Hollyhock: Greenish Side of Blue

August 22, 2009

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This hollyhock dye experiment was the most joyful of surprises!  I have not seen this color before- ever, not from a natural or synthetic source.  That is the beauty of a natural dye- the color that emerges, is often not one that can be put into words.  Light defines color, and it seems that natural color and natural light create so many subtle variations, that the eye is delighted to no end with the shades and tones that emerge from one plant-based dye applied to one natural fiber, in the soft light of the setting sun.

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The beautiful hollyhocks- thank you for your gifts…

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This hollyhock came from a lovely root-stock from Spring Hill nursery.  The darker and deeper hollyhocks were by far the most useful for dye purposes.  I highly recommend this plant for your dye garden.  Do you have any hollyhock dye experiences you care to share?  I’d be very interested in how this plant may have worked for you, and what colors you may have discovered.

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6 Responses to “Hollyhock: Greenish Side of Blue”

  1. llawrence Says:

    That is a very pretty color, I had no idea there were natural blue dyes other than indigo and woad. Would you be willing to share how you got it from the hollyhock? Was it using a tin mordant? Would love to know… thanks! – L.

  2. arlee Says:

    I’ve just done some dyeing with a burgundy hollyhock and got the most gorgeous purple!

  3. Lynn Says:

    I got a similar color (the bluish green) from dyeing wool with Hopi Black sunflower seeds. Also, my experiment with hollyhock (very dark purple flower) gave that same greenish color to the wool. I think the color you get depends on pH of the water – acidic dyebath (distilled water plus a little white vinegar) yields more lavendar color, and my well water (a little on the basic side) gave the bluish green. That’s how it worked with the sunflower seeds. -Lynn

  4. Mona Says:

    Such a wonderful colour from hollyhock! I’ve bought some seeds, but I’ll have to wait untill next year to harvest. Well, that’s the way of Nature, we’ll have to learn some patience :)
    Untill then I’m happy to play with japanese indigo – oh, those two colours wouls go SO good together!

  5. Jane Says:

    I am determined to get colour from hollyhocks. I have red and dark red in the garden. My first attempt with alum gave a dull green. I tried adding vinegar no change so added washing soda and got bright green. My second attempt i tried chrome and tin. The chrome was a dull bluey green and just tin was rust. we have had such an appalling summer so wet and cold i wonder if the colours are affected but will try again! Any suggestions?


  6. [...] (the flowers) and yellow/orange (the stems and leaves); dahlias for yellows and oranges; hollyhocks for yellows,  lilac/mauves, and even greens depending on the blossom color; and zinnias for [...]


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