Viable Indigo

October 27, 2009


I’ve sent out and distributed to at least 30 seed packets to a range of those interested in starting their own dye gardens.  One pertinent question came in from a reader in New York- regarding seed viability.  She had experienced many unsuccessful Indigo seed germinating trials.  I realized it would be a good idea to do a more in depth viability study on my seed, so that I could be very clear with people about what I was sending them!  One other important bit to understand in relation to germination of this seed, is that you must use it when it is fresh- within the year that you receive it is best.


The good news- that I am so happy to share, is that after taking samples of seed from a range of the plants (both pink and white flowering), and testing in them in various conditions (under a heat lamp + seed heat mat, as well as using the kitchen window sill), the seed germinated with approximately 90% viability.  If you received seed– keep it in your refrigerator until it is planting  time (this is regionally specific).  In my area I plant my annuals indoors in the late winter, and early spring for a summer harvest.


I received the most lovely cards, letters, handmade paper, and envelopes from some of the seed buyers– I must thank you all for the creativity and beauty that you shared with me.  I will keep them forever, as a testament to the beginning of this journey I have begun as a harvester and disperser.  The other wonderful news, is that there is so much more than I expected. My plants went into real production mode this last summer, and I have enough seed it seems to dye the entirety of my neighborhood’s clothing blue.  If you would like seed-there is more!

7 Responses to “Viable Indigo”

  1. velma Says:

    hurrah! good news.

  2. kel Says:

    oh , I must have missed this before. I have been searching for some indigo seed in vain online… yes please! just tell me what i have to do!

  3. sweetfernstudio Says:

    I wanted to let you know I did receive my seeds (a while ago)! I am so excited to plant them next spring and I’m glad you like the paper! –Liz

  4. sophie munns Says:

    What a wonderful post.
    I love indigo….but know next to nothing about the process of growing the plants to producing the dye.

    I must stay tuned in case you tell more on this. I am very interested in seeds and seed saving. I have read laws are very strict in the US due to transnationals making grief for those with desire to share and market heritage seeds.
    from australia,

    • ecologicalartist Says:

      Hi Sophie

      Thank you so much for your comment.

      It is so nice to hear from Australian readers, I love it!

      I’d be more than happy to send you some seeds (the packets are pretty undetectable because the seed is so small. I do send growing and dye instructions. It is a fairly easy plant to grow, and quite beautiful.

      All the best,

  5. karen Says:

    Hi! I wanted to let you know that I planted seeds I saved from last years plants and also seeds from the refrigerator that I received from you a few years ago, and they all sprouted! The older seeds did not produce plants as hardy as the new seeds but they are still pretty good plants.

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