Apart from flowers the main reason we grow plants today is to provide food in the form of fruit and vegetables. Years ago gardeners found many other uses for the plants they grew including herbal medicines and as ntural dyes which is the subject of this piece. These dyes are made from various parts of the plant and sometimes the flower heads, leaves and roots can produce different colors. This article by Darcy Larum which I found on the Gardening Know How website describes the top five plants for dyeing.
Throughout history, gardeners have harvested plants for many reasons other than their herbal or culinary uses. In times when mankind had to rely on only what Mother Nature provided for them, plant parts were used to make necessary fibers, stuffing materials, textiles, paper, rope, and natural dyes. One plant could be harvested and its different parts used for a variety of purposes. Today, many gardeners are turning back to this “waste not, want not” concept of gardening and experimenting with different plant crafts.
There are many types of plants, probably growing right in your backyard, that can be used to make different colored dyes. Trying new natural dye recipes can be a fun and rewarding craft. Below are listed the top 5 plants for making natural dyes:
1. Dandelion – The blooms of dandelion produce a bright yellow dye. The roots are used with mordants to create a magenta to reddish colored dye, while the entire plant can be used to make orange to red to brown dyes.
2. St. John’s Wort – The flowers of St. John’s wort will make a yellow to orange dye that can develop to a more orange to red color with certain mordants. The fresh stems and roots of this plant are used to make a reddish brown dye.
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