Woad Propagation Methods: Tips For Growing New Woad Plants

woad propagation
woad propagation
(Image credit: MiaZeus)

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 (30.5 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.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.