It’s possible to see some ornamental value in madder (Rubia tinctorum) if you’re feeling generous: the whorls of bright green leaves are interesting, as are the airy clusters of small, greenish yellow flowers. Really, though, there are prettier plants to grow. The real value of this perennial is its roots, which produce a rich red dye. It takes a couple years of growth before they’re ready to harvest. If taller plants, or some sort of trellis or other support is nearby, madder’s scratchy stems can scramble up several feet; otherwise, they have a sort of mounding/trailing habit. Be aware that the plants have creeping underground stems and can be an aggressive spreader. I grow mine by itself in a 2′ x 2′ x 1′ deep raised bed and that seems to be keeping it contained so far. Growing it in a large container settled into the soil is another option for keeping the underground parts contained. If you allow the seeds to mature on the plant, madder may self-sow. Full sun. Perennial; Zones 6 to 10.
Collected in September 2022. At least 15 seeds.
Please read the germination information as well before ordering.