Persicaria tinctoria (Japanese Indigo) [20 Seeds]

$4.25

Germination Information: Start the seeds indoors in mid spring or directly in your garden in late spring, about 1/4 inch deep. The last time I grew this species from seed, I sowed on March 18, indoors on a heat mat, and they began sprouting on March 22. Your experience may vary. If you allow some of the plants to flower and mature their seeds, they are likely to self-sow.

Note that this information will not appear on the seed packet you receive.

Please read the description as well before ordering.

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Description

If you are interested in natural dyes, you need to try Japanese indigo (Persicaria tinctoria). Granted, the 2- to 3-foot-tall plants are kind of pretty, with a wealth of bright green leaves and arching sprays in whitish to pink flowers in late summer and fall. But the real reason to grow it is hidden within the leaves, which are apparently best harvested just before the plants start flowering. (The cut-back plants will readily resprout, potentially providing another harvest in fall.) You can find a number of different ways to dye with it through an online search. I combined several different approaches and tried dyeing with it myself this past summer, and it was a magical experience: within a few minutes of kneading a piece of silk with the leaves (which I had frozen overnight and then sprinkled with a bit of table salt), an intense blue appeared on the silk—and on my hands too, where it lingered for several weeks. (I highly recommend wearing gloves, though the blue skin was kind of fun.) Full sun to light shade; average to moist soil. Annual.

Collected in early October 2022. At least 20 seeds.

Please read the germination information as well before ordering.

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