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Indigo - any experience?

 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1401
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Does anyone have experience growing indigo?  I have read that it was a major crop in South Carolina prior to the cotton and rice crops so I am assuming it should grow well here.

Just looking for some variety to add.  I have only an acre+ but I still like to tuck in more plants where I can.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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There are two types:  Indigofera sp. (True Indigo), and Baptisia sp. (Blue Wild Indigo).
They are both legumes, so should be a welcome addition to most soils.  The "True" variety is probably what was grown commercially, as it can produce 500 pounds of dye paste per acre.  The "Wild" variety also produces dye, but not of the same quality/quantity.  The wild variety is reported to produce edible shoots.

Either one would provide some beautiful color to your land.
True Indigo:


Wild Blue Indigo:


EDITed to add photos.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1401
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Well maybe I need to start taking pictures of my 'weeds'; I have something that looks very similar to that growing already. 

On my next day off I believe I will take pics of a number of things that I have been discarding - I have a sneaking suspicion that there are a lot of cool things growing wild in my back yard.

The only reason that I was initially interested in indigo is because it was historically a cash crop in South Carolina so I figured it might be an easy addition.
 
John Polk
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Sounds like a good business model:
"Not only will we sell you the cotton, but we'll also sell you the dye to go with it."

If it was once a major cash crop, there is little doubt that seeds must have scattered.  Surely those flowers were attractive to some birds.
 
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