods this season and will post results in our newsletter. So sign up, apartment dwellers! And please contact us with your questions and notes about growing fascinating plant indoors!

 Life Cycle  Annual
 Zone  Half-hardy annual
 Sunlight  Full Sun
 Height  2' - 3'
 Spacing  12" apart
 Soil

 Rich, fertile, well-drained;
 pH neutral