Dyer’s woad is a plant that is popular for its ability to be used as a natural blue fabric dye. It’s considered a noxious weed in some parts of the world, so you should check to make sure it’s okay to grow in your area before planting. If it is safe, however, there remains one big question: How do you go about propagating woad plants? Keep reading to learn more about how to propagate woad.
Woad Plant Reproduction Methods
If you are looking to start dyer’s woad for the first time, there’s really only one tried and true method – sowing seeds. Woad seeds are really only viable for one year, so make sure you get fresh seeds.
The seed pods contain a natural chemical that inhibits germination and washes away in the rain. This allows them to hold off on sprouting until conditions are wet enough to encourage good growth. You can replicate these conditions and wash away the chemicals by soaking your seeds overnight before planting.
Woad seeds can either be sown outdoors or started inside before planting out. The plants are relatively cold hardy, so you don’t need to wait until the last frost. Cover the seeds lightly with soil and water thoroughly. The plants should be spaced about one foot (30 cm.) apart.
Propagating Woad Plants Already Established
Once you have planted woad, you will probably never have to plant it again. Natural woad plant reproduction occurs through self-seeding, and it’s the reason woad can’t be planted in certain parts of the U.S.
The plants produce thousands of seeds, and new plants will almost always come up in the same spot every year. The seed pods can also be collected in late summer or fall and saved to plant again elsewhere in the spring.
And that’s all there is to growing new woad plants.