Indigo (Indigofera tinctoria)

The flowers of Indigofera tinctoria are purple

Image - Wikimedia / Pancrat

There are plants that are beautiful, but there are others that are also very interesting for humans, such as Indigofera tinctoria. In favorable climates it becomes a magnificent low-rise shrub that blooms season after season; in the rest it is a fast growing plant that decorates the place with exquisite elegance.

Do you know the best? It is a legume, and like many of the family, its roots fix nitrogen, thus improving the soil. Know her.

Origin and characteristics

View of the Indigofera tinctoria plant

It is an evergreen shrub whose scientific name is Indigofera tinctoria, known as indigo or indigo grass. Its origin is not known, but it has become naturalized in tropical and temperate Asia, as well as parts of Africa. It grows to a height of 1 to 2 meters, with pinnate green leaves. 

The flowers are grouped in pink inflorescences, and once they are pollinated they produce the fruit that is a legume with numerous seeds.

What uses does it have?

Apart from being used as ornamental and to improve soil conditions, for many centuries and still today from its leaves once processed a tincture is obtained that serves as dye.

What are their cares?

The fruits of Indigofera tinctoria are elongated

Image - Flickr / Dinesh Valke

If you want to have a copy, we recommend that you provide it with the following care:

  • Location: it must be outside, in full sun.
  • Earth:
    • Pot: universal growing substrate mixed with 30% perlite.
    • Garden: grows in all types of soils, but if they are fertile and have good drainage, better.
  • Irrigation: about 3 times a week in summer, and every 4 or 5 days the rest of the year.
  • Multiplication: by seeds in spring.
  • Pruning: at the end of winter you can remove the dry, diseased, weak or broken branches.
  • Rusticity: it is sensitive to frost. Ideally, it should not drop below 0º. If you live in an area where it is colder in winter, protect it in a home greenhouse or indoors until spring returns.

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