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Weld Dye Plants

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Wild Colours natural dyes > yellow dye plants > weld

Weld (Reseda luteola)

Weld natural dye plant in flowerWeld is a non-invasive and attractive plant, well worth growing in the back garden. Fresh leaves produce much brighter yellows than bought dried leaves.

1) Biology of Weld

2) History of Weld Dyeing

3) Cultivation of Weld

4) Harvesting Weld

5) Storing Weld leaves

6) Dyeing with Weld (opens new page)

1) Biology of Weld
It is a biennial and grows up to five feet in height. The long spikes with small pale yellow flowers start appearing in early June, and they many attract bumble bees and other insects.

2) History of Weld Dyeing
Weld is an ancient dye plant. Apparently it was used to dye the robes of the Vestal Virgins in Roman times.

buy weld seeds

When over-dyed with woad, it produces Lincoln Green, which is supposed to have been used to dye the clothes worn by Robin Hood and his band in the 13th century.

3) Cultivation of Weld
young weld dye plantIt is best to sow the fine black seeds in a tray of compost and it is important not to cover them with soil, as they are then unlikely to germinate. Watering the seeds with the rose of a watering can will cover them enough. These seeds can take up to three weeks to germinate, so keep the soil moist and be patient.

When the seedlings are large enough, plant them out in their final position. Weld does not particularly like a rich soil.

If it is attacked by asparagus beetles, I spray it with liquid derris.
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4) Harvesting Weld
I start harvesting the leaves and flower stalks from July onwards, and whilst it is flowering, but while the plant is still green. The colour is more concentrated in the leaves, flowers and seed capsules; the stalks do not have much colour. Old, dried-up weld plants give a dull yellow.
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5) Storing Weld Dye
If I have grown more weld than I can use fresh, I dry it. I harvest the plant whilst the leaves are still green, and put the stalks and leaves to dry in my greenhouse. When the leaves have become brittle, I put gloves on and run my hands along the stalks, stripping off the dry leaves and then throw away the stalks.

6) Dyeing with Weld (next page)

More on traditional yellow dyes;


Other Traditional Yellow Dyes

Dyers’ Chamomile, Dyers’ Green-weed, Saw-wort, Tansy

More Yellow Dyes

Dock, Eucalyptus, Onion, Safflower, Goldenrod & Osage Orange

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Last updated on 28 December 2015
Website & photos by Mike Roberts ©2006-16 Wild Colours Natural Dyes


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