Japanese Indigo (Persicaria tinctoria) is, if we're being honest, not the most beautiful plant you can grow. But hot damn is it a fun one! Take these leaves, stick them in a blender, and you've got a vibrant dye. Magic! Pure magic!
Here's how to do it: Leaves must be used fresh, so have everything ready before you harvest. You need a blender, a strainer, a pot, 2T white vinegar, and a thing to dye (wool and silk work best, but cotton or linen are fine also). Now harvest 10 or so stalks of Indigo. Pull the leaves off, and put them into your blender. It should be about halfway filled with leaves. Barely cover the leaves with very very cold water, and blend. Strain this mixture into your dying pot, mix in the vinegar. Stick the cloth you want to dye into the pot. Mix it around for about 5 minutes - 1 hour depending on how deep you want the color. Less time will leave the garment more on the green/aqua side, more time will lead to a truer blue/indigo color. It will look yellow-ish/green in the pot, but when you pull the cloth out of the pot and expose it to oxygen it turns blue! Behold! Rinse, wear, repeat. After rinsing if you want a darker color, simply put it back in the pot.
Indigo can be planted quite close together, about 3" apart, and will grow up about 1-2' tall.
Planting conditions: Prefers rich soil in full sun with regular water.
Blooms: We're really not here for the blooms, we're here for the leaves. You can harvest the leaves once the plant is large enough that your harvest won't injure the plant, usually beginning in July.
Annual: Japanese Indigo is very sensitive to cold; make sure to plant outside only after the ground has warmed in the Spring.
Ships: as a plant in a 2.75" diameter pot, in the Spring.
Flat rate $10 shipping no matter how many plants you buy.
We give your plants plenty of (recyclable) padding so they are cozy and safe during transit. We also monitor weather events and will contact you if unusual weather will impact your order's ship date.
If anything is not right about your plant when you receive it, please let us know and we will make it right.