How to Successfully Grow and Care for an Indigo Plant

The indigo plant can be grown from seed fairly easily. The plant will grow best when it is kept very warm. It is a lovely plant to have in your home in a sunny location, but will not thrive very well outside.

indigo plantPhoto credited: Wikimedia

Even in the warmest seasons, it is best to keep Indigo inside your home. The plant tends to grow very rapidly when it is in its favorable conditions such as in a greenhouse.

You will have to make sure that you keep it well trimmed for the plant to have the best possibility of thriving. Many people use the leaves and stem from the indigo plant to make a dye that can be used for a variety of purposes.

The History Of Indigo Plant

The first use of indigo plants took place in India and dates back to the fourth century BC. The dye that could be extracted from the leaves and stems of the plant was used for a variety of purposes and this made indigo a very valuable plant.

Over time the useful indigo plant became recognized as the ideal plant to obtain dye and it was widely cultivated during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in northern India.

Modern Uses Of The Indigo Plant

Today, indigo is still valued for its dye and is used in a variety of crafts and art projects. You will see indigo used to dye fabric and it is widely used as an ink painting. This plant is still revered for its lovely blue dye.

Growing Indigo From Seeds

To begin growing your indigo from seeds, begin in the latter part of May and sow the seeds in a large tray or saucer. The seeds should be covered only lightly with compost. Place a glass cover over the tray and make sure that it is kept at about seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit.

When the seeds have germinated place them in pots and continue to move them into progressively larger pots as they grow. The plant should be in a compost that is loam based and kept in the full sun. Indigo will also require good drainage in the pots. Keep the plants trimmed to get the best results from your plants.

Make sure that you continue to move the plants to ever-increasing pot sizes. The plant likes a lot of room and a pot with a great amount of drainage. Keep those pots in full sunlight to keep the plant warm.

The plant must keep warm for the best possible results. A windowsill is an ideal place to keep the plant as long as the window receives full sun.

Caring For Your Older indigo Plants

Indigo will do well during their growing season, but may not experience much growth from October until March. As the plants continue to grow in size, continue to repot the plants.

They will thrive in a larger pot, but you should find that you reach the end with an eighteen-inch pot. When the plant becomes older and more mature, it will begin to produce flowers. The flowers are lovely reddish-pink and will look lovely in your home.

If you want your plant to flower more, you should feed it a fertilizer that is high in potassium. And be sure that you keep your older plants pruned during the spring and summer months.

This will produce more flowers in your plant. Those who are growing the plant for dye should prune their plants during the beginning of the summer till September.

It is important to keep your plant indoors and warm for the best possible results. If it is grown in a greenhouse environment, there will be great results and the lovely plant will thrive.

With this plant, you can create your own dyes to use in your craft projects or to dye fabrics. It is the original dye that was used in blue jeans and synthetic indigo is still used today to dye the fabric the distinctive blue.

Other Uses For Your Indigo Plant

In Eastern medicine, the Indigo has been used to treat a variety of problems. However, it is not recognized in Western medicine because of the lack of scientific evidence to back up the claims that this plant has medicinal value.

It is recommended that you use this plant with care because there is a danger in using it for purposes other than for dye.

Over the years, the indigo plant has been used to treat ovarian cancer, conditions of the nervous system, epilepsy, spleen problems, bronchitis, conditions of the kidneys and lungs, and many other conditions have been treated with indigo.

Keep your indigo plant well watered and in a large enough pot with good drainage. The plant should always be kept indoors even during the warm summer months.

It is never a good idea to plant your indigo plant in the ground out of doors. The ideal location for the plant is in a greenhouse, but inside your home will also serve well if the plant is kept warm enough.

Choose a location in your home that gets full sunlight so that the plant can thrive. Keep the plant well trimmed for the best growth in your plant.

The plant has a long and rich history. For thousands of years, the plant has been cultivated and grown for its lovely dye and sold all over the world. Since its introduction to the market in the sixteenth century, it has been widely used in art and many other areas.

Chances are there is indigo used in something around you right now. When you consider how useful the plant is, you may decide that it is a fascinating and beautiful plant to keep in your home.

Take some time to read the fascinating history of this plant and you may decide that it is a worthwhile plant to have around for your art and craft projects. Make your dye from the plants that you grow from seed.


How to Successfully Grow and Care for an Indigo Plant
Read also: How To Grow Lavender And Take Care Of The Plants

2 Comments on “How to Successfully Grow and Care for an Indigo Plant”

  1. Hello, we recently had five days of 25 temperature here in Houston our blue plumbago plants look bad will they return to full life or do I need to cut them back?

    1. Hi. We also got hit hard with freeze conditions. Our Blue Plumbago plants are in bad shape.

      Here’s what I am going to do. I’m going to wait until mid-Feb before I do anything. At that time I will trim off the dead growth and add some compost and quality fertilizer with higher levels of nitrogen.

      This should kick start new growth. If the plants don’t show new growth in spring they may not have survived the freeze.

      In the past, I’ve seen these plants rebound from harsh weather. So, don’t throw in the towel just yet.

      Good luck

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