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. Shipping to US addresses only.
Please read the germination information as well before ordering.
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